Defend the Sacred

In August 2017 we hosted activists, leaders of movements, Indigenous elders and youth from around 40 countries, all with experience of sacred activism, with the aim of reconciling Indigenous wisdom with futuristic thinking. We came together to discuss what is sacred to us and how to defend it while facing a system of war and exploitation, to hold ceremony and build community, to heal historical traumatic wounds and to work on visions for a healed Earth. A key part was the aerial art action on Odeceixe beach to stop plans for offshore oil drilling in Portugal.

The gathering gave rise to powerful inspirations and a manifesto for how a growing global community can stand up for life, water and a future worth living everywhere. We will host the next international gathering in Tamera from August 1st–10th 2018 to foster the emerging global alliance. Please stay tuned for further updates.


Signed by a group of global visionaries and leaders, these are the key points of the manifesto we collectively agree on as a foundation for a global alliance to defend the sacred.

  • Building upon the peaceful opposition seeded during the resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock in 2016, we work on building a globally unified alliance that transcends cultures, borders and beliefs.
  • We unite as a planetary community to midwife a transition to a world where we humans no longer dominate but cooperate with the sacred alliance of life.
  • Evoking our Indigenous wisdom, we work to acknowledge the rights of the Earth and live in communion with Nature and all beings, embracing this planet as one interdependent family.
  • We acknowledge that our collective trauma keeps us in a cycle of continued violence and separation and work to consciously address and heal it. Healing the wounds of the past is essential to creating a culture of peace.
  • To catalyze a global system change and create a culture of peace, we develop social and ecological systems aligned with the matrix of life that unify and interconnect all that lives.
  • We support the emergence of regenerative models, like Healing Biotopes and a network of interconnected, autonomous communities of trust, to contribute to global peace.
  • We commit to defending the sacred—for the water, the earth, the air, for our children and all generations that will come after us. Mni Wiconi—water is life. Life is sacred. It is this sacredness that we defend.

The manifesto is signed by leading activists from around the world – Indigenous elders and youth from North America, (including initiators from Standing Rock), Colombia, Israel, Palestine, Brazil, Bolivia, Kenya, the Philippines and Europe.

Download and share the manifesto (PDF)

Download and share the key points above (PDF)

Download and share the manifesto in Portuguese (PDF)

Download and share the manifesto in German (PDF)

Download and share the manifesto in Spanish (PDF)

Take Action

Pledge your support to the manifesto by sharing it with your friends, communities and networks!

We want to continue to collaborate on sacred activism, and facilitate a growing global alliance by encouraging people to study the manifesto with friends and community, and share insights, questions and ideas on how we can work together to defend the sacred.

Get together with friends and community to discuss what sacred activism means for you and what action you can take. And then share your ideas and questions with a growing community on DEFEND THE SACRED GLOBAL ALLIANCE.

Aerial Art Action

Não ao Furo! Sim ao Futuro – No to oil drilling in Portugal!

On August 12 2017, nearly 1000 people from 40 countries formed a large-scale human message on Odeceixe beach to stop plans for off-shore oil drilling in Portugal. The event was part of “Defend the Sacred: Envision a Global Alternative” hosted by Tamera, joined by Standing Rock leaders and supported by environmental movements in Portugal. The aerial human image was designed by John Quigley of Spectral Q and the video was produced by Ludwig Schramm and team from Tamera.

As the oil companies push to drill for oil off this coast as early as April 2018, we came together to honor that water is life, water is sacred, life is sacred, and that we must defend the sacred. LaDonna Bravebull Allard, initiator of the Sacred Stone camp at Standing Rock said at the event, “I stood up for the water and the world stood with us, so I came here to stand with you. We have no choice, we must stand up for the water and we must stand up now!”

Combining political action with art and prayer, a ceremony for water and fire, we dedicated this act of sacred activism to a regenerative system change from a culture of exploitation to one of cooperation with all that lives. And that it’s our duty – our mandate – to call people to stand up, because people are ready for an alternative. And will run joyfully towards a more beautiful world, as the beach goers did on Odeceixe-Praia, as they heard and felt the call to complete the final pieces of the powerful message at the last minute.

The message featured the “Linha Vermelha” (“Red Line”) – a campaign in partnership with Climaximo and the Citizenship Academy. The red line represents the voices of those who repeatedly say “no” to the oil drilling here and in the world, and through weaving and knitting, aim to inform and mobilize the population, who otherwise would not be aware and sensitized to this crime. (See:

The aerial art, designed by John Quigley, an American environmental advocate, known around the world for his aerial art activism. See John Quigley’s Biography (PDF) and an article about his work in the London Sunday Times (PDF).

The images are published under a under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial license. Acknowledgement: Ludwig Schramm / Karlito Delacasa / Simon du Vinage / Yuval Kovo / Spectral Q. The video is published under the same license – see credits.

Não ao Furo! Sim ao Futuro – No to oil drilling in Portugal!


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2017 Program

Participants and Speakers

We ran a successful crowdfunding campaign to bring international activists and leaders as participants and speakers.


Watch the talks and panels and films from the gathering.

Defend the Sacred: What is Sacred?
What is your message to the world?
Living Earth – Cooperation with all beings
Defend the Sacred | Panel: Turtle Island
Defend the Sacred – Healing Biotopes Plan | Benjamin von Mendelssohn
Closing Speech, Thoughts and Reflections | Defend the Sacred Gathering
Gentle power – the Feminine Revolution
Defend the Sacred I Panel: Middle East
The Power of Vision | Dieter Duhm
Defend the Sacred I Panel: Global South
Defend the Sacred: Water is Life!
Reflections from the Beginning


Martin Winiecki’s speech on the opening night of the event


JOHN QUIGLEY – Não ao furo, Sim ao futuro! – Aerial Art Action
Initiators of the Standing Rock movement share why they’re coming