Shared Wisdom: American Indian Ways
I have always loved the American Indian way of life. No I am not being “politically incorrect” when I say American Indian rather than Native American. Rex Lee Jim said: “The Italian explorer Christopher Columbus simply verified what Indians already knew when he described them as un gente que vive en dios – a people who live in God. ………… Helping save the world from cultural genocide for me must begin with The sacred words, en dios – indios – in God. I am an American Indian, not a Native American.”
Here are some other thoughts from American Indians.
“Love: Love is something you and I must have. We must have it because our spirit feeds upon it. We must have it because without it we become weak and faint. Without love our self esteem weakens. Without it our courage fails. Without love we can no longer look confidently at the world. We turn inward and begin to feed upon our own personalities, and little by little we destroy it ourselves. With it we march tirelessly. With it, and with it alone, we are able to sacrifice for others.” (Chief Dan George)
“You might as well expect rivers to run backward as that any man who was born a free man should be contented when penned up and denied liberty.” (Chief Joseph, Nez Perce’)
“The Indian loved to worship. From birth to death he revered his surroundings. He considered himself born in the luxurious lap of Mother Earth and no place to him was humble. There was nothing between him and the Big Holy. The contact was immediate and personal and the blessings of Wakan Tanka flowed over the Indian like rain showered from the sky.” (Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Sioux Chief)
“Everywhere is the center of the world. Everything is sacred.” Black Elk (Oglala Sioux)
And to close today’s sharing – this beautiful American Indian prayer:
“O Great Spirit,
Whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breathe gives life to all the world, hear me!
Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things you have made and my ears sharp to hear your voice. Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy – myself!
Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.”