Statement from The Tangata Whenua Social Workers Association of Aotearoa New Zealand
The Tangata Whenua Social Workers Association of Aotearoa New Zealand unequivocally supports the Standing Rock Sioux in their opposition to the transgression of their sacred lands by oil pipelines in the pursuit of perceived economic demands.
The relationship between the environment and people is a symbiotic one deeply embedded in history, connections through genealogy and is variable in interpretation being reflected in the metaphors of indigenous languages, narratives of association and scientific explanations. But the relationship is undeniable and is imperative to the sustainability of natural resources, the preservation of human life but more importantly to succeeding generations growing to realise the fragility of this relationship and learning to honour and nurture this relationship, not to dominate and destroy for the sake of economic supremacy.
The Association acknowledges that such opposition is symptomatic of the current global trends where, despite consistent opposition, perceived economic demands are gaining ascendancy over the quest to build a sustainable future by honouring and strengthening the relationship that exists between the environment and people.
The demise of the environment is our demise as people, the narratives and genealogical connections that epitomise the relationship will be lost to the ether of time and the sustainability for future generations will be and is in jeopardy.
This abuse and degradation must STOP!
Ka whawhai tonu tātou. We must continue to fight. Mauriora!
Rory Truell, Secretary General of IFSW said, “We fully endorse the statement from the Tangata Whenua Social Workers Association. Indigenous social workers from around the world have consistently highlighted the importance of people’s coexisting relationship with nature; and developing people’s role as guardians to create sustainable communities and environments. This approach offers a lot for the wider profession to learn from and act alongside. It is particularly important at a time when the Federation is campaigning with the Global Agenda theme: ‘Promoting Community and Environment Sustainably. Indigenous social workers have advocated to give nature legal rights. The right for land, water and air not to be exploited but to be able to thrive and be sustainable for the generations to come. Such an approach is essential in the context of the planets limited and fragile resources and the increasing practice of the over-exploitation of nature”, he said.