Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mitakuye Oyasin, All my Relations, We are all Related

Mitakuye Oyasin is a Lakota saying that translates closely to All my relations or We are all related. We are all connected in some kind of way. In nature all things are connected. Connectedness indicates balance and harmony. All things are connected and all things need the other thing to survive.

This ideal is expressed in a different way, like; you are your brother’s keeper. If we are all connected then your health and wellness is connected with my own health. Your good life ensures my own. On the other hand, if something bad comes your way, that badness will surely find me. I should not wish ill on others as this illness will relocate inside of me – because we are one.

My wife, Nikki, and I have birthdays in October. This year we were fortunate enough to visit San Francisco for a few days between our birthday dates. We attended to the typical tourist activities such as ride a trolley, visit the sea lions at the fishermen’s wharf, walk around China Town and had a strong coffee in the Height-Ashbury district.

We also had the chance to visit the Muir Woods. We wanted to see some large California trees and this park was only about 30 minutes from our hotel. While we were amazed at many things in that relatively small forest, what I really liked is that the trees grew in “families.” Many stood in a circle, standing tall. While they might seem as different, separate living beings, underneath, they are connected. They are connected by their roots.


Their roots connect all of them together. A disease comes to one, they are all doomed. The tree families survive together, they also wither as one. When one family is in danger, the entire forest is jeopardized.

All Related

All of these thoughts were swirling around in my head as we walked through the forest. The applicability of these ideals was made real after an email I received just before leaving for San Fran.  
In 1994 I gave a cheek swab to the National Marrow Donor Program. Almost 20 years later, they contacted me. They said I was a possible match for someone who needed a marrow donation as the result of having cancer.

I called the number and spoke to a lady who said that a two year old boy had a certain cancer, she said the specific cancer type, but I was so broken hearted that the cancer’s name went right past my ear.

When I thought about that two year old boy, all I could picture was my own sons. I thought about his parents and family, and how terrified they must be. I would be very sick and an emotional wreck if my two year old had cancer – heck I’m sick just hearing about this child.

I go for further tests 11/5/12 to see if I’m the best match for this child. I pray that there is a match for this sick child. I pray that I am the best match. I pray that we are all related.

Mitakuye Oyasin, Become a donor, Peace, DAP

Monday, October 8, 2012

Indigenous People's Day

Today, Monday, October 8, 2012 is Indigenous People's Day. It is celebrated as columbus day, by many, but to us, we celebrate differently. Unfortunately it remains a federal holiday under the wrong title. This should be a day to recognize Indigenous Peoples. There are many folks who would celebrate it as a day for the discovery of a "new world" by a lost and confused traveler. For Indigenous folks, it is a day to celebrate our survival and all of our own discoveries.

I can understand the urge by Indigenous People to use this day to hate its original intent. However, hate only hurts the hater. So by hating someone who hurt us many years ago, the hurt is re-experienced and the consequences are just as relevant today.

It is time to celebrate this day only in the form of Love. Just as hate has its own outcomes on the hater, Love has its outcomes as well. Love only rewards, never punishes. Expressing Love on this day is the best and most beneficial for our People. Living a long, healthy, happy, and loving life is the best way to celebrate. It will ensure that there will be many more years of celebration and many more healthy Indigenous folks to be around to celebrate.

Enjoy this day and spread Love. There have been too many years of hate and the negative effects it produces.

Peace, DAP