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This essay continues Chris Buck’s interview with Lakota world citizen educator Kevin Locke, who explains why the Baha’i concept of progressive revelation applies equally to indigenous religious traditions.

[Chris] In the news today, Kevin, I read a BBC story: “Sprawling Mayan network discovered under Guatemala jungle” (February 2, 2018), in which it is now thought that millions more indigenous peoples had lived and flourished in pre-conquest Guatemala than previously estimated.

The Lakota were, and are, among “the cities of all nations” to whom God “hath sent His Messengers,” as Baha’u’llah wrote. Baha’is understand that the Creator sends every civilization a prophet, a guide to goodness and spiritual growth.

White Buffalo Calf Woman Prophecy

The White Buffalo Calf Woman

Since Lakota sacred tradition identifies White Buffalo Calf Woman as first and foremost among these messengers of God sent to the Lakota people, then we can fairly deduce that White Buffalo Calf Woman was a prophet of God. Who else could she be? So, let me ask you this: Would a wider recognition of White Buffalo Calf Woman as a messenger of God be an important, even necessary, part of the Baha’i and Lakota spirit and social dynamic?

[Kevin] Yes. Baha’u’llah explains what these messengers were empowered to do. So, in this sense, White Buffalo Calf Woman was “commissioned to announce unto men tidings of the Paradise of His good pleasure, and to draw them nigh unto the Haven of abiding security, the Seat of eternal holiness and transcendent glory,” as Baha’u’llah wrote in his tablet about progressive revelation and the relatedness of all the messengers of God. This is what White Buffalo Calf Woman was sent to do. This is what she did.

If the Lakota people are to be seen as equals, as they should be, then reciprocal respect for their spiritual traditions is very important. There is no harm in doing so. Great good can come of this mutual respect and recognition, if everyone recognizes and respects these Lakota sacred traditions.

[Chris] Is respect for Lakota sacred traditions by Baha’is and everyone else consistent with these passages from the Baha’i writings?

… consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship, to proclaim that which the Speaker on Sinai hath set forth and to observe fairness in all matters. They that are endued with sincerity and faithfulness should associate with all the peoples and kindreds of the earth with joy and radiance, inasmuch as consorting with people hath promoted and will continue to promote unity and concord, which in turn are conducive to the maintenance of order in the world and to the regeneration of nations. Blessed are such as hold fast to the cord of kindliness and tender mercy and are free from animosity and hatred. – Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, pp. 35-36.

It is permitted that the peoples and kindreds of the world associate with one another with joy and radiance. O people! Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship. Thus hath the day-star of His sanction and authority shone forth above the horizon of the decree of God, the Lord of the worlds. – Ibid., p. 22.

[Kevin] Absolutely. It’s good that you’ve pointed this out. All the more reason for Baha’is, and all people for that matter, to recognize White Buffalo Calf Woman as a messenger of God—just as it’s important for the Lakota people to learn about Baha’u’llah! If both Baha’u’llah and White Buffalo Calf Woman were here today, they would respect one another, wouldn’t they? If so, why can’t we do likewise?

[Chris] If so, is recognition of the best of Lakota spirituality a good way to promote the unity of religions?

[Kevin] Yes, of course. Let me quote Jacqueline Left Hand Bull, who my late mother, Patricia Locke, interviewed in 1989:

Patricia Locke: How do you as a Lakota woman reconcile your culture and the Baha’i Faith?

Left Hand Bull: First of all our name, “Lakota,” means “peace, amity, harmony, balance.” We perceive the universe as being interrelated and interconnected. That’s our most significant prayer:  “Mitakuye oyasin” (“All my relations”). We understand this relatedness in fours: the four directions, the four winds, the four elements of life (fire, water, air and earth), the four colors (red, black/blue, white and yellow), that are symbolic of the four races of humankind. This worldview is sacred and is based on the teachings of the White Buffalo Calf Woman.

This Lakota worldview meshes with the Baha’i world view. The same Creator that sent Moses and Jesus also sent the White Buffalo Calf Woman and Baha’u’llah, the prophet founder of the Baha’i Faith. So it’s not difficult for me to reconcile the teachings of the White Buffalo Calf Woman and Baha’u’llah. I see it—Baha’u’llah’s teachings—as the next step of Lakota ways. Only now we take our place in the world community, with all Indian people united.

From my mother’s perspective, and from mine, that’s exactly what Baha’u’llah meant when he taught the unity of all Faiths:

O ye that dwell on earth! The religion of God is for love and unity; make it not the cause of enmity or dissension. In the eyes of men of insight and the beholders of the Most Sublime Vision, whatsoever are the effective means for safeguarding and promoting the happiness and welfare of the children of men have already been revealed by the Pen of Glory. – Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 220.

4 Comments

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  • Mar 18, 2018
    Dear Victor, the Bahai Faith is in agreement with the legitimate teachings of unity and equality of the Messengers that came to the people of all nations. The only time that the Bahai Faith questions any doctrine is when it is the cause of dissension and strife because no message of the Creator ever teaches such vices
  • Christopher Buck
    Mar 14, 2018
    The Baha'i doctrine of "Progressive Revelation" (as I see it) is a bird’s-eye view of the history of religions in general, and of the advent of the Baha'i Faith in particular. Its implications for the present are clear: History has a sacred dimension. Great spiritual teachers appear at pivotal turning-points throughout history, past and future. The greatest of these Promethean figures renewed entire civilizations. Baha'u'llah appeared in recent history to lay the foundations for a world civilization that, in due course, will usher in a Golden Age. Recognition of prior Messengers, such as White Buffalo Calf Woman, deepens our collective ...understanding of the "oneness of religions” — an idea that can help "Faiths become friends."
    Read more...
  • Robert Green
    Mar 13, 2018
    why the need for "progressive revelation" and what are its implications for older Manifestations and uhm Womanifestations?
    • Mar 14, 2018
      Why the need? Mankind (humanity) is forgetful of the lessons; and those lessons progress in depth and dimension, thus, progression. In a separate thought related to your "womaninfestions" ... I would like to hear a discussion about the idea that White Buffalo Calf Woman represents the Spirit of God in the sense of the Maid of Heaven, Sophia, the descending dove, and other representations [of her]. This Spirit is often presented as feminine.