In Loving Memory
From Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit, there came a great unifying life force that flowed in and through all things - the flowers of the plains, blowing winds, rocks, trees, birds, animals - and was the same force that had been breathed into the first man. Thus all things were kindred, and were brought together by the same Great Mystery. Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky, and water was a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept the Lakota safe among them. And so close did some of the Lakotas come to their feathered and furred friends that in true brotherhood they spoke a common tongue. The animals had rights - the right of a man's protection, the right to live, the right to multiply, the right to freedom, and the right to man's indebtedness - and in recognition
"We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful open hills, and winding stream with tangled growth, as 'wild'. Only to the white man was nature a 'wilderness' and only to him was the land 'infested' with 'wild' animals and 'savage' people. To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were sourrouned with Blessings of Great Mystery."
~ Luther Standing Bear
of these rights the Lakota a never enslaved an animal, and spared all life that was not needed for food and clothing. This concept of life and its relations with humanizing, gave to the Lakota an abiding love. It filled his being with joy and mystery of living; it gave him reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.The Lakota could not despise no creature, for all were of one blood, made by the same hand, and filled with the essence of the Great Mystery. In spirit, the Lakota were humble and meek. "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" - this was true for the Lakota, and from the earth they inherited secrets long since forgotten. Their religion was sane, natural, and human.
Chief Luther Standing Bear -