Updated: Jul 26
Mitakuye oyasin: "We all are connected." -Interconnectedness
Message from Basil Braveheart: Hau Mitakuyepi, my relatives. Our Lakota tradition goes to the word Mitakuye Oyasin. It means everything is connected in the universe. We’re related to the flowers, and to the buffalo, and to the water, and to the breath and the spirit and light. We’re all one. And this to me, is morphing or else sculpturing in the language of the Deaf–that we are connected and related. So I am honored to share the sacred ways, in a Lakota way, bringing that to your heart and your mind and your spirit: that we are all connected. Wopila. Thank you.
[click play to see the ASL version of the message. Video description is listed below this article]
Summer’s reflection from conversing with Basil Braveheart, Lakota Elder and Spiritual Leader:
Hi everyone. I’m sitting here on a tree stump, one of many here on the stolen land of the Oglala Lakota people, the Dakota people, the Sioux, Cheyenne, and different indigenous people who have lived here and fought to protect this land.
I just spent time this weekend with a respected Lakota elder named Basil Braveheart. Our time together was deep , whether we were conversing, praying, or spending time together in silence. I had the honor of reading his unpublished book manuscript, and thanked him for giving me access to such sacred knowledge. In it, he shared visions passed down from his grandparents and from other spiritual predecessors. His book repeatedly emphasized the message that we are all connected.
We all come from the womb of Mother Earth. We’ve gone through and continue to go through pain, war, violence, anger, depression and sadness, which are all part of life, part of divine creation, which is a union between light and shadow. Basil mentions that our estrangement from the earth and our fixation with technology and the materialistic, corporate world, leads to more pain. For healing to happen, we have to go back to our roots. We have to feed our spirits and our souls. That is how we will heal.
Basil recounts a message from his grandmother. Using the metaphor of a tree, she says that what you see is supported by what you don't see. The visible part of a tree is supported by the invisible, its roots. We continuously need to remind ourselves to maintain our spiritual roots. That’s just one of many pieces of wisdom shared in Basil’s book. I felt with his permission, it was important to share this message with all of you.
For healing to happen, we need to be active in our inner work, in our community work, and in our acknowledgement of the earth. Our actions that have led to destruction, theft, and exploitation must be transformed into forgiveness and healing. I wanted to share that with you all.
This is not the first or last message I will share with you all about what indigenous communities have been trying to tell and show us about how we can become more connected to the Earth and cultivate forgiveness in our hearts. I have made it my mission to stay connected and build a stronger spiritual way of life, because that is what will create change.
Stay rooted and stay tuned!
[id: A dandelion in a grassy field at sunset- with text that reads: A spiritual way of life is what will create change.]
[Video Description: video opens with a close-up of a thistle flower, fading into the Giving Cypress logo and the words “Message from Basil Braveheart, Lakota Elder & Spiritual Teacher.” After a shot of a meadow, it cuts to Summer and Basil, a Lakota elder with long grey hair and suspenders, sitting next to one another. Basil speaks English, peppered with Lakota and Summer translates his words into ASL. Basil copies Summer’s sign for “connected.” Later, Summer sits on a tree stump in a field, surrounded by other tree stumps and backed by barbed wire and a blue sky scattered with clouds. Summer signs slowly and reverently. The video ends with another shot of the meadow overlayed with the Giving Cypress logo.]