From Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit, there came a great unifying life force that flowed in and through all things---the flowers of the plains, blowing winds, rocks, trees, birds, animals---and was the same force that was breathed into the first man. Thus, all things were kindred, and were brought together by the same Great Mystery.
Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky, and water was a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept the Lakota safe among them. And so close did some of the Lakotas come to their feathered and furred friends that in true brotherhood they spoke a common tongue.
The animals had rights---the right of man's protection, the right to live, the right to multiply, the right to freedom, and the right to man's indebtedness---and in recognition of these rights the Lakota never enslaved an animal, and sprared all life that was not needed for food and clothing.
This concept of life and its relations was humanizing, and gave to the Lakota an abiding love. It filled his being with the joy and mystery of living; it gave him reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.
The Lakota could despise no creature, for all were of one blood, made by the same hand, and filled with the essence of the Great Mystery. In spirit, the Lakota, were humble and meek. "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth"---this was true for the Lakota, and from the earth they inherited secrets long since forgotten. Their religion was sane, natural, and human.
Chief Luther Standing Bear, Teton Sioux
Silence was meaningful with the Lakota, and his granting of space of silence before talking was done in the practice of true politeness and regardful of that rule that "thought comes before speech." And in the midst of sorrow, sickness, death, or misfortune of any kind, and in the presence of the notable and great, silence was the mark of respect. More powerful than words was the silence with the Lakota. His strict observance of this tenet of good behavior was the reason, no doubt, for his being given the false characterization by the white man as being a stoic. He has been judged to be dumb, stupid, indifferent, and unfeeling. As a matter of truth, he was the most sympathetic of men, but his emotions of depth and sincerity were tempered with control. Silence meant to the Lakota what it meant to Disraeli when he said, "Silence is the mother of truth," for the silent man was ever to be trusted, while the man ever ready with speech was never taken seriously.