Wakan Tonka

Great Spirit, help me never to judge another
until I have walked in his moccasins.
-Sioux Indian Prayer

Wakan Tonka. That is "Heavenly Father" in Sioux language as told to me by Marlon Red Elk. He is a tall, 50-ish Sioux Indian I met at Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn , Washington when my wife and daughter and friends went to see a show. A kind and friendly guy who saw me and asked: How are you doing, young man? I answered, I am doing fine. I am not so young anymore, but thank you. He replied, me either, but I am young at heart.

I found out he dances in full Sioux Indian gear and showed me a photo of his brother in dance costume complete with face paint. I asked him what he wished were different in his Montana reservation. He wished that the community elders just accept the fact that the white men are here to stay. The elders still have a lot of anger in them. But he, Marlon, struck me as a happy, content person who seeks peace. Respectful of the land, he is grateful for what the earth provides.

Every morning, when he wakes up, he faces eastward, and give thanks to the rising sun. He asks rhetorically, How hard is that?

How about you? Can you remember to stay in bed for a few seconds after waking up and be aware of a few breaths then say thanks for a new beginning, a new day, a new life, before your toes touch the floor?

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise.
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
-Psalm 100


Rebecca Johnson said...

I love the question, "How hard is that?" When I think about it, how hard, really, are most of the spiritual disciplines that are important? Turning toward the rising sun and giving thanks takes a minute and likely sets an intention of gratitude for the rest of the day. May I be deeply in touch with gratitude this day.

Beth Knight said...

I love this name "Wakan Tonka". Unique names for God and the Trinity are key to my prayers these days. Thank you for this sharing and using our native brothers and sisters in such a beautiful blog sharing. - Beth Knight, Anchorage, AK and friend of Rebecca Johnson. Peace ---

Roy said...

Thank you, Beth and Rebecca. When given a name, the Nameless becomes more accessible. I am sure Mystery wouldn't mind that.