A- A A+

Generosity (Wacantognaka)

 

Generosity is something that any real Lakota person has. They learn to provide for their family members and relatives, as well as the needy ones in the community. Therefore a person is looked up to not only for their ability to provide food, clothing and shelter, but also for the ability to give generously and not count the cost. It is better to give a lot than to have a lot and keep it for yourself. To be called "stingy" is the worst insult. When an important occasion comes along, people honor one another with a "giveaway" or otuhan. During this giveaway, the giver gives much of what he has to other people. Sometimes everything is given away

Courage (Woohitika)

 

Taking care of others means that a person needs to have bravery or courage. It means having to face hard and difficult things for the sake of others. Therefore a person is taught by example and stories how to have great courage. They learn how to face danger without running away, and how to face even death with dignity. (In the old days, counting coup was a way of proving you had courage). Today, a person has to have great courage to face bad thoughts and desires inside himself. It takes courage to make changes instead of running away from problems. Any person who does something dangerous to help another is worthy of honor and respect.

Respect (Wowacintanka)

 

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 because they are the future of the people. This attitude also means a reverence for all living things in the world. Everything was put on this "island" earth by the Great Spirit. All people and things are relatives. Everything is one, the holy men tell us. This reverence is expressed in daily prayers and by the way we act. The outcome of this respect is peace in families, among tribes and other people. "Although I die, I continue to live in everything that is … each thing is everything forever, " an old Indian once said. We are all one.

Wisdom (Woksape)

 

The knowledge and wisdom of the old people is very important for the well-being of the people. They know how to give "good advice" to others because they have seen many things happen and change. This kind of wisdom helps people get along and understand the world around them. This wisdom helps us see that people are more valuable than things or money. The real way to judge a person is to see inside him. Wisdom is knowing that a person is nothing without the power of God. Being humble and caring for others is the wisest power of all. Wisdom is like the sun who rises at dawn – we see things the way they are then. This is why traditional people face the dawn each day to pray and ask God to make them wise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text and illustrations taken by permission:

From the book "Lakota Life", by Ron Zeilinger, pp. 23-25
Copyright 1986 St. Joseph's Indian School
Second Edition, Second Printing, 1994. All rights reserved.
Manufactured in the United States of America by Tipi Press Printing,
St Joseph's Indian School, Chamberlain, South Dakota 57326
ISBN 1-877976-07-5