A New Dawn-Celebrating All Life
From Waken 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
The animals had rights-the right of 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 of these rights the Lakota never enslaved
an animal, and spared all life that was not needed for food and clothing.
This concept of life and its relations was humanizing, and gave to the Lakota an abiding love. It filled his
being with the 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 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.