Vince Two Eagles: Being related is only one part of the picture

The following column by Vince Two Eagles appears in the Lakota Country Times. For more news and opinion, subscribe to the Lakota Country Times today. All content © Lakota Country Times.

Vine Deloria, Jr., 1933-2005. Photo from So May We Be

The Rez of the Story
By Vince Two Eagles

Hau Mitakuepi,

"Without debate .. no republic can survive."

John F. Kennedy once spoke these profound words and he added: "without criticism no administration and no country can succeed." I agree with his basic premise but I would add, as long as the criticism offered is constructive and responsible. This requires some truth telling.

Brad Blanton, PhD. in his book entitled, Radical Honesty: How to Transform Your Life by Telling the Truth, argues that "We all lie like hell. It wears us out. It is the major source of all human stress. Lying kills people."

Blanton writes:
"The kind of lying that is most deadly is withholding, or keeping back information from someone we think would be affected by it. Psychological illness of the severest kind is the result of this kind of lying. Psychological healing is possible only with the freedom that comes from not hiding anymore. Keeping secrets and hiding from other people is a trap. Adolescents spend most of their time playing this hide-and-seek game. The better you are at getting by with playing hide-and-seek during adolescents, the harder it is to grow up. "Important" secrets and all the plotting and cogitation [the act of thinking deeply about something] that go with them are all bullshit."

"The mind is a jail built out of bullshit. Withholding from other people, not telling them about what we feel or think, keeps us locked in the jail. The longer we remain in that jail, the quicker we decline. We either escape or we go dead. The way out is to get good at telling the truth."

Of course there are many versions of the "truth" and our individual and collective challenge is to sort out the truth from the bullshit. This sorting out is a process that can be likened to a journey and therefore never stops until our journey comes to its inevitable end. Is there, in fact, one truth fits all? When it comes to religion this is definitely the case is it not?

Vince Two Eagles

From his book, God Is Red: A Native View of Religion, the late Vine Deloria tells us: "To have differences, even among the species of life, does not require then that forces be created to gain a sense of unity or homogeneity [of the same kind]. To exist in a creation means that living is more than tolerance for other life forms, it is recognition that in difference there is the strength of creation and that this strength is a deliberate desire of the creator."

Who or what culture can claim the know the ultimate "desire" of the creator (if in fact there is a creator). This does not mean that the diverse perspectives and perceptions of the many cultures represented around the planet necessarily put one perspective or perception above the other in the truth category.

Deloria continues: "Tribal religions find a great affinity among species of living creatures, and it is at this point that the brotherhood of life is a strong part of the Indian way. The Hopi, for example, revere not only the lands on which they live but the animals with which they have a particular relationship....Behind the apparent kinship between animals, reptiles, birds, and human beings in the Indian way stands a great conception shared by a great majority of the tribes. Other living things are not regarded as insensitive species. Rather they are 'peoples' in the same manner as the various tribes of men are peoples....In the same manner the Plains Indians considered the buffalo as a distinct people, the Northwest Coast Indians regarded the salmon as a people. Equality is thus not simply a human attribute but is a recognition of the creatureness of all creation."

Understanding the ultimate relationship of all things give sustainability the oxygen it needs to be applied to the statement "we are all related" or "all my relations." But being related is only a part of the "understanding."

Sitomani ob washteya ipi ichiye means to be in good relationship with all things. Thus, in the perspective of many traditional thinking Indian people, having and being in a good relationship with other living things not only more deeply defines "equality" as opposed to having dominion over other living things, but also provides a prescription for a healthier (sustainable) way of living.

And now you know the rez of the story.

Doksha (later). . .

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