February 28, 2008

Seven-generation thinking

Ivan Makil:  Understanding 'Seven-Generation Thinking' Key to Developing Indian LandOn February 22, Makil told 350 real estate and finance experts attending a Phoenix, Arizona, conference sponsored by the W.P. Carey School of Business that the key to developing tribal land is "an understanding of seven-generation thinking."

"Each Indian tribe is unique, yes, but all tribes believe in balancing the economic impact of every decision with the physical and spiritual impact. We believe that everything, including mortgages and investments, affects the delicate scale of our lives. We understand the universe as massive, but still requiring this constant, delicate balancing. Seven-generation thinking means giving thought to what a decision's impact will be on the next seven generations, and considers the responsibilities that come with opportunities. It's long-term thinking, which is valuable for anyone making a decision," he said.

The conference began with a traditional indigenous blessing, offered by Ricardo Leonard of the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community, which set the stage for Makil's comments about seven-generation thinking. Leonard expressed his thoughts in prayer and through traditional songs describing a deeply held belief among native peoples of the importance of respecting the land, the elements and the need for balance as part of any development that takes place in Indian communities.

"It is not a perspective that most developers may readily think of when working with Indian communities," Makil said, "yet it is a concept that is sacred in many ways to the communities and integral to achieving sustainability and a truly viable seven-generation economy."
Comment:  For more on Native values, see Hercules vs. Coyote:  Native and Euro-American Beliefs.

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