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Ownership and Guardianship of Land

“You as well as birds flying in the sky and animals rooming in the forests there  a right to live and travel around any place in this country. You are only its guardian”
(From a sermon of Arahant Mahinda to the King Devanampiyatisse (306Bc)

“The earth is our mother. Rivers are our brothers. Your Idea of selling and buying the blue sky and the warmth of the land is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air the sparkle of the water how can you buy them?

Every part of this earth is sacred to us. The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers, is not just water, but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell you land, you must remember that it is sacred, to us. You must teach your children that each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lake’s tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The water’s murmur is the voice of my father’s father.

The rivers are our Brothers, they quench  our thirst. The rivers carry our canoes, and feed our children. If we sell you our land, you must remember and teach your children that the rivers are our brothers and yours. You must henceforth give the rivers the Kindness you would give any brother.

He treats his mother, the earth and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beads. His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only desert.

What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone men would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.

The earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons of the earth. Whatever he does to the earth, he does to himself. As we know this earth does  not belong to man. But man belongs to the earth.
(Red Indian Chief Seattle- 1954)

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