Photo of the Dalai Lama by Mary Milholland, 1972.
At the Peace Summit Conference in 2009 in Vancouver, Canada, the Dalai Lama said, “The world will be saved by Western women.” While this comment may have puzzled many people, those of us among the privileged working for gender equality in this country were galvanized to action by this insight.
When Zoh and I saw how instrumental the record number of women in the U.S. Congress were in ending the shutdown of the government, we remembered this prediction and saw it as validated.
Time Magazine has an article by Jay Newton-Small called “11 Things You Don’t Know About the Senate Sisterhood”, in which she says: “You can credit the tight, bipartisan bonds that these women have formed for not only seeding the compromise that reopened the government, but the vast majority of the legislation passed this session.
“Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Mikulski pushed through a government funding bill in January that avoided both a government shutdown and a default on U.S. debt; Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray passed the first Democratic budget in four years; Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer saw through a $105 billion transportation bill and a $12.5 billion water resources bill; Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow got the $955 billion farm bill passed; and all 20 women banded together to see the Violence Against Women Act signed into law. Except for immigration reform, every major bill passed this session has been authored by a woman.
And to that we say “Hallelujah!” The Dalai Lama was Right On! Let’s elect another 25 women to both the House and the Senate in 2014 and begin to put our nation and planet back together again.
Our nation was founded on top of the strongest matrilineal societies on the planet, and despite colonial Europe’s very effective extermination efforts, our Indigenous people survived and in recent decades are beginning to regain some bits of what they lost. In our research for a new book called The Secret Life of Lady Liberty, we learned that a great deal about the usually overlooked impact of the Native Americans on Euro-Americans. Unfortunately, our founders were unable to grasp the fundamental truth of most of these native societies on the East Coast – that their long-term success stemmed from the place of power and reverence afforded to women. Representatives from the League of the Iroquois taught Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, and many others about their representational democracy, and were even invited to attend and advise the Continental Congress during their deliberations. The Iroquois League had maintained a successful peaceful union for hundreds of years, and the Colonists got their first inklings of independence by observing these societies living around them. See Jack Weatherford's Indian Givers or Native Roots for more examples of the hundreds of ways Europeans learned from the indigenous peoples beyond their government structure, including agricultural science, medicine and controlled burn techniques.
This is a drawing by Mohawk John Kahoinhes Fadden illustrating how the Iroquois were invited to share their wisdom with the Congress during the planning stages of the new government. This Der Spiegel interview with Dr. Bob Hieronimus will be one of the only documentaries that discusses this subject in any detail.
For our readers in Germany, be sure to watch the special I filmed for Der Spiegel TV, which is scheduled to air in December 2013. Unlike the dozens of U.S. documentaries on which I have been interviewed for History, Discovery, Nat Geo, SyFy, Fox, etc., the interviewers for Der Spiegel seemed to understand the importance of the Native Americans’ impact on American and world history, and I was pleased to answer their many questions about it. Click here for more about this interview on the symbolism of the dollar bill and the mysterious layout of Washington, DC.