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  • A Beautiful Thing on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation: Lakota Religion
    They are many beautiful things about the Pine Ridge Reservation. The most beautiful thing I think that is on the reservation is the Lakota Religion. The one unique feature of the Lakota religion is the dancing we do. The other feature that stands out when we practice our religion is the music we make. These are just some of the ways that make our religion beautiful for me. Many people think that our way of religion is not “proper’ to the rest of the other religions like Christianity or others. Our ancestors have been practicing this religion for thousands of years so it has consistence compared to those other religions. Before the Europeans arrived and started to assimilate us into their society we had a spiritual connection to everything. These connections made us who we were and still are today. We had these spiritual connections so that we may have enlightenment and inner peace.
    Dancing is much more than just a way to pray but it is also a way of life for us. Since our first ancestors started to dance and pray we too have done this. We dance to appreciate the land and the animals that have provided much for us in the way of clothing and shelter. Not only to appreciate but to give thanks to the land and animals for what they did or what they have done. Dancing also reminds us to respect the land because without it we would surely perish. Without healthy land there would not be the vegetables or fruits to eat. Nor would we have the trees that provide shade and fresh air without healthy land. If the grass doses not grow to feed the animals we would not be able to eat them for they would be too skinny to provide any nourishment. This is why we dance, pray, and respect the land because nature can turn on us. We did not dance to nothing though we had help to keep the beat and rhythm going.
    Music is a part of us just like any religion with music in it. The music we sing and pray to be drum beats. The drum beat is symbolic I think and represents the roaring thunder and herds of buffalo running. The drum is also there so that a medicine man may contact the spirits and hear their words of wisdom. The drum is not the only instrument we used to pray with when attending ceremonies. We also have the pipe which is the most peaceful sounding instrument we have. The pipe is used to calm the people and surroundings when it gets played. When the pipe is playing people think of the moving waters or the blowing wind in a calm peaceful serenity. They call the pipe ‘the peace pipe’ because of how peaceful it sounds and we use a pipe for a different reason. We use the pipe not only for music and prayer but medicinal purposes as well.
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