Kinship With All
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, and animals
and the same force that had been breathed into
the first man. Thus all things were kindred, and
they 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 Great Mystery safe among them. And so close did
some of the Lakota come to their feathered and furred
friends that in true brotherhood they spoke a common
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.
source: Chief Luther Standing Bear, Teton Sioux
image: Eddie’s Image Collection
editor’s note: reposted from ETH Winter Solstice December 2012