Animal Teachers

"Eagle is the symbol of observation. The Sioux consider it to be the creature that best symbolizes immense wisdom. It learns from all that it sees. It is the eyes of the all-seeingWakan Tanka, the Great Spirit, the mysterious unknown entity that created all things. When the Sioux see an eagle flying, they are reminded of Wakan Tanka's observation of their actions — both what they do and what they don't do, both good deeds and bad.
Nature's Way

Plant Life and Healing

"Of the 250,000 known species of plants, only 5 percent have been analyzed for their medicinal properties. Who knows what cures are awaiting discovery in the remaining 95 percent? Potential new antibiotics like penicillin, cures like quinine, all-purpose medicines like aspirin, and powerful painkilling drugs like morphine could be found in as-yet-undiscovered plants — but not if those plants become extinct. The World Resources Institute reports that every time we lose a species — and we are losing a lot — we lose an option for the future; we lose a potential cure for AIDS or a virus-resistant crop.

"We are also losing the spiritual medicine taught in Nature's Way: to seek the truth and be truthful; to carry a positive attitude; to have and show an appreciation of Creator's gifts; to acknowledge and maintain a relationship to the spirits of the Spirit World; and to develop humor. We must find and preserve those healings tenents. Bear medicine teaches us to find, take, and preserve the medicine that Earth provides — whether that be herbs and modern-day drugs or Nature's wisdom. We may have to dig with "claws" to find spiritual medicine that has been neglected in our way of life or been buried in history, but find it we must — and then we must preserve it to restore harmony with Mother Earth."
Nature's Way

Honesty in Nature

"Falsehood and deceit inevitably violate the harmony of Nature's Way, inspiring in those humans who recognize the violation a deep passion for real truth and justice.

"Nature herself is supremely honest, and that should be indication enough of what prevails in the Beyond. It is honest because the four-legged, winged, and finned ones fulfill their true natures in innocence, as Creator designed them. For instance, if an animal is going to attack, it is honest about that intent, showing all the appropriate signs and signals. It does not pretend to befriend its foes, then attack."
Nature's Way

One Among Many

" 'One among many' is a lesson not only for human responsibility toward others but for our responsibility to Nature as well. It teaches us not to deface, detract from, disrespect, or dishonor one another, the community — or Nature — for self-gain or self-gratification. No one is superior to another or to Nature."
Nature's Way

A Benevolent Creator

"We northern Indians say that the Creator is benevolent. We have far less fear of our Creator, it seems, than do people of other faiths. When I observe the simple towering rose bush that grows in my front yard, this flowering plant speaks to me: it tells me that Creator appreciates the kind, delightful beauty that I see presented to me on long summer days. The world is created with radiant pleasing flowers. And guess who designed them?

"Creator also causes my blood to clot when I cut myself. And when badly injured, I faint, as most people do, becoming temporarily removed from excruciating pain. How kind Creator must be to arrange our bodies to be able to comfort us in this way."
Nature's Way

Holy Mother Earth

"Our survival is dependent on the realization that Mother Earth is a truly holy being, that all things in this world are holy and must not be violated, and that we must share and be generous with one another. You may call this thought by whatever fancy words you wish — psychology, theology, sociology, or philosophy — but you must think of Mother Earth as a living being. Think of your fellow men and women as holy people who were put here by the Great Spirit. Think of being related to all things! With this philosophy in mind as we go on with our environmental ecology efforts, our search for spirituality, and our quest for peace, we will be far more successful when we truly understand the Indians' respect for Mother Earth."
Mother Earth Spirituality

Working Together

"A question that will be asked is why I am willing to teach non-Indians about Native American spirituality. . . . We do not have any choice. It is one world that we live in. If the Native Americans keep all their spirituality within their own community, the old wisdom that has performed so well will not be allowed to work its environmental medicine on the world where it is desperately needed.

"Global warming, acid rain, overpopulation, and deforestation are real. It is a mess, and all of us two-leggeds will have to work together to get ourselves out of it. A spiritual fire that promotes a communal commitment to a worldwide environmental undertaking is needed. Native or primal ways will fuel that fire and give it a great power. I call on all experienced Native American traditionalists to consider coming forward and sharing their knowledge. Come forth and teach how Mother Earth can be revered, respected, and protected."
Mother Earth Spirituality

Never Take More Than You Need

"This morning at breakfast we took from Mother Earth to live, as we have done every day of our lives. But did we thank her for giving us the means to live? The old Indian did. When he drove his horse in close to a buffalo running at full speed across the prairie, he drew his bowstring back and said as he did so, 'Forgive me, brother, but my people must live.' After he butchered the buffalo, he took the skull and faced it toward the setting sun as a thanksgiving and an acknowledgment that all things come from Mother Earth. He brought the meat back to camp and gave it first to the old, the widowed, and the weak. For thousands of years great herds thrived across the continent because the Indian never took more than he needed. Today, the buffalo is gone."
Mother Earth Spirituality

The Rainbow People

"The spirits of Black Elk and John Neihardt must be quite pleased with the Rainbow Tribe people who are taking a serious look at Native American spirituality. Some call it Mother Earth spirituality or simply the Natural Way. Whatever it's called, the Rainbows are not only looking and appreciating but are actually doing and participating within the values and beneficial aspects of the past tribal ways. They too have discovered the visible six powers of the universe and are now relating these daily entities in balance, acknowledgement, and kinship. They are searching to bring forth that ancient tribal gene link that cultivates an innate spiritual consciousness, a natural, harmonically flowing guidance that led native peoples to personal and collective earth-enjoyment for thousands of years. These enlightened ones are the Rainbow Tribe."
Rainbow Tribe