“For the Lakota, 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.
The animals had rights — the right of human protection, the right to live, the right to multiply, the right to freedom, and the right to our 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 their being with the joy and mystery of living; it gave them reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.
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… Thus all things were kindred, and were brought together by the same Great Mystery.”
~Chief Luther Standing Bear~
Photo by Shane Balkowitsch
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