"In our [Lakota] philosophy, individuality is very important. Individual dreams and visions are very important, and they have a purpose. They always say that everybody is different. Everyone is unique and has a purpose. It's interesting today when I talk to the young people who are coming back to our traditions. Sometimes I worry because they are all coming back from a very structured view of religion, the religion of the church, and so they bring that structure and form back to our ways. They take Indian spirituality and make it into Indian religion, with all the usual religious laws. They will tell you that if you don't do things a certain way or if you do something wrong, then something bad will happen to you. I think this comes from the idea of committing a sin. This is something we learned from the church. It's not part of our traditional philosophy . . . A lot of the time, what the church calls sin is simply a mistake. It's not evil and wasn't meant to be. To the Lakota a mistake is simply a mistake, and it's one of the ways we learn. We learn from our mistakes and go on."
Albert White Hat, Sr.
Photos: Badlands National Park, SD, May 20-21, 2016
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Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.