February 13: Teachings of our Elders - Jerome Dancing Bull on Interconnectedness
North Dakota Native American essential understanding number one is about sacred relatives. It states, "Native people practice a deep interconnectedness with the land, the resources, the water, all living things and all human beings. Land stewardship, respect for all two-legged, four-legged, winged, crawlers, and swimmers. And a strong belief in the sacredness of all human beings are key elements of our spirituality."
In today's episode of Dakota Datebook, we'll hear Jerome Dancing Bull, enrolled member of the Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara nation, share a bit about how all living things are holy.
Jerome Dancing Bull:
All animals are holy. All birds are holy. Yeah. I respect that too, because I know all birds are holy. I respect all the birds. I was brought up that way. My family was brought up that way, to respect the birds. And we do. We hunt; nowadays they hunt for the pleasure of it, but we went through like it was a survival. And I remember hunting, and if you killed a deer or whatever, you would get the back. The back is the best meat. That's who the shooter would get. Okay. That's all he got.
And then first guy that was over there would always get the hide and the front shoulders, and the rest would be split up with who you were with. Those were rules and we still followed them. But nowadays they don't follow them. I can understand that, because hunting's a lot different. It's more of a sport than it is a survival now. And then whatever you had left, you gave it to the people with no fire. People that are having a hard time, they don't have a fire.
If you'd like to learn more about the North Dakota Native American essential understandings, and to listen to more Indigenous elder interviews, visit teachingsofourelders.org.