Chief Leon Shenandoah
Speech to the United Nations
Message delivered to the General Assembly of the United Nations
by Chief Leon Shenandoah, Special Advisor to the Manitou Foundation Board
on October 24th, 1985
Brothers, listen to the words of the Creator given to the first United Nations, the Houdenosaunee, over one thousand years ago.
The Chiefs of the Houdenosaunee shall be mentors of the people for all time. The thickness of their skin shall be seven spans; which is to say that they shall be proof against anger, offensive action and criticism. Their hearts shall be full of Peace and good will and their minds filled with a yearning for the welfare of the people. With endless patience, they shall carry out their duty. Their firmness shall be tempered with a tenderness for their people. Neither anger nor fury shall find lodging in their minds, and all their words and actions shall be marked by calm deliberation.
In every Nation there are wise and good men. These should be appointed Chiefs. They should be the advisors of their people and work for the good of all people and all their powers comes from the “Great Peace”. A chief must never forget the Creator of mankind, never forget to ask him for help. The Creator will guide our thoughts and strengthen us as we work to be faithful to our sacred trust and restore harmony among all peoples, all living creatures, and Mother Earth.
In the beginning, we were told that the human beings who walk about on earth have been provided with all things necessary for life. We were instructed to carry a love for one another and to show a great respect for all the beings of this Earth. We were shown that our life exists with the tree life, that our well-being depends on the well-being of the vegetable life, that we are close relations of the four legged beings. In our ways, spiritual consciousness is the highest form of politics… when people cease to respect and express gratitude for these many things, then all life will be destroyed, and human life on this planet will come to an end.
These are our times and our responsibilities. Every human being has a sacred duty to protect the welfare of our mother earth from whom all life comes. In order to do this we must recognize the enemy — the one within us. We must begin with ourselves.
Put aside the fears that have you conditioned to obey blindly the directions of the governments whose motives are power and profit.
Open your eyes and see the outrages of violence carried on against innocent people in the name of power and profit within the governments.
Open your ears and hear the cries of pain and death inflicted upon your brothers and sisters throughout the world in prisons, concentration camps, cities and villages in the name of capitalism or communism or any of the other ideologies that are motivated by power or profit at the expense of we, the people.
Open your throats and speak out against the crimes against nature and mankind and our children in the future. We must recognize our enemies, the forces of darkness that now march across all lands in the Four Sacred Directions, throwing the shadow of death and destruction even into the seventh generation to come.
The political, economic and military powers are combined in an unholy alliance with the dark forces, and the major powers in this world are leading this march.
Ideology has replaced common sense in the minds of the leaders of nations. Double speech has become the common language, with constant use of such terminology, ideas and attitudes become “facts”, thus the highest most aggressive military budget ever proposed in the history of world powers become a “defense” budget.
The seeds of destruction planted by the sales of arms to smaller nations will bring a harvest of war.
Why are such elemental deductions beyond the understanding of the leaders of governments, when we, the people, so easily understand?
We must gather the mothers of the nations and hear their outrage at the senseless expenditure of their children’s lives for profit, power and the supremacy of any ideology, whatever it may be.
The men have failed as leaders simply because they have failed to listen to the other half of the creation which is female that bears the burden and sacred gifts of life.
We must live in harmony with the natural world and recognize that excessive exploitation can only lead to our own destruction. We cannot trade the welfare of our future generations for profit now. We must abide by the natural law or be victim of its ultimate reality.
We must stand together, the four sacred colors of man, as the one family that we are in the interest of peace.
We must abolish nuclear and conventional weapons of war.
When warriors are leaders, you will have war – elementary. We must raise leaders of peace. We must unite the religions of the world as the spiritual force strong enough to prevail in peace. It is no longer good enough to cry peace. We must act peace, live peace, and march in peace in alliance with the people of the world. We are the spiritual energy that is thousands of times stronger than nuclear energy. Our energy is the combined will of all people with the spirit of the natural world, to be of one body, one heart and one mind for peace. We propose, as a resolution for peace, that October 24th, 1986 be designated as a day of peace, and a worldwide ceasefire take place in honor of our children and the seventh generation to come.
Dah nay toh,
Chief Leon Shenandoah
The Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy