The road seems to be never ending. Tears blurring my vision as my mind wanders back to remember the courage and memories of our ancestors. I am overwhelmed by the feeling of their love, dreams and sacrifices they made for us and what they want for the future of all native people. I am exhausted, but my job is too important, I must keep going. The 12 horses in the trailer I am hauling for the CANA Foundation, to save our wild horse population, are such precious cargo. They are a reminder of a true culture as per the Great Creator’s original vision. The preservation of these horses honors our spiritual destiny. My job to deliver these relatives to a young Lakota woman who wants to see horses running free on her land as her grandmother has told her stories about her culture, her past and of the horse nation.
Helping to preserve and honor our cultural identity is the most important thing I can do as an Indian man. By freeing our horse relatives back onto our lands, they can show the people the importance and power of being as one, again. When our ancestors were forced to defend their way of living and their land, the horses stood with them. Today, we cannot defend our rights or protect our lands on our own. We need the horse’s back with the people to help us, spiritually and physically, in order to be successful. The horse nation is the key to preserving the history and culture of the land and its people.
As Indian people, we have to remember how important our true culture is and whom shared it with us. Not only for Indian people, but for the rest of the world. Indian people are the original stewards of the land, it is time to connect to that understanding, again. The Great Creator gave us the understanding of whom and how to learn from all living beings with which we share the planet. This knowledge teaches us to coexist with all living beings.
The understanding of the spiritual and physical power of life is in the waters, the animals, the plants and the earth. The Buffalo showed us how to live, the horses help us to remain connected to who we are, our ancestors were relatives to all of the Great Creators creations. This was our ancestor’s identity. It is still our right and must be our journey as Indian people.
We must not shy away from the past and the things that have hurt us. We must not bury our truths. We must embrace and remember who we are and who the Great Creator intended us to be. Indian people have carried a heavy burden and responsibility. It is only with the preservation of our cultural identity and language will we find our way back to the people we were meant be.
It is for these reasons, preserving our culture and helping our ancestral memories to live is so very important. Especially at this time. For if not now, then when will we wake up and regain our freedoms, inside ourselves? Our heritage and culture are what makes us Indian people. We have a responsibility to our youth and to the future generations to show them who they are. Children will always be representative of our own actions.
Our ancestors were victorious in honoring our culture and showing pride in it. We can be too. Doing so will allow us to truly move forward in an original way of living. Embracing the Great Creator by furthering their original intent is the only way we can move forward and stop simply surviving and live again!
When we preserve and honor our culture, we will find our way back to a place of balance and a strong voice for the future. I drive to save my horse relatives from there entrapment so that they can save us from ours.
Moses J. Brings Plenty is Lakota born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. He is a direct descendant of Brings Plenty, an Oglala Lakota Holy Man who defended the Lakota Way of Life. He is a spiritual leader and dedicated to preserving culture and tradition. Brings Plenty is director of rangeland relations for CANA Foundation.