Thick skin and the great law of the Iroquois
April 4, 2008
Before the traditional Iroquois convened their consul meetings, they invoked this declaration:
“In every deliberation we must consider the impact on the seventh generation… even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine.”
Thereafter, any vote included an equal vote cast by a representative who spoke specifically for the needs, the survival, and the dignity of those who would live a hundred and fifty years in the future. For the Iroquois, the generational format of their council defined a longterm relationship between government and ecology. The rights of future generations never became an issue of policy because it was, instead, the very context of policy. Conservation was, thus, the very foundation upon which their culture was built. The medium was the message.