Manataka American Indian Council
Seven Sacred Values of Life
American Indian Commandments
by Robert 'Woableza' LaBatte
Wichozani - To Live Your Life with Good Health
When the Great Creator came to the Mountain side to deliver his values to a sacred healer named Martin High Bear, he said, "For my beautiful Red people. You shall live your lives with Wichozani: Good Health." These words left a lasting impression with my Uncle. During his lifetime he would be given the sacred gift of healing for all people.
A Cheyenne grandmother present at his eulogy and funeral said, "Here lies a man who most people did not know he was color blind." (a gasp went up from the crowd) Then she said, not physically color blind, but that he held no prejudice towards any race. In regards to his healing ceremonies, he turned no one away: red, yellow, black or white. His way of healing was a sacred gift. We are all the Creator's children. So that is why I hold this man in high honor and respect and say that he was color blind."
We are given these robes or bodies to live a good human life. We always should strive to take good care of our bodies. We received them in a good condition so let us return them to Mother Earth that way. Teach your children to take care of their eyes, ears, arms, legs, heart and so on. Good health is relative to the mind body and spirit. One of Martin's stories is of a woman who kept going to many doctors to get cured , but she stayed ill. Martin performed a healing ceremony for her also and she still looked sick. When he asked his spiritual guides they said she had nothing wrong with her. Her only problem was that in the past she hated some people for some reason and could not forgive them.
So she held onto those bad feelings which was making her feel sick. Martin then told her she had to go back to all those people, shake their hands and make amends. Then and only then she would overcome her "illness." She followed the instructions came back in two weeks and was really happy and well, then gave Martin a big thank you. The Great Spirit said "you shall live your lives with Wichozani -Good Health." This a great gift to all mankind and a great American Indian commandment.
Wic'oncoqc - To live from Generation to Generation
There shall be generation after generation upon the Earth of all living things. When we make our special and highly cherished prayers, we should always ask that life continue on Mother Earth. Just as we say that life is like a circle, it has no beginning and no end. We must make our best efforts to ensure that those coming after us have a beautiful world in which they can experience life. Just like when we get a beautiful and shiny new Indian name, we can take care of it and when we give it back to the Creator it will be in the same shiny new unmarred condition. Our Grandparents
Inila - You shall lives your lives with Quietness
My uncle always said, you should learn the value of being quiet. His advice to the children was that if you are quiet in school you don't get in trouble. But if you are a loud mouth and speak out, you get in trouble.
Learning to listen is a skill that takes practice. When we pray, we always ask the Great Spirit to listen to us ...or to Anagoptan our prayers. In Nature there is much to learn from the Silence. There is a special healing quality that comes with quietness. When some cultures gather to hear the spirit of life they sit still and meditate. Many lessons of life are best learned when we listen, especially to our families and our wise Elders.
When we stand one a lonely hilltop or mountain and cry for a vision, we are in the stillness of spirit. It is then we can hear the voices in the wind, rain, of the trees and plants, of the stillness, and become One with our ancestors. This peacekeeping commandment helps families and communities keep spiritual balance.
Wi'yuskin - the People shall live with Happiness
The people shall live with happiness. Happiness is a very important element of life. When there was joy and happiness in our tribal villages, such as the celebration of the birth of a new baby, that day everyone was happy. And if there was a loss of life, everybody grieved. Happiness is so relative to laughter. The art of making people laugh is very good gift.
When two people fall in love a great happiness is felt. When children, families, and friends have good food to eat, they experience happiness.
The Redman was given a special body form by God. We have our robes... and other functions- nerves to feel, a heart, veins, and energy within a human body.
Okiciyapo - The People Shall Help One Another
The people are blessed when they can help one another. When you see someone is struggling in life, see how you may help them. The people could not move their tipi villages to follow the buffalo, if they did not help one another. In today's society many people just look out for themselves. In our schools, we encourage our young to constantly compete against one another. We need to follow our hearts and teach our children to help one another, encourage them to strive to have a good heart.
Wowasake - The People Shall Live With Power
Our instructions from the Great Spirit, are that we shall live our lives with power, that only he is able to give us. He is our Father and he created us in his likeness because he loves us. A man or woman can be powerless over life's situations, especially if they do not know how to pray to the Great Spirit. Power can be described as an spiritual energy that can help us to move forward on this Red Road of Life.
Ahokipa and Yuonihanyan - To Live With Respect and Honor
The people shall respect and honor all people and all of God's creation. In order for people to live together in peace, they have to respect one another. The old are respected for their wisdom, and the young are respected because they are the future of the people. Everything was put on Turtle Island and Mother Earth by the Great Spirit. All people and things are related to each other. In Lakota we say "Mitakuye Oyasin."
Everything is One the Holymen tell us. This reverence is expressed in daily prayers and by the way we live and act. The wonderful outcome of this respect is peace in families, among tribes, and other peoples. One of the greatest thing you can do for an Indian man, woman or child is to honor them. We have powerful honoring songs that are centuries old. They can bestow an honorable name. A good name a person may carry through out their life. We may honor a veteran with a song and have the people shake their hands and dance behind them to respect and honor them.
We can respect them living and the dead via proper protocols. "Although I may die, I continue living in everything that is ...each thing is everything forever," an old Indian once said. We are all One. Martin High Bear said this commandment was the most important of the Seven.
Excerpts taken from Martin High Bear, 1919-1995, Native American Authors Project, The Internet Public Library.
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