The ways of words and silence

It does not require many words to speak the truth

By Chief Joseph.


With that being said, I will try to keep the teachings of the second chapter of the book I am reading short.

In many tribes, especially the Lakota tribe, silence was a means of respect. Many Europeans, when they first came over, thought the silence was a sign of mental retardation. That is not the case. Silence is one of the greatest signs of respect. That is why most animals in the wild are silent most of the time. Human silence is simply respecting the way nature is woven into us.

Throughout all of time, we learn to listen to our elders and look at our surroundings. To listen before speaking is a practice that all should master. To be able to listen and not just hear allows us to understand the world.

The Native Americans had an oral tradition. Europeans have a written tradition. Jews have a mixture of both. For Natives, all record of the past are oral tradition. They are passed down from father to son. This ensures that as long as the tribe survives, the history survives. Texts can be destroyed until nothing is left and everything is forgotten. Oral tradition will never be destroyed.

Last but not least, make sure you keep to your word. It is better to never make a promise than to break a promise you made. Europeans brought the concept of lies and deception in their words. Natives never had such language to manipulate others.

Be honest. Stay quiet. Listen. Understand. Be wild and free in your silence. Keep to your words that you do speak. Words have power.

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