Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Thank You Vine Deloria Jr.

I just read that Vine Deloria Jr. is dead at age 72. I’ve been reading his books the past month, and just tonight had finished the chapter “Death and Religion’ in God is Red. Although sometimes bombastic in presentation, he had a clear eye concerning American Indians and “Western Civilization”. From the next-to-last paragraph of that chapter:
It is in the face of death that Indian tribal religions have their magnificence. Big Elk, an Omaha chief, delivered a funeral oration in 1815 at the death of Black Buffalo, and counseled his fellow chiefs as follows:
Do not grieve. Misfortunes will happen to the wisest and best of men. Death will come and always out of season. It is the command of the Great Spirit, and all nations and people must obey. What is past and cannot be prevented should not be grieved for….Misfortunes do not flourish particularly in our path. They grow everywhere.
In an earlier paragraph in the same chapter, Deloria quotes Chief Seattle: "Dead, did I say? There is no death, only a change of worlds."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"There is no death, only a change of worlds" - no truer a statement have I heard in quite some time.