Chief Leon Shenandoah Speech to the United Nations
Message delivered to the General Assembly of the United Nations
by Chief Leon Shenandoah, Special Advisor to the Manitou Foundation Board
on October 24th, 1985
Brothers, listen to the words of the Creator given to
the first United Nations, the Houdenosaunee, over one
thousand years ago.
The Chiefs of the Houdenosaunee shall be mentors of the
people for all time. The thickness of their skin shall be
seven spans; which is to say that they shall be proof
against anger, offensive action and criticism. Their hearts
shall be full of Peace and good will and their minds filled
with a yearning for the welfare of the people. With endless
patience, they shall carry out their duty. Their firmness
shall be tempered with a tenderness for their people.
Neither anger nor fury shall find lodging in their minds,
and all their words and actions shall be marked by calm
In every Nation there are wise and good men. These
should be appointed Chiefs. They should be the advisors of
their people and work for the good of all people and all
their powers comes from the "Great Peace". A chief must
never forget the Creator of mankind, never forget to ask him
for help. The Creator will guide our thoughts and strengthen
us as we work to be faithful to our sacred trust and restore
harmony among all peoples, all living creatures, and Mother
In the beginning, we were told that the human beings
who walk about on earth have been provided with all things
necessary for life. We were instructed to carry a love for
one another and to show a great respect for all the beings
of this Earth. We were shown that our life exists with the
tree life, that our well-being depends on the well-being of
the vegetable life, that we are close relations of the four
legged beings. In our ways, spiritual consciousness is the
highest form of politics... when people cease to respect and
express gratitude for these many things, then all life will
be destroyed, and human life on this planet will come to an
These are our times and our responsibilities. Every
human being has a sacred duty to protect the welfare of our
mother earth from whom all life comes. In order to do this
we must recognize the enemy -- the one within us. We must
begin with ourselves.
Put aside the fears that have you conditioned to obey
blindly the directions of the governments whose motives are
power and profit.
Open your eyes and see the outrages of violence carried
on against innocent people in the name of power and profit
within the governments.
Open your ears and hear the cries of pain and death
inflicted upon your brothers and sisters throughout the
world in prisons, concentration camps, cities and villages
in the name of capitalism or communism or any of the other
ideologies that are motivated by power or profit at the
expense of we, the people.
Open your throats and speak out against the crimes
against nature and mankind and our children in the future.
We must recognize our enemies, the forces of darkness
that now march across all lands in the Four Sacred
Directions, throwing the shadow of death and destruction
even into the seventh generation to come.
The political, economic and military powers are
combined in an unholy alliance with the dark forces, and the
major powers in this world are leading this march.
Ideology has replaced common sense in the minds of the
leaders of nations. Double speech has become the common
language, with constant use of such terminology, ideas and
attitudes become "facts", thus the highest most aggressive
military budget ever proposed in the history of world powers
become a "defense" budget.
The seeds of destruction planted by the sales of arms
to smaller nations will bring a harvest of war.
Why are such elemental deductions beyond the
understanding of the leaders of governments, when we, the
people, so easily understand?
We must gather the mothers of the nations and hear
their outrage at the senseless expenditure of their
children's lives for profit, power and the supremacy of any
ideology, whatever it may be.
The men have failed as leaders simply because they have
failed to listen to the other half of the creation which is
female that bears the burden and sacred gifts of life.
We must live in harmony with the natural world and
recognize that excessive exploitation can only lead to our
own destruction. We cannot trade the welfare of our future
generations for profit now. We must abide by the natural law
or be victim of its ultimate reality.
We must stand together, the four sacred colors of man,
as the one family that we are in the interest of peace.
We must abolish nuclear and conventional weapons of
When warriors are leaders, you will have war -
elementary. We must raise leaders of peace.
We must unite the religions of the world as the
spiritual force strong enough to prevail in peace.
It is no longer good enough to cry peace.
We must act peace, live peace, and march in peace in
alliance with the people of the world.
We are the spiritual energy that is thousands of times
stronger than nuclear energy. Our energy is the combined
will of all people with the spirit of the natural world, to
be of one body, one heart and one mind for peace.
We propose, as a resolution for peace, that October
24th, 1986 be designated as a day of peace, and a worldwide
ceasefire take place in honor of our children and the
seventh generation to come.
Dah nay toh,
Chief Leon Shenandoah
The Six Nations Iroquois