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The Lakota Code of Ethics: Ancient Wisdom for a Modern World

In a world often plagued by ignorance, conflict, anger, and greed, the timeless wisdom contained within the Lakota Code of Ethics brings forth a profound call for change. Rooted in the spiritual traditions of the Lakota people, this ethical code offers a transformative approach to life and interactions within our society. The principles laid out in these ancient teachings have the power to radically alter our world, creating a more compassionate, harmonious, and interconnected existence.

Imagine a world where individuals rise with the sun to pray, establishing a personal connection with the Great Spirit. Alone, yet united in spirit, they cultivate a sense of awareness and gratitude, paving the way for a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them. By instilling the practice of regular prayer and reflection, this code allows individuals to tap into a profound source of guidance and wisdom, fostering personal growth and spiritual awakening.

The Lakota Code of Ethics emphasizes the importance of tolerance and compassion towards those who may have lost their way. Instead of casting judgment on others due to their ignorance, conceit, anger, jealousy, or greed, it encourages us to pray for their enlightenment, hoping that they will find the path to inner peace and wisdom. Through this compassionate mindset, we cultivate a more empathetic and understanding society, where compassion and patience are the touchstones of our interactions.

Furthermore, this ethical code champions the significance of individuality and personal responsibility. It reminds us that our path in life is uniquely our own, urging us not to succumb to the expectations and influences of others. By empowering individuals to forge their own roads, the Lakota Code of Ethics celebrates self-discovery, self-expression, and the pursuit of personal fulfillment. This radical shift in perspective grants everyone the freedom to discover their true purpose and passion, ultimately leading to a more vibrant and diverse world.

Embedded in the essence of this code is a profound reverence for all life forms. Whether human or plant, every entity that graces this earth deserves our respect and protection. This holistic perspective reestablishes our bond with nature, reminding us that we are not separate from it, but intricately intertwined. By acknowledging the symbiotic relationship between humanity and the natural world, we gain a profound sense of responsibility as stewards of this precious planet.

Integral to the Lakota Code of Ethics is the power of words and thoughts. It emphasizes the importance of honoring others' thoughts, wishes, and words, recognizing the inherent dignity and worth of each person. By fostering an environment of deep listening and respect, we create a safe space for personal expression and diverse perspectives.

Simultaneously, it cautions against negative speech, reminding us that the energy we emit into the universe will inevitably find its way back to us. Therefore, through the power of positivity, we can build a world filled with love, understanding, and unity.


1. Rise with the sun to pray. Pray alone. Pray often. The Great Spirit will listen if you only speak.

2. Be tolerant of those who are lost on their path. Ignorance, conceit, anger, jealousy - and greed stem from a lost soul. Pray that they will find guidance.

3. Search for yourself, by yourself. Do not allow others to make your path for you. It is your road and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.

4. Treat the guests in your home with much consideration. Serve them the best food, give them the best bed and treat them with respect and honor.

5. Do not take what is not yours whether from a person, a community, the wilderness or from a culture. It was not earned nor given. It is not yours.

6. Respect all things that are placed upon this earth - whether it be people or plant.

7. Honor other people's thoughts, wishes, and words. Never interrupt another or mock or rudely mimic them. Allow each person the right to personal expression.

8. Never speak of others in a bad way. The negative energy that you put out into the universe will multiply when it returns to you.

9. All persons make mistakes. And all mistakes can be forgiven.

10. Bad thoughts cause illness of the mind, body, and spirit. Practice optimism.

11. Nature is not FOR us, it is a PART of us. They are part of your worldly family.

12. Children are the seeds of our future. Plant love in their hearts and water them with wisdom and life's lessons. When they are grown, give them space to grow.

13. Avoid hurting the hearts of others. The poison of your pain will return to you.

14. Be truthful at all times. Honesty is the test of one's will within this universe.

15. Keep yourself balanced. Your Mental self, Spiritual self, Emotional self, and Physical self - all need to be strong, pure and healthy. Work out the body to strengthen the mind. Grow rich in spirit to cure emotional ails.

16. Make conscious decisions as to who you will be and how you will react. Be responsible for your own actions.

17. Respect the privacy and personal space of others. Do not touch the personal property of others - especially sacred and religious objects. This is forbidden.

18. Be true to yourself first. You cannot nurture and help others if you cannot nurture and help yourself first.

19. Respect others' religious beliefs. Do not force your beliefs on others.

20. Share your good fortune with others.

Given the magnificence and significance of these ethical teachings, it becomes evident that they should be the bedrock of any educational institution. An education infused with this wisdom will train the minds and hearts of our future generations, nurturing a consciousness that embodies respect, compassion, and personal responsibility. By filtering knowledge through the lens of this ethical code, we could create a powerful shift in education, fostering a generation of empathetic and conscious individuals committed to building a better world.

The Lakota Code of Ethics holds unimaginable potential to transform our world. It champions principles such as tolerance, respect, honesty, and balance, ushering in an era of heightened consciousness and personal growth.

By incorporating these principles into the fabric of our society, we could create a harmonious, interconnected world where love, compassion, and understanding reign supreme.

Let us embrace this ancient wisdom and embark on a journey towards a brighter, more enlightened future. Angell Deer

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