I have been thinking about this post, off and on, since I first read it. I found it deep and true. I’m grateful to Ben for writing it, and am happy to share it with you.
“The purpose of our simple teachings is to be the caretakers of Mother Earth. We are the environment and the environment is us. Western man has gone too far the other way. We deal with the trees and all of nature as if they’re all alive. When we go to the mountain, we go into the mountain. We become the mountain – never trying to overcome it, but always being a part of its energies.” (Johnson, 1998, p131)
These words, spoken by Cree Elder and medicine man Vernon Harper, reflect an innate sense of gratitude, respect, and even comradeship with regards to the entirety of creation central to the spiritual beliefs and practices of indigenous Americans. This sentiment is beautifully reflected in the Lakota expression mitakuye oyasin which, according to Janet McCloud, wise woman and Grandmother of the Tulalip tribe, means “…all my relations. When they say that…
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