Living Lakota/Dakota Part 3 – Respect

SAGE Development

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As we continue our series on our Lakota/Dakota virtues, we will now look at a virtue that serves as the cornerstone of harmonious living: Waóhola, or Respect. This ancient concept embodies reverence for the self, family, community, and all life, reflecting a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of all beings.

This timeless virtue transcends mere politeness or decorum. It’s a virtue deeply woven into the fabric of our culture, guiding their interactions, relationships, and connection to the world around us.

The Essence of Respect

Respect is not merely a surface-level gesture; it’s a profound acknowledgment of the sacredness of all life. It’s about recognizing the inherent worth and dignity of every individual, every creature, and every aspect of the natural world. It’s a recognition that we are all interconnected, part of a larger web of life where every action has consequences.

Respect for Nature

Central to the Lakota/Dakota way of life is the deep reverence and respect for the natural world, embodied in the concept of respect for nature. For us Lakota/Dakota, the land, the waters, the plants, and the animals are not mere resources to be exploited but sacred relatives to be honored and cherished.

Our connection to the land runs deep, rooted in centuries of living in harmony with nature. We understand that we are not separate from the earth but intricately connected to it, dependent on its bounty for our survival and well-being. The land provides us with food, shelter, and sustenance, and in return, we offer our gratitude and respect.

As stewards of the land, we recognize our responsibility to care for and protect it for future generations. We must  practice sustainable practices as we understand that our actions today impact the land’s ability to sustain life in the future, and we strive to leave a legacy of stewardship and respect.

Practical Ways to Show Respect to Each Other

Respect Diversity: Honor and respect the diversity of cultures, beliefs, and backgrounds through recognition of diversity. Embrace different perspectives and celebrate the richness of diversity within our community.

Respect Boundaries: Respect personal boundaries and consent and seek permission before entering someone’s personal space or sharing personal information. Recognize and honor individual boundaries and preferences.

Listen with Respect: When engaging with others, practice respectful listening. Give your full attention, listen without interruption, and honor the speaker’s words. Acknowledge their perspective, even if it differs from your own, and show empathy for their experiences.

Show Empathy: Practice compassionate understanding, by empathizing with others’ feelings and experiences. Put yourself in their shoes, listen with an open heart, and offer support and understanding without judgment.

Express Gratitude: Show appreciation and gratitude for the kindness and contributions of others through expressions of gratitude. Offer thanks and acknowledgement for their efforts and positive impact on your life or the community.

Give Space and Privacy: Respect others’ need for privacy and personal space. Avoid prying into personal matters or intruding on their space without permission, allowing individuals to share information at their own pace and comfort level.

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