Mitakuye Oyasin

When I woke up this morning, I learned that Donald Trump was indeed elected President of the United States.  A lot of people are having a lot of big feelings about this fact.

But here's the thing that's really got me...some people are using Trump's win as an excuse to express overtly racist ideas. 

I'm trying very hard to be tactful. I have several choice words that I would like to use to describe what I am hearing, but in the interest of making this easy to share with your children and your grandparents, I'll keep those words to myself.

I'm not on social media much these days, but in the little exposure I've had today, I read about someone who was trying to reassure a co-worker about her immigration status, I read about a high school girl, a non-white natural born citizen of this country, who has been bullied all day with phrases like, "I can't wait until you get deported!" I read about a woman who was taunted in her car and approached by one man holding lighter fluid and another holding a lit cigarette and yelling "Go Trump!" at her, and I just read that a friend's husband got called a "f*cking Mexican" while getting coffee this morning (he has Native blood).

I could go on for days about how heavy my heart feels when I read these things, these awful things, happening to human beings.

Instead, I want to introduce you to a beautiful Lakota phrase: mitakuye oyasin.

Mitakuye oyasin means "all my relations."

The idea is that we are all related. ALL related. Every person, every animal, every tree, every stone...we are all related.

The biggest lie we have been sold is the lie of separation. There is no separation between men, women, gender fluid, white, black, Native. Hispanic, poor, rich, Christian, Muslim...we're all in this together my friends! It's about humanity living in harmony with itself and every living being on this earth. There is no "us" and "them"'s only "us!"

Now, one may think I share this beautiful phrase as support for all of those recipients of hateful language today. But today, I go further.

You see, it's quite easy to have compassion for the victims. They certainly deserve compassion...but so do the perpetrators.

We have to remember that mitakuye oyasin is about victims and perpetrators alike. All my relations means that everyone gets to come to the party, no special invitation needed. The moment you took breath in this life, you were invited.

Remember that compassion when you hear about or witness such awful things. I cannot abide such horrible acts, and I will call people out when I do witness them. When I do, I shall try to do so with compassion in my heart.

If today is foreshadowing things to come, then the road ahead will not be easy. But each of us must do our very best to stay rooted in love and peace. That is the path forward in these uncertain times.

Mitakuye oyasin