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Waonsila (Care and Compassion)


Holt and Scott

04th of July, 2015


Pine Ridge '15

Travel Journal

Today we went to the pasture to follow a buffalo hunt. Upon arrival, the young bull buffalo (tatonka) had been shot and field dressed, ready for processing.

Before hunting the buffalo, the Lakota ask the buffalo to offer up a young male for the hunt. The grandmother (Unci) buffalo chooses the male, who is then separated from the heard and hunted.

Throughout a buffalo’s life, they eat not only grass but also medicinal herbs. Unlike cattle, they use their tongue and teeth to pull the grass from the stem, leaving the root intact. Because of their rich diet, the entire buffalo provides nourishment for their bodies and souls.

The Lakota do not hunt or gather anything without first humbly asking the spirits for permission. These practices are done with compassion out of respect for the Earth.

We can learn a lot about compassion from the Lakota. They could easily take what they want, when they want, but they don’t.  We can learn to look at the world in a less human-centered approach in order to become more thoughtful, generous, and compassionate to all other beings on earth. Mitakuye oyasin (all my relations).



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