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In the next two installments of Native American Messengers of God, Chris Buck interviews Kevin Locke, Lakota world citizen educator, about White Buffalo Calf Woman, the Lakota prophet.

[Chris] Kevin, let me ask you about these Lakota sacred verses:

Čhaŋnúŋpa waŋží yuhá ílotake čiŋ, míksuya opáǧi yo!
aéj Héčhanuŋ kiŋ,
táku yačhíŋ kiŋ,
iyéčhetu kte ló. aéj új

If you sit down with a pipe.
Remember me.
When you do that,
then the things you want will come true.

What is meant by this promise, “When you do that, then the things you want will come true?” Do the Lakota people understand this promise as spiritual, material, or both?

[Kevin] The buffalo represents the physical necessities of life. White Buffalo Calf Woman—and the sacred pipe she brought—symbolizes the inner spiritual requirements for heavenly life and fulfillment.

[Chris] Can Lakota Baha’is participate in this sacred song and ceremony? And can this sacred song, and the one in our previous article, be recited at Baha’i devotional gatherings, and in public Baha’i events?

[Kevin] Currently this is a matter of individual opinion. There is no authoritative guidance that I am aware of. I personally am the ninth lineal descendant “pipe holder” in my family. Receiving this, through my mother, Patricia Locke, in 1970, was the impetus to my long and slippery spiritual journey, up to today.

[Chris] Based on your sacred office and role as a “pipe holder,” my sense is that you are exercising this sacred trust in widening the circle of Lakota and Baha’i spirituality—dual traditions you continue to live by and to teach. In your personal opinion, is it good for Baha’is and others to recognize White Buffalo Calf Woman as a messenger of God?

[Kevin] Yes, of course. If White Buffalo Calf Woman was sent to the Lakota people by the Creator, how could we not recognize her as a messenger of God, according to this clear teaching by Baha’u’llah? The Baha’i teachings say that God sends every society a holy messenger:

Give ear, O My servant, unto that which is being sent down unto thee from the Throne of thy Lord, the Inaccessible, the Most Great. There is none other God but Him. He hath called into being His creatures, that they may know Him, Who is the Compassionate, the All-Merciful. Unto the cities of all nations He hath sent His Messengers, Whom He hath 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. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, pp. 144–145.

Think about this: entire civilizations flourished before the largest holocaust in the history of humankind, which was the decimation of North American Indian tribes and of other indigenous peoples throughout the Americas, which took place here in the Western Hemisphere. Before that genocide, the indigenous peoples of the Americas had built some of the most populous cities on earth. There were entire civilizations that flourished before the so-called “discovery” of the Americas and the brutal conquests that followed.

As a result of this colonization—under the pretext of “civilizing” and converting indigenous peoples to Christianity—countless lives were lost. Then, among the indigenous peoples who had survived the original conquests, a further ethnic cleansing and genocide (cultural as well as physical) took place, under the evil and catastrophic doctrine of “Manifest Destiny.”

Consider—before all this had happened, could these civilizations have arisen and flourished without divine guidance? I don’t think so! According to Baha’u’llah—and according to Abdu’l-Baha, in his Tablet to Amir Khan about which you have written in this “Native Messengers of God” series—God has sent messengers to all nations throughout history. Sad to say, much of the knowledge and records of these indigenous sacred traditions were lost.

Even so, in my personal opinion, I am utterly flabbergasted that people continue to be oblivious to the spiritual heritage of this land. It is plain as day, bright as sunlight, clear as moonlight. Just my own very personal opinion.

7 Comments

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  • Christopher Buck
    Mar 13, 2018
    Robert Moldenhauer: This question is best addressed on a case-by-case basis. Here, Kevin Locke makes a case for White Buffalo Calf Woman as a Manifestation of God. In so doing, he invites appreciation for the indigenous spiritual tradition that he grew up with, and still identifies with and practices, alongside his wider identity as a global citizen and as an avowed Baha’i—and a “public figure” in promoting Baha’i teachings the world over. In so doing, Kevin Locke is not making a hard-and-fast pronouncement on this issue. Such recognition of Native Messengers of God (which is what this "Native American Messengers ...of God" series is all about) is an important "bridge" to reciprocal appreciation and influence in Baha'i-indigenous encounters.
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  • Robert Moldenhauer
    Mar 13, 2018
    Manifestation of God or Prophet? That is the question and one none of us can answer, Lao Tzu? Mahavira? Guru Nanak? and a thousand others, which were they?
  • Rosslyn and Steven Osborne
    Mar 13, 2018
    The older I get the more disappointed and frustrated I have become with they way humanity behaves. I fight so hard for animal rights and protection, also for our planet, but how can these thing ever happen until humans treat each other as fellow humans? The heinous cruelty that transpired over the centuries must honestly have God shaking His head in disbelief at what our hands have done to our brothers and sisters then spilling out to decimate the beautiful creations He gave us to look after...! I have always felt even as a child that apart from one ...'main' prophet that came, that there had to be many others visiting in some way all the remote and isolated places in the world guiding these folk to Gods Laws and love. Thank you.
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  • Sam Sara
    Mar 12, 2018
    Crying to Wakonda - Omaha
    Wa – kō –da the – thu wa – pa – thī a – tō– he
    Wa – kon – da! Here,------ poor, ------ I ------- stand.
    - A Cry from the Earth, Music of the North American Indians, John Bierhorst
    Four Winds Press 1979
    Many thanks to Tokaheya Inajin who visited Kilbreda College in Melbourne, Australia during the Parliament of World Religions ...in 2009, where he delighted the students with music, hoop dancing and wonderful stories. We in Australia share the great sorrow arising from the treatment of the First Nations in the 'New' World, and we share also the hope of reconciliation as a beautiful diversity of people in One Human Family.
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  • Farshad Fouladi
    Mar 12, 2018
    Amazing!!
  • Mar 12, 2018
    Since I was a very small child, the truth of Native American spiritual beliefs has found its way to my heart. My parents brought us to the Aquinnah Wampanoag Band, of Capawac (Martha's Vineyard), when I was 15, as my first real encounter with a shaman. My ancestral ties are through my father and paternal grandmother, with the Penobscot Nation, of central Maine. That being as it is, I have deep-seated genetic memory of Gluscabe and His teachings. When someone dear to me was on her deathbed, she told me she saw my Penobscot ancestors standing ...over me, whilst I was taking a nap. These serve as proof, to me, of God's provision, to every age, of a Divine Messenger.
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