I came across a video about the Tragedy of Wounded Knee and the Ghost Dance. Just watching this video makes me upset. This massacre and others like it should have never have occurred. There is something very violent and dark in the American culture, that I think Americans have a difficult time seeing in themselves.
There seems to be a willingness to permit violence against others, that I think people from other cultures find very strange. I was talking to a couple of people who were newer immigrants to our country the other day. They were describing their shock at the gun violence within 5 minutes of the home and how completely paralyzed they were after it occurred.
They were not sure that American is a safe place to raise their family, start their business or make a new start. These comments just reminded me how I was just able to wash away violence and had become numb to its possibilities. This just is not right.
Hatred and Villainy
As an Orthodox Priest I don’t deal much with outward violence of people on people but I am continually dealing with the struggle of the human heart to overcome its dark tendencies. I am continually hear and see how easy it is for the human heart to hate and vilify other people. Really, this is a struggle common to us all, in the deep parts of our souls.
Sometimes people will overtly and externally reveal this thinking in their racism or political rhetoric, but more often is a hidden struggle within a their own thoughts and hearts… And it is difficult to see, to change and bring to the light of Christ (more on this in the future). The hatred of other people, the vilification of others is not something natural to our state. We were not created to be like this and when we are in only increases the dominion of darkness in our souls.
National Day of Repentance
Unfortunately, American history is full of moments hatred was used to fuel events like the massacre at wounded knee* It is full of the pursuit of individual happiness and security at the expense of others. Honestly the anniversary of wounded knee and other days like it should be national days of Repentance. (December 29th) **May the Lord will have mercy on us all.**
the Beauty of American Indian Spirituality
When I also read about American Indian spirituality, I am continually amazed at how ascetic and profound it can be. It has many similarities to Orthodoxy, it is deeply profound. St. Theophan the Recluse writes about the high level of Native American Relgious thought and experience:
St. Theophan the Recluse The American Indians, for example, call God the Universal Spirit – invisible, all-embracing. This is a very lofty notion, and in and of itself, it cannot be carried further than this.
With this quote in mind, I don’t know much about the life of Luther Standing Bear nor how I came across his words of wisdom, but here they are to appreciate.
I found these quotes on my computer among my old files. They probably came from this site, but I am not certain how I obtained them, but I will reference this site as the source: ancestor wisdom