#Speech4Breakfast: Day 10
Chief Arvol Looking Horse – “Address at the Parliament of the World’s Religions”
Read by Joan Henry
*We recognize that no figure, group, or movement is without complexity. In highlighting each of these speeches, we seek to honor first and foremost the act of speaking truth to power.
Chief Arvol Looking Horse is the 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe, appointed at the age of 12, he is the youngest person to hold this responsibility. He is widely recognized as the spiritual leader of all three branches of the Sioux Tribe. This speech was given to the Spotlight of Indigenous People’s Plenary at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City, Utah, an annual convening of the world’s religious and spiritual communities.
Matakeh oyasee apetuklee chate watche petusaplee.
It is the highest honor to be here. Are we having fun? We come from the heart of mother earth, chesappa, the black hills of South Dakota, there we do many ceremonies. This is where the White Buffalo Calf Woman brought the sacred pipe 19 generations ago. Every generation is over 100 years. That’s how old our elders were. They lived that long and today I am the 19th generation keeper of the Sacred Pipe.
My grandmother, when I was 12 years old, on her deathbed she said that if the people don’t straighten up, then you shall be the last bundle keeper. I was put through that ceremony, the coming of age ceremony, at the age of 12 years old and they told me that I could never carry a gun, speak out of anger, that the way our life is upon Mother Earth through ceremony, our old history, that we would always come back to the word ‘prayer’. The word prayer is a chekeea: cheya is to cry and keeya is to send your voice to the great spirit. Nineteen generations ago, the White Buffalo Calf Woman, she left this sacred bundle. As she left the camp, she stopped four times, each time she turned to a different color, the first was a black one, a red one, yellow, the last time she stood on top of the hill, towards the heel, she became the white buffalo calf and people call her the white buffalo calf woman. In our sacred teachings, she told us someday she would stand upon the earth as a white buffalo calf, once again, we would not have a good mind. People would get up with anger, hatred, families, people would not get along.
Every year since 1994, a white buffalo calf stood upon the earth, white animals being born all over the world and we have a message for the world, that we are the crossroads, either be faced with a lot of chaos, disasters, tears from our relatives eyes, or we can unite spiritually in this global community, all nations, all faiths in prayer. We pray at our sacred sites, the four seasons. On June 21st, I hope you can recognize as honor sacred sites day someday. Today, we are being faced with a love, hard times. My heart is heavy as I speak to each and every one of you, my relatives. We are faced with the love, sickness. The women are being massacred, murdered, a spirit woman brought the sacred pipe to our people. I wish the words ‘no more fracking.’ No more KXL, Keystone Pipeline, that mother earth is a spirit, all of our way of life here, in our sacred language, there is no foul language, that the sun is a life giver and mother earth she is a source of life, not a resource. As we go into our ceremonies in the sacred black hills of South Dakota, we know that there is many, many sicknesses upon mother earth in this western society. But we know that with each and every one of you being here, we shall survive, we shall live. I’d like to go home to my home where we do our ceremonies and be at peace. The spirit called each and every one of you to be here and I pray that each and every one of you can be a messenger for the white animals being born all over the world. That the word peace and no violence, that we shall always remember that our children are sacred. Every tradition is about love and compassion.
May peace be with each and every one of you, my relatives. Thank you very much.