The principles of skennen, kariwiio and kasastensera serve as the foundation and guiding force for the Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment (ATFE). Since the beginning of time, our Creator has told our people to strive for peace and as individuals, communities and Nations, we must constantly strive to talk, work, live and be at peace. Skennen (peace) is more than just the absence of conflict or war and is based on spiritual, social and political foundations. Peace has been defined as "the active striving of humans for the purpose of establishing universal justice. True peace is the product of a unified people on the path of Righteousness and Reason - the ability to enact the principles of Peace through education, public opinion and political and when necessary, military unity. It is the product of a spiritually conscious society using its abilities at reason.
When we work for peace, we develop a good mind, a good way of thinking. Kariwiio (good word) refers to "the shared ideology of the people using their purest and most unselfish minds. It occurs when the people put their minds and emotions in harmony with the flow of the universe and the intentions of the Good Mind or the Great Creator. The principles of Righteousness demand that all thoughts of prejudice, privilege or superiority be swept away and that recognition be given to the reality that the creation is intended for the benefit of all equally - even the birds and animals, the trees and the insects, as well as the humans. Reason is seen as the skill which humans must be encouraged to acquire in order that the objectives of justice may be attained and no one's rights abused.
When we work for peace and a good mind, we develop kasastensera (strength). Strength flows from the power of the good mind to use rational thinking and persuasion to channel the inherent good will of humans to work towards peace, justice and unity to prevent the abuse of human beings and mother earth.
Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment Research Advisory Committee
Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment Research Advisory Committee. (1996). Protocol for Review of Environmental and Scientific Research Proposals. Hogansburg, NY.