What is the Seventh Generation?

We must also recognize that the life in our communities has changed dramatically over the generations. Change is inevitable, but culture is a mechanism to make sure that the changes are not detrimental to the social, ceremonial, economic, educational and political life of the community. Each generation of Haudenosaunee must apply all of the principles, beliefs and values described above to assess the world in which they find themselves, and they formulate a response to their world that allows them to survive on their own terms.

We have even been given a way to accomplish this. It is called the Seventh Generation philosophy. The Chiefs are instructed to that when they deliberate on the serious matters of the Council, they are to consider the impact of their decisions on seventh generation into the future. This way, they are to proceed cautiously, thinking of what effect their decisions will have on the welfare of their descendants. It requires a special attention to the future. But it also produces a sense of stability.

Some things will always need remain the same because we still live on the same earth, we still live in same areas, we still have many of the traditions that allowed our ancestors to survive. These very same traditions will be essential for the future generations. Keeping the traditions alive and viable is the responsibility of this generation. Our gift to the future is all of the things that have been described above. But these traditions are not simply words on paper that can be studied when needed. The traditions must be practiced each and every day. The Haudenosaunee way of life requires a commitment to make it happen, sometimes, in spite the current trends and desires of the people to change those traditions.

-- from the Haudenosaunee site (http://sixnations.org)

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