The Tipping Point System

Indigenous Wisdom & Local Knowledge

The 16 Indigenous Guiding Principles

TPS is founded on Indigenous Wisdom & Principles and honours local and ancestral knowledge and cultural diversity. The TPS participatory principles are based on the Sixteen Indigenous Guiding Principles for Co-Creating a Sustainable, Harmonious, Prosperous World, which emerged from a 50-year process of reflection, consultation and action within indigenous communities across the Americas.


  • Human Beings Can Transform Their Worlds
 - The web of our relationships with others and the natural world, which has given rise to the problems we face as a human family, can be changed.
  • Development Comes From Within
 - The process of human and community development unfolds from within each person, relationship, family organization, community or nation.
  • No Vision, No Development - A vision of who we can become and what a sustainable world would be like, works as a powerful magnet, drawing us to our potential.
  • Healing Is A Necessary Part Of Development
 - Healing the past, closing up old wounds and learning healthy habits of thought and action to replace dysfunctional thinking and disruptive patterns of human relations is a necessary part of the process of sustainable development.


  • Interconnectedness  - All is related to everything else: therefore, any aspect of our healing and development is connected to all the others (personal, social, cultural, political, economic, etc.). When we work on any one part, the whole circle is affected.
  • No Unity, No Development
 - Unity means oneness. Without unity, the universal oneness that makes (seemingly) separate human beings into ‘community’ is impossible. Disunity is the primary disease of community.
  • No Participation, No Development
  - Participation is the active engagement of the minds, hearts, and energy of the people in the process of their healing and development.
  • Justice
 - Every person (regardless of gender, race, age, culture, religion, sexual orientation) has the right and is accorded equal opportunity to participate in the process of healing and development and to receive a fair share of the benefits.


  • Spirit
 - Human beings are both material and spiritual, in nature. It is therefore inconceivable that the human community could become whole and sustainable without bringing our lives into balance with the requirements of our spiritual nature.
  • Morals and Ethics
 - Sustainable human and community development requires a moral foundation centered on the wisdom of the heart. When this foundation is lost, morals and ethical principles decline and development stop. 
  • The Hurt of One Is the Hurt of All: The Honor of One Is the Honor Of All
 - The basic fact of our oneness as a human family means that development for some at the expense of well being for others is not acceptable or sustainable.
  • Authentic Development Is Culturally Based
 - Healing and development must be rooted in the wisdom, knowledge and living processes of the cultures of the people.


  • Learning  - Human beings are learning beings. We begin learning while we are still in our mother’s wombs, and unless something happens to close off our minds and paralyze our capacities, we keep learning throughout our entire lives. Learning is at the core of healing and development.
  • Sustainability
 - To sustain something means to enable it to continue for a long time. Authentic development does not use up or undermine what it needs to keep on going.
  • Move to the Positive
 - Solving the critical problems in our lives and communities is best approached by visualizing and moving into the positive alternative that we wish to create, and by building on the strengths, we already have, rather than on giving away our energy fighting the negative.
  • Be the Change You Want To See - The most powerful strategies for change always involve positive role modeling and the creation of living examples of the solutions we are proposing. By walking the path, we make the way visible.

SourceFour Worlds International Institute by Hereditary Chief Phil Lane, 2019. 

Prophecy of the Sacred Hoop

The Tipping Point System honours the fulfillment of the Indigenous Prophecies for this particular transition time. At the Centre of the Tipping Point Councils is the Indigenous Wisdom Council. In 1994, Don Coyhis, a Mohican messenger, received a dream in which a hoop was formed with 4 quadrants, encircled by 100 feathers. The Elders from his Turtle Clan in South Dakota said, “You need to build that hoop.” They saw this vision as a prophecy of the coming together of the Human race: red skin, yellow skin, white skin and black skin. “There is only one race, the human race,” they said.

And so the construction of the hoop began. When it was completed, the twenty-seven indigenous Elders from the Four Directions, with joy and solemnity, took cedar planks, laying them in the four directions, placing the hoop on top, and saying:

We have come together. We will put into this hoop four gifts that are necessary for this coming together... this healing time."

  1. “The first gift we place is the power to forgive the unforgivable.”
  2. “The second gift is the power to heal.” The Elders prayed their healing medicines into the hoop.
  3. “The third gift is the power of unity. The power to come together."
  4. “And the fourth gift is the power of hope. The ability to dream, to see wellness and the powers to attain it.”

Source: Adapted from the Introduction to The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom For Modern Times by Anita Sanchez, Ph.D.