By Dana Gluckstein, Photographer & Activist
DIGNITY: In Honor of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples chronicles my life journey with ninety museum collected photographs created over thirty years. DIGNITY features eloquent writings from icons such as Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Native American Faithkeeper, Oren R. Lyons and celebrates Amnesty International, the Nobel Peace-Prize winning organization, during its 50th anniversary year.
DIGNITY also chronicles centuries of painful struggle for Indigenous Peoples leading to the historic victory of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) recently adopted by 146 nations. DIGNITY is inspirational, bold and explicit with a critical call to action as the United States and Canada voted against this important human rights declaration even after thirty years of UN debate.
Why is it important to listen to the wisdom of the “ancient ones” – the ancestors of the planet’s first peoples? Faithkeeper Oren R. Lyons in his scholarly introduction to DIGNITY states, “A thousand years ago or more, the Great Peace Maker (of the Iroquois) came among our people.. .He said to us, ‘When you sit in council for the welfare of the people, think not of yourself, nor of your family, or even your generation. Make your decisions for the seventh generation coming so that they may enjoy what you have here today. If you do this, there will be peace.’ That is a profound instruction on responsibility that should be the basis for the world’s decision makers today.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu also reminds us of this essential wisdom in his profound foreword to DIGNITY, “The Indigenous Peoples have a gift to give that the world needs desperately, this reminder that we are made for harmony, for interdependence. If we are ever to prosper, it will only be together…The work of Dana Gluckstein helps us to truly see, not just appearances, but essences, to see as God sees us, not just the physical form, but also the luminous soul that shines through us.”
In honor of DIGNITY, please sign a letter to President Obama asking him to endorse UNDRIP.
During her 25 year career, Dana Gluckstein has photographed iconic figures from Nelson Mandela and Mikhail Gorbachev to Muhammad Ali, and produced award-winning advertising campaigns for clients such as Apple and Toyota.