Why we don't discuss culture and spirituality here

Why we don't discuss culture and spirituality here

Postby admin » April 26th, 2010, 2:49 am

The forum's policy prohibits discussing culture and spirituality in English for very good reasons.

First of all, an internet forum is a largely anonymous and impersonal environment and as such it is not a suitable place to practice or discuss spirituality. Anyone can claim anything in such environment, anyone can claim to be an authority over spiritual or cultural issues. In the real world, however, Lakota spirituality and culture are things inseparable from community life, from the social structures of the thiyóšpaye (extended family) and tribe. It is there where people know each other and practice the spirituality as an integral part of their life and social environment. It is there where they experience, learn about and practice the culture. An internet forum can never imitate that. In fact, discussing spirituality on the internet represents its secularization and even desecration. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of web sites that claim to give authoritative "teaching" about Lakota spirituality. All this does is secularize it. Spirituality is a highly intimate thing, it belongs to people's hearts, minds and souls, its place is in the personal and community ceremonies. It has no place in the cyberspace and media. Those who honor Lakota spirituality should protect it by not discussing it outside its real domain and by not disseminating it into the popular culture.
So the forum's policy is part of our attempt to show our respect to the culture and spirituality and our desire to protect them from abuse and secularization.

Moreover, this is a language forum. Knowing the language is an important prerequisite to deeper understanding of the culture and spirituality. Achieving a level of fluency in the language is a necessary step towards learning Lakota thinking (Lakota idiom). The experience from other language forums and groups shows that discussing culture and spirituality in English presents major distraction from learning the language. People get very easily bogged down by such discussions and cultural topics, and they contribute little or nothing to learning the language. While the language cannot be learned through discussing culture in English, the culture can be learned by contextual learning of the language. And this is what we are trying to do here. Those who are sincere about honoring the culture and spirituality need to make a commitment to learn the language, make an everyday effort to learn words and grammar, to go beyond the rudimentary basics and start working hard toward Lakota thinking, which is the most direct road towards understanding the Lakota culture from within. Discussing Lakota culture in English represents looking at it from the outside, without going deeper into it.
Learning a language is never an easy process. But those who have inner motivation can do it. Those who only want to discuss culture in the cyberspace will hardly ever learn the language. But those who will progress in learning the language will gain knowledge of the culture along the way.

Therefore, we should all be reminded that the policy practiced in this forum exists for the sake of protecting the culture and promoting the understanding of culture through learning the language. This policy is not here out of a whim of any individual, it is practiced here because it is part of our respect for the culture and our desire to learn the language and do it properly. This is our contribution to the language revival. The Lakota culture would change dramatically if the language disappears.
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Re: Why we don't discuss culture and spirituality here

Postby Ikche Wichasha » May 7th, 2014, 7:12 pm

Thank you for posting this! I understand it. Without my tiyoshpiye close, I really have no other way. Would it be best if I only use the dictionary? By the way, I never introduced myself earlier... My name is Grady, I love and respect the Lakhota ways and language and I won't go against it. :good:
Wopila tanka.
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