All eyes have been on the thousands of people gathered at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The Native Americans and thousands of other supporters that have come from all over the world have been standing strong against the oil companies that want to see the pipeline through. After weeks of peacefully protesting in bitterly cold temperatures and brutal attacks from the police force, a miraculous turn of events took place.
The Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit that would grant Energy Transfer Partners, the company in charge of the pipeline, permission to build it underneath Lake Oahe, which supplies water to the reservation. The pipeline would sit just a half mile upstream from the reservation’s boundary, and if a spill should happen, it would contaminate the drinking water for thousands of people. Because of the cultural and environmental sensitivity present, the Army Corps of Engineers will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement to discuss alternative routes for the pipeline.
This is a huge victory for not only the Native Americans whose land, water, and very way of life was in jeopardy, but for the water protectors who stood in solidarity with them, as well as for our Mother Earth.
The Native Americans view all life as sacred, and we can continue to learn from them as we all work to heal the Earth together. We’ve listed seven values from the Lakota Sioux tribe that are central to their teachings, ceremonies, and beliefs, and we hope you can take something away from these valuable lessons.
The 7 Great Lakota Sioux Laws That Will Change Your Life
Spirituality is a core component of life for the Lakota people. They believe Mother Earth is sacred, and so they honor and respect her greatly. They give thanks to the Creator daily through living consciously and also by praying to the Great Spirit. The Lakota people believe that the land doesn’t belong to us, but rather that we belong to the land. As such, they recite daily prayers of thanks to Mother Earth and Great Spirit for all they continue to bless us with and for the great privilege and honor of life.
Another central teaching to the Lakota people, they believe in honoring and respecting all life. The dragonfly is as sacred as the water, as the same force and energy run through all things on Earth. The Lakota people believe in helping others and preserving the Earth and the ways of the sacred as much as possible. They believe in peace, equality, and justice, and respecting all of our brothers and sisters, regardless of skin color or nationality.
We all come from the Earth, so why treat any person or being with disrespect and lack of empathy? We all come from the same source, and the Lakota believe in treating everyone how you would want them to treat you. Care for others as you would yourself, because we’re all part of this circle of life. Compassion is important to the Lakota people, as they all work together and lean on one another for support and survival.
Important to all Native American tribes, honesty is integral to their way of life. The Lakota work together as a people, and the system would not function if dishonesty prevailed. They teach their young to live a righteous path, and not lie to themselves or others.
In this world today, we have greatly lost our sense of giving and generosity. We have the general mindset of “How will this benefit me?” or “What can I get out of this?” However, the Lakota people recognize that to give is to keep the Earth in balance, for we cannot just take, take, take and expect the planet to remain in alignment. They teach to give as much as you can, and to help your fellow brothers and sisters if they need assistance. Care for others like family, and only take what you need.
Another value this world could use much more, the Lakota live humbly and simply. They don’t believe in bragging or embellishing. They live according to the laws of nature, and nature never needs to overcompensate for anything. She just exists in her perfect harmony, without needing to show off or gain acceptance from anyone or anything. The Lakota believe in strength of character and honor, and both of these require great humility.
Finally, the Lakota value ancient wisdom and knowledge from sacred ways of life. They look back on the teachings of their ancestors and the great chiefs and leaders within their tribe in order to find the answers. Most importantly, they believe in the wisdom provided from Great Spirit and Mother Earth, and never stray from the knowledge that this subtle energy imparts on them.
So, now that you know more about the teachings of the Lakota, we hope that you will take some of these important lessons into your own life. As a collective, we carry the responsibility of protecting and honoring our sacred Mother Earth. She’s everything, for she gives us life, nourishment, and comfort. Without her, we wouldn’t survive, and we can all do better to truly protect her. She’s counting on us now more than ever to take a stand and make a change.
Will you rise with the coming tides, or allow them to carry you out to sea? The choice is yours, but the victory at Standing Rock is only the beginning of a very long battle. We all must stand and work together if we want to make lasting changes for ourselves and future generations.