Ave, Sandum Citizens!
For a long time, our State has paid attention to the culture of our Native American ancestors and predecessors. These facts are ardent for others to see: We have an extensive propaganda chapter on Native Americans; we celebrate November as the Month of Native Americans; Native American music is one of several genres of “Sandum” music. We identify as a nation with Native Americans due to our ardent opposition to macronational imperialism, treatment of Native and Aboriginal peoples, and we have recently expressed our support for the Idle No More protests in Canada and the rest of North America. Even the name of the highest office of our State — Sôgmô – is given from a Native American tribe: the Abenaki. However, for the most part, this culture has seldom been a driving force in our government, until now. In the process of devolving power from the Sôgmô to give both more responsibility and power to the Sandum People, the framework of an advisory and legislative council and the various roles it will play on governance has been considered.
To the Abenaki, government was exercised by their sôgemôjik with the primary advice of the Tribal Council, which consisted of all members of the tribe. A Board or Council of Elders could be called up at times of specific need for the wise. In the Abenaki band of the Sokoki, the Tribal Council is elected; however, in Sandus, we have not the ability to elect a legislature, due to the fact that we have too few citizens and too few active or interested citizens. The modern Sokoki Tribal Council grants citizenship to each person who applies, whereby they must meet certain requirements set forth by the Council; in Sandus, we already have citizenship such as this.
Governance was done through a group-wide consensus method. Every group — families, bands, and tribes — must have equal say and, at the times of great confederal meetings like the ones for the entire Wôbanakiak (Wabanaki Confederacy) or for the Seven Nations Confederacy of Canada, some tribes and bands would elect representatives. Each band and tribe would rely on an impartial facilitator (such as the position of a speaker of a legislature) and the group would send him their decision; the facilitator would read the decision and, if there was disagreement, the facilitator would ask the groups to discuss again. With no consensus, the status quo was retained. The complete and total understanding of all members was also a requirement for a decision to take place and, if one did not understand, debate would be stopped until others understood.
This could be placed in a democratic setting in our State, as well, with a council comprised of all citizens where the Sôgmô would be the speaker, where complete consensus is required but complete understanding would be necessary.
When the council met, each decision would be weighed towards three questions the council would ask itself:
Is Peace preserved?
Is it moral and righteous?
Does it preserve the integrity and power of the group?
These three questions would often be used to work towards consensus and understanding of the Council.
In recent notes published to the State of Sandus Facebook page entitled “The Foundations of the Sandum Philosophy”, we noted three similar questions (is pax preserved? is it moral? does it benefit the Sandum people?) as those above. For Sandus, however, the term ‘pax’ is broader, more in-tune with the Roman definition of ‘pax’ than what we consider to be just modern ‘peace’. To us in the modern world, peace is often the absence of war or conflict; to the ancient Romans, and indeed to us as well, it’s more than that. This definition includes the benevolence and munificence of the state or gods. Therefore, only the first question is changed considerably to include the concept of socialist benevolence for the welfare of the people.
To an extent, we follow these questions.
What we can do pragmatically now:
We do not need to wait to garner a Council, or the citizenship and activity necessary for a working legislature. We can put both the consensus model and the Three Truths into wider usage in our State. The Office of the Sôgmô already relies on the opinions of the people to make decisions. And, whilst we consider the Three Truths individually, we do not consider them collectively. Perhaps, if we should follow this model instinctively, a de facto council may form on its own and we may establish it de jure. For now, however, these are the summarily-defined changes we can make:
1.) Make decisions and take actions according to the Three Truths.
2.) When it is necessary for petitions or when other citizens express their petitions (that may be, as well, any opposition to an action), consensus must be achieved by all citizens who are active in government.
3.) Work for the complete understanding of all Sandum citizens the actions that will be taken and that have been petitioned or advised for.
These changes will ensure that the Sôgmô will work less arbitrarily and more collectively; however, it does not violate Article 3 of the Founding Law and, rather, simply magnifies Article 4 and the right to petition therein. Already the Office of the Sôgmô does not operate absolutely but, instead, relies on the petitions and opinions of the Sovereign People.
May we aspire to the Advance of the Sandum State!
– Sôgmô Sörgel.