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Indian Spirit: Revised and Enlarged
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I am blind and do not see the things of this world; but when the Light comes from Above, it enlightens my heart and I can see, for the Eye of my heart sees everything. The heart is a sanctuary at the center of which there is a little space, wherein the Great Spirit dwells, and this is the Eye. This is the Eye of the Great Spirit by which He sees all things and through which we see Him. If the heart is not pure, the Great Spirit cannot be seen, and if you should die in this ignorance, your soul cannot return immediately to the Great Spirit, but it must be purifi ed by wandering about in the world. In order to know the center of the heart where the Great Spirit dwells you must be pure and good, and live in the manner that the Great Spirit has taught us. The man who is thus pure contains the Universe in the pocket of his heart.
The truly brave man, we contend, yields neither to fear nor anger, desire nor agony; he is at all times master of himself.
It is commonly supposed that there is no systematic education of their children among the aborigines of this country. Nothing could be farther from the truth. All the customs of this primitive people were held to be divinely instituted, and those in connection with the training of children were scrupulously adhered to and transmitted from one generation to another.. Our manners and morals were not neglected. I was made to respect the adults and especially the aged. I was not allowed to join in their discussions, nor even to speak in their presence, unless requested to do so. Indian etiquette was very strict, and among the requirements was that of avoiding the direct address. A term of relationship or some title of courtesy was commonly used instead of the personal name by those who wished to show respect. We were taught generosity to the poor and reverence for the "Great Mystery." Religion was the basis of all Indian training.
Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa)
Wakan Tanka, pity me. In the name of the nation, I offer You this pipe. Wherever the Sun, Moon, Earth, and Four Winds are, there You are always. Father, save these people, I beg You. We wish to live! Guard us against all misfortunes and calamities. Take pity.
I am bothered what to believe. Some years ago a good man, as I think, came to us. He talked me out of all my old faith; and after a while, thinking that he must know more of these matters than an ignorant Indian, I joined his church, and became a Methodist. After a while he went away; another man came and talked, and I became a Baptist; then another came and talked, and I became a Presbyterian. Now another one has come, and wants me to be an Episcopalian. All these people tell different stories, and each wants me to believe that his special way is the only way to be good and save my soul. I have about made up my mind that either they all lie, or that they don't know any more about it than I did at fi rst. I have always believed in the Great Spirit, and worshiped him in my own way. These people don't seem to want to change my belief in the Great Spirit, but to change my way of talking to him. White men have education and books, and ought to know exactly what to do, but hardly any two of them agree on what should be done.
The Sun Dance is the greatest ceremony that the Oglalas do. It is a sacred ceremony in which all the people have a part.. It must be conducted by a shaman who knows all the customs of the people. He must know all the secret things of the shamans.. The Sun Dance must be done in a dance lodge made for that purpose. This lodge must not be used for any other purpose. . The Sun Dance must be done around a sacred pole. This pole must be at the center of the dance lodge.. One who wishes to dance the Sun Dance should make this known some time before the time for doing the dance.. One who wishes to dance the Sun Dance must give feasts and many presents. He must give away all that he possesses. His people must give feasts and presents. He must choose someone to instruct him for the dance. The one he chooses becomes his grandfather. He must think and act just as his grandfather tells him. He must submit to his grandfather in everything until he dances. He must obey the rules for one who is about to dance this dance.. The ceremony of the Sun Dance is in four parts. One part for the dancer and the people to prepare for the dance; one part to gather at the place for the dance; one part for the camp and the ceremonies before the dance; the last part for the Sun Dance.
American Horse, Little Wound, and Lone Star
The Sun Dance is so sacred to us that we do not talk of it often.. The cutting of the bodies in fulfillment of a Sun Dance vow is different from the cutting of the flesh when people are in sorrow. A man's body is his own, and when he gives his body or his flesh he is giving the only thing which really belongs to him.
Chased by Bears
Oh! that I could make that of my Red people, and of my country, as great as the conceptions of my mind, when I think of the Spirit that rules the universe.
Tecumseh (Shooting Star)