02 February 2006

Something to learn from the Indians

[from the Native American Indians; not the Indians from India.]

Folklore has it that the Native American Indian considered the environment his brother. The earth, the moon, the sun, the winds, the rain, the rivers, the mountains and the trees… were his relatives – to be treated with love and respect. And, the American Indian taught his children so, generation after generation. The legacy was passed down not only to ensure the present, but also to guarantee the future.

Thinking about the future was an enormous responsibility for the American Indian. And this responsibility, naturally, demanded a vision. A vision put things into perspective – that he was only a small part of a much larger picture. Without a vision, an American Indian – and his tribe – was nothing. He believed, without a vision, everything turned destructive. He believed polluting the waters, cutting down forests, killing animals for pleasure… were disrespectful and counter-productive to life.

The American Indian believed that life was a cycle of welfare and harmony; and all his decisions were driven by this. Hidden in this belief was the key to his universe: the re-generation of life. The only things that upset this cycle, that destroyed the essence of the universe, were a generation’s greed and its unwillingness to sacrifice for the future. These teachings go back to the very beginnings of the American Indian people.

Whenever businesses talk of corporate social responsibility (CSR), I am reminded of the Native American Indians. Perhaps, the business leaders of today – and their political counterparts – have something to learn from the American Indians.

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