A poem by Beau Dick, shared with the Spaceship Earth International Research Roundtable at the Peter Wall Institute, May 2014.

We have endured as First Nation people
near annihilation. We have been subject
to poverty, diseases infected on us,
homelessness, alcoholism, drug addiction.
Now our waters are being poisoned,
our homelands being destroyed.
Old-growth forests are disappearing, 
animal species are being wiped out
from the face of the earth and the sea 
in an accelerating rate in the last 150 years.
These are dangerous times.

We need to make all people aware 
that First Nations peoples of this nation 
we call Canada are probably the only
people who can stand up for the forests  
that are integral part of our lives
together with the rivers and the sea,
all of which are First Nations’ issues
not just in Canada, but in the broadest sense,
to all the planet Earth since this is global.
Every single human being is affected 
by decisions we make in our daily lives. 

What kind of people have we become?
In our healing we regain the dignity
of our culture, we regain our pride
as people, members of the human family,
our connectedness with Mother Earth
and to the great Creator as illustrated
throughout our cultures, our connectedness
to all other beings that are on this planet,
the animals of the forests, the birds in the sky
all others who live in the rivers,  lakes and sea.
We are all connected. We must embrace this connection.

We need to shift our values and realize
that there is something more important 
than money, the monetary system that has been
imposed on us, that in my judgment, is immoral, 
corrupt and unjust. It’s time to shift our values
so that we may have hope to create a better world
for our children and our grandchildren, and those
yet unborn, and in doing so, honor our ancestors
who brought us here and gave us this great gift, life.
We need to care more. We need to embrace each other,
appreciate our differences throughout the whole world.

Let us set an example for the rest of the world.
We want to do good things. May we fulfill a vision 
of all people coming together and paddling 
from their homelands on their great thunder canoes
to find a common ground for the betterment of all.
In our healing we seek truth, and the truth is
that we all need each other. If we are to survive,
we need each other. We’re part of a bigger thing now.
It isn’t just a First Nations’ thing. We call on all our fellow
human beings to open your hearts and understand,
that we may all come together and be as one people.

Be good people together, heal together to find a path 
to righteousness, so that we may be protectors,
guardians of the precious gift of life we share
with all living beings on the blue planet we call Earth,
the mighty forests that point to the sky, the placid lakes
that are mirrors to the clouds, the flowing rivers 
that are the laughter of the land and our lives 
that go down to the big blue ocean, the big mother 
of all creatures, the source of the rain clouds.
May we embrace, protect, cherish the forests,
the birds, the fish, the sea. We are all one! 

Transcription of words spoken by Chief Beau Dick on the steps of the British Columbia Legislative Building in Victoria, BC, before  commencing a traditional Kwakwaka’wakw Breaking of the Copper Ceremony on February 12, 2013.

Edited by Francisco X. Alarcón during the International Roundtable "Spaceship Earth" sponsored by the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada, from 5 to 9 May 2014.

The video under the homonymous title "We are all connected!" was also produced in the occasion of the Roundtable can be viewed here.

PS We deplore that both Beau Dick and Francisco X. Alarcón passed away prematurely in 2017 and 2016 respectively. Rest in Peace - we will continue to honour your work and messages of peace, understanding and cooperation.