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Chief Luther Standing: The character of the Indian's emotion

Chief Luther Standing: The character of the Indian's emotion
 
Photo: Eagle Man, Yanktonai, 1872.
 

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'The character of the Indian's emotion left little room in his heart for antagonism toward his fellow creatures .... For the Lakota (one of the three branches of the Sioux Nation), mountains, lakes, rivers, springs, valleys, and the woods were all in finished beauty. Winds, rain, snow, sunshine, day, night, and change of seasons were endlessly fascinating. Birds, insects, and animals filled the world with knowledge that defied the comprehension of man.

The Lakota was a true naturalist - a lover of Nature. He loved the earth and all things of the earth, and the attachment grew with age. The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power.

It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth.

Their tipis were built upon the earth and their alters were made of earth. The birds that flew in the air came to rest upon the earth, and it was the final abiding place of all things that lived and grew. The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing, and healing.

This is why the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its live giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly; he can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him.'

(Chief Luther Standing Bear Oglala Sioux)

 

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Recommended Reading:

'Land of the Spotted Eagle'
By Luther Standing Bear (Author), Joseph Marshall (Introduction)

Purchase Book:

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk


Description:

When Standing Bear returned to the Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation after sixteen years' absence, his dismay at the condition of his people may well have served as a catalyst for the writing of this book, first published in 1933. In addition to describing the customs, manners, and traditions of the Teton Sioux, Standing Bear also offered general comments about the importance of Native cultures and values and the status of Indian peoples in American society. With the assistance of Melvin R. Gilmore, curator of ethnology at the University of Michigan, and Warcaziwin, Standing Bear’s niece and secretary, Standing Bear sought to tell the white man “just how” they “lived as Lakotans.”
Land of the Spotted Eagle is generously interspersed with personal reminiscences and anecdotes, including chapters on child rearing, social and political organization, family, religion, and manhood. Standing Bear's views on Indian affairs and his suggestions for the improvement of white-Indian relations are presented in the two closing chapters.
 

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