Message to Indigenous Nations of the World
July 7, 2003
From: Chief Arvol Looking Horse of the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota Nation
Subject: Unity of Indigenous Nations' protection of ceremonial ways of life
I have asked the non-Indigenous Nations to please understand our need to protect and maintain our sacred 'way of life' and not to conduct our Sacred Ceremonies. This request still allows the non-indigenous people to 'attend' and support our ceremonies by taking part in healing ceremonies, and to offer prayers for their families in our sacred inipi (sweat lodges), to support our First Nations that hemblec'ia (vision quest) and Win Wang wac'ipi (Sundance). This participation also depends on the person that is sponsoring these ceremonies, as some do not allow this.
Our Sacred Ceremonial way of life involves the protocols of lineage to the hoc'oka, our altar, and of ancestral sacred energies for communicating with Wakan Tankan, the Great Mystery, the Great Spirit and Creator. I feel that all International Indigenous Nations should stand together in remembering these most sacred protocols that our Grandfathers and Grandmothers left for us. Our Sacred Ceremonies have been part of our spiritual 'way of life' since the time of creation. Our Sacred Ceremonies determine the cultural identity that our ancestors preserved for us.
I would like to encourage unity in promoting our sacred languages on behalf of our children. The world needs to recognize the importance of this in understanding who we are, as Indigenous Nations. Preserving our way of life is vital for preservation of our children's identity. This same unity would also strengthen our concerns of protecting our Sacred Sites around the world upon which many of us depend for strength.
I have been promoting the day of June 21st as "World Peace and Prayer Day" which is now being promoted in the United Nations as "Honoring Sacred Sites Day". We must stand together in recognition of our sacred responsibility to protect the sacred lands for which our First Nations Grandfathers and Grandmothers gave their lives. These responsibilities to our Sacred Unci Maka (mother earth), along with our 'way of life', should not be ignored or traded for money.
I would like to stress the importance of recognizing our existing burial sites as Sacred Sites to protect them from any further exploitation. Our deceased ancestors were buried with ceremonial ways of prayer including protection in their death. Ignorance and disrespect accept desecration.
I am addressing these very important issues with my Brother/and Sister First Nations, because of the present predicament that our own Lakota, Dakota, Nakota Nations ( a.k.a. Sioux Nation) are now facing. We ask for your understanding and support as our ceremonies are being mocked and violated in your back yards. We request your assistance in speaking on our behalf for protection of these sacred ceremonies. We hereby give you that right to do so as our Brother/Sister First Nation, along with the non-Indigenous Nation, that have voiced and would like to assist in this protection as well. Wopila (much thanks) for understanding this is not about racism!
This resolution was passed in the National Congress of American Indians. We are presently looking for support on an International level with the UN for protection, since our ceremonies are now being violated worldwide. We are facing a wild fire of imitation mockery from around the world: non-Indigenous people and our own First Nations People who have become lost and greedy who are practicing our sacred ceremonies with no previous teachings or knowing our language, neglecting important procedures, and charging for participation.
As all of you know, it takes a lifetime to learn and earn the privilege to conduct these rites. The desecration has proven to be very damaging in the perception of the way our children view their traditional legacy. The energy that was meant for them has become distorted and polluted. These are very important issues which all of our Indigenous Nations must take a unified stand so that our ceremonies can be strengthened to withstand the changes that are occurring upon our Unci Maka (Grandmother Earth). All of our Indigenous Nations understand that these ceremonies are connected to the well being of our Unci Maka and the survival of our future generations.
I have recently put out a statement on these very issues that not only involves protection of our Lakota, Dakota, Nakota Nations' ceremonies, but also other similar Plains Tribal ceremonies. I am standing with the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Nations with the same concerns in addressing these issues that were discussed in the recent series of meetings hosted by the different Plains Tribal Nations.
We must respect each others Cultural and traditional ways of life.
We realize that these concerns must reach more and more people in order to gain a Global understanding of the need to protect our 'ways of life' for Peace and Unity on behalf of, not only our Indigenous Nations, but on behalf of all Mitakuye Oyasin (all living beings upon Mother Earth).
In a Sacred Hoop of Life, where there is no ending and no beginning!