"Inyan [the Creator] drained its blood to make each creation and kept getting weaker and weaker as this went on . . . When creation was complete, Inyan was dry and brittle and broke apart and scattered over the world . . . Then the phrase Mitakuye Oyas'in came into being . . . Mitakuye Oyas'in means 'all my relatives' or 'we are all related.' This is the most fundamental belief in our Lakota philosophy, that we are all related to everything on earth and in the universe. We were all formed from the blood of Inyan: humans, animals, trees, water, air, stones.
Our word for stone is 'Inyan.' A stone tells me about Inyan, and that spirit of Inyan is in that stone. That spirit or energy in that stone is Inyan. That's my belief. In English when we talk about a rock, pebble, or stone, it describes a lifeless object, so that's what it becomes. It becomes just an object. But to us it's a living relative . . . Tunkan Oyate - that's the Stone people
. . . We address each stone as "Tunkasila [Grandfather] . . . I address them as Tunkasila, also because they represent the beginning of time until today. And they are my relatives, and they are dear to me."
Albert White Hat, Sr.,
Lakota chief and elder
Photos: The reddish Spearfish Formation and Bear Lodge, Devil's Tower National Monument, WY; Ruddy layers at Badlands, SD; Albert White Hat.
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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.