Before western colonisation ,all indigenous communities saw the entire universe as one.People, animals, plants, water, trees, and insects belonged to one community. It was a community of human and non human beings, all with equal living rights. The universe was a community of subjects, not a collection of objects as was later to be considered by the western anthropocentric thinking.
The community was governed by earth laws, which were transferred from generation to generation . Each community had different individuals who ware responsible for administration of these laws; ensuring that the will of the universe, or the earth is done. The laws of the earth were in consonance with the cosmology and followed a systematic order.
The trees had their rights, water had its rights, an insect, animal, bird and humans; all had their rights. The rights of the animal would not suppress the rights of an insect, nor would those of humans over shadow the animal rights.
There used to be the custodians of nature (including humans) who would communicate with the spiritual nature and physical nature,thruogh and in sacred places with in the universe. The western anthropocentric thinking asserted that the human being was supreme and had rights over and above other beings. This was emphasized and enforced by the christian bible (introduced by western religion) in the creation theory. The introduction of this thinking led to human disconnection with nature/rest of the earth community. It further introduced the western law that looks at the rest of nature as things to be used and exploited by human beings for their own needs and interests. We must go back to understanding of the laws of nature which is the Earth Jurisprudence if this harmony with nature has to be re-established. The indigenous communities provide us with this knowledge as was left behind by our ancestors who are called evil spirits by the western spirituality and religion. Where as the western ancestors are called saints, those of Africa, for example, are called evil spirits.
Published on 26 August 2020