(pronounced: Mit-uk-oo-yay Ouy-ar-see)
Our relatedness and what is also understood as 'The Ancestors' includes all the beings we share this universe with. As that transcendent force or being that we usually call God, Great Spirit or whatever is the Father of all of us and the Earth, giver of manifestation is our Mother. And we are related, through the blood and breath of our 'Original Parents', to the: Stone People and the four elements or winds etc.; to the Finned and creatures of the sea; the Standing Ones and all the plant kingdom; the Creeping Crawlies and all those that live within Our Mother; the Winged Ones and all those of the sky; the Four Leggeds, all the other Two Legged (Human) races, and all the way up to the Star Nations, or all that live around, throughout, and within; and probably also beyond, the entire universe.
This term or prayer is equivalent to the term Namaste' and the Mayan term InLakesh, when used it is like saying "I do this for the sake of All Our Relations".
From the Glossary in 'Black Elk - The Sacred Ways of a Lakota' by Wallace Black Elk and William S. Lyon:
mitakuye oyasin. Lakota translated as 'all my relations.' This phrase is frequently uttered during ritual and is to remind people of their personal relatedness to everything that exists. It is spoken upon entering the stone-people-lodge (Sweat Lodge Ed.); at the end of a personal prayer; when it is time to open the stone-people-lodge door; just after one has smoked the Chanunpa; and so forth.
Chanunpa. Lakota for the Sacred Pipe, often incorrectly referred to as the "peace pipe."
Cha means "wood" or "tree" and nunpa means "two".
Sacred Pipe. A ritual instrument commonly used by Native Americans. It usually consists of an elbow-shaped stone bowl connected to a wooden stem. It is used mainly for consecrating actions and communicating with the spirits. Black Elk considers it to be the most holy implement in the world. See Chanunpa.
catlinite. A soft stone mineral deposited at Pipestone, Minnesota, that is used by many Native Americans for carving the red stone bowls of their Sacred Pipes. (The first white man to discover the stone quarry was named Catlin. Ed.)
fish-people. In Black Elk's classification, all the creatures that live in the water.
creeping-crawlers. In Black Elk's classification, all the creatures that live close to the ground in holes, such as snakes, lizards, ants, spiders, etc.
Grandfather. The male aspect of the Creator personified by wisdom, the sky, light, etc. Tunkashila.
Tunkashila. Lakota referring to the Grandfather or male aspect of the Creator. Best translated in English as God. (I believe its literal meaning is Grandfather. Ed.). (Pronounced: Toon-kash-she-la.)
Grandmother. The female aspect of the Creator personified by knowledge, the Earth, birth, etc.
Chief Seattle's Letter of 1852
"The president in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the sky? The land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?
"Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect. All are holy in the memory and experience of my people.
"We know the sap which courses through trees as we know the blood that courses through our veins. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadow, the body heat of the pony, and man, all belong to the same family.
"The shinning water that moves in the streams and the rivers is not just water, but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell you our land, you must remember that it is sacred. Each ghostly reflection in the clear waters of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The water's murmur is the voice of my father's father.
"The rivers are our brothers. They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes and feed our children. So you must give the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.
"If we sell you our land, remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh. So if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow flowers.
"Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother. What befalls the earth befalls the sons of earth.
"This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
"One thing we know: our God is also your God. The earth is precious to him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on it creator.
"Your destiny is a mystery to us. What will happen when the buffalo are all slaughtered? The wild horses tamed? What will happen when the secret corners of the forest are heavy with the sent of many men and the view of the ripe hills is blotted by talking wires? Where will the thicket be? Gone! Where will the eagle be? Gone! And what is it to say good-bye to the swift pony and the hunt? The end of living and the beginning of survival.
"When the last Red Man has vanished with his wilderness and his memory is only the shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, will these shores and forests still be here? Will there be any of the spirit of my people left?
"We love this earth as a newborn loves its mother's heartbeat. So, if we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it. Care for it as we have cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land, as it is when you receive it. Preserve the land for all children and love it, as God loves us all.
"As we are part of the land, you too are part of the land. This earth is precious to us. It is also precious to you. One thing we know: there is only one God. No man, be he Red Man or White Man, can be apart. We are brother after all."
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