THE AMAZING STORY OF SIOUX CHIEF ARVOL LOOKING HORSE: “THE EARTH IS CALLING US”

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THE AMAZING STORY OF SIOUX CHIEF ARVOL LOOKING HORSE: “THE EARTH IS CALLING US”

Click on the blue arrow to see all photos. ARVOL LOOKING HORSE, exclusive interview and photos with the Sioux Chief, Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe of the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota Nation of the Sioux. "The earth is calling us".

THE AMAZING STORY OF SIOUX CHIEF ARVOL LOOKING HORSE: “THE EARTH IS CALLING US”

Arvol Looking Horse with Valentina Castellani. She is developing The White Snake, a documentary on worldwide renewable energy, which is well-known to be ready and available, while facing the threat of the black serpent, the oil industry and its economic interests. As Arvol Looking Horse says, “Each one of us is here, this very instant, to decide the future of humanity… Did you really think you had a different mission?”

THE AMAZING STORY OF SIOUX CHIEF ARVOL LOOKING HORSE: “THE EARTH IS CALLING US”

Chief Arvol Looking Horse, who was raised in the most traditional Lakota ways, carries with him a message of peace to the world and an infinite love for Mother Earth. We are so honored to share it with you at Blog de Los Angeles. Don't forget to read the interview and let us know your thoughts.

THE AMAZING STORY OF SIOUX CHIEF ARVOL LOOKING HORSE: “THE EARTH IS CALLING US”

A spiritual leader to his people, he fought in Standing Rock to stop the Dakota pipeline from running through the sacred ancestral lands of the Sioux tribe. In the past, he has been granted with the Forgiveness Award among many others.

THE AMAZING STORY OF SIOUX CHIEF ARVOL LOOKING HORSE: “THE EARTH IS CALLING US”

"In the sacred tribe of the Chanupa we live and pray in peace and harmony. We find happiness in our seven principles, which include: prayer, respect, compassion, honesty, generosity, humility and knowledge. We are guided by and honor these principles. We use a word to express our love that has no equivalent in the English language, it is a blend of love and heart. We also believe that compassion is a way to express love."

THE AMAZING STORY OF SIOUX CHIEF ARVOL LOOKING HORSE: “THE EARTH IS CALLING US”

"We learn at a very early age to appreciate every living thing, grass, trees... Animals, horses, dogs, they’re able to cry, they have feelings. This is what we believe. We are raised to respect everything that surrounds us. We pray for everything that breaths life; everything is sacred..."

THE AMAZING STORY OF SIOUX CHIEF ARVOL LOOKING HORSE: “THE EARTH IS CALLING US”

Arvol Looking Horse to the President of the United States: "If you want to make America great again, make our Turtle Island great again as well. This country is full of good people. Every religion that is practiced, every prayer that is offered, speaks of love and compassion with one ultimate purpose. Turtle Island is made up of beautiful families that respect each other like the inhabitants of the First Nation. When we climb a mountain to pray, other tribes come along and pray with us. Even when we are in conflict with each other, we still pray together. We want unity. Sit at the table with us and let us pray together. Let’s find peace inside ourselves this way. Native American children cannot grow without resources, being abused and scared… No children should ever be afraid for their lives. We want to feel safe."

THE AMAZING STORY OF SIOUX CHIEF ARVOL LOOKING HORSE: “THE EARTH IS CALLING US”

"I pay attention to signs and believe in dreams. We must not continue to harm the earth and the environment. In my culture, we always think about the seventh generation and how it will affect them before doing anything. -The principle of the seventh generation is a sentiment that all Native American tribes in the United States embrace and something that unites all its nations. They believe every government, every company, every person, should ask themselves” “In what way will my actions affect the world in seven generations?” Thus keeping mountains, water and air clean. -Every day we’re on this earth is a miracle for us in the Sioux tribe, so we live accordingly."

THE AMAZING STORY OF SIOUX CHIEF ARVOL LOOKING HORSE: “THE EARTH IS CALLING US”

"I met my wife Paula twenty years ago. She was one of the volunteers who helped us organize when I undertook the Big Foot Riders march. Since then we’ve embarked together on this journey for world peace. My people still remember the massacre of the Sioux at the Wounded Knee battle with extraordinary pain. -This is where the Seventh Cavalry practically annihilated the Lakota tribe.- According to the Black Elk prophecy, this massacre broke the sacred circle of our Lakota Nation. We want to mend the sacred circle of existence where there is no beginning or end. This is the reason I organized the Big Foot Riders on the 100-year anniversary of the massacre. A group of people rode on horseback for 300 miles from Standing Rock to Pine Ridge, from campsite to campsite praying, so nothing similar would ever happen again. This is a healing process for our hearts."

“When I was young, a black widow spider bit me.

The venom started spreading and eating away at my skin. I remember my grandmother praying that I would live, and it was the prayer that pulled me through. But the bite left a bad scar on my face, which embarrassed me and made me very shy growing up. I stayed away from people. I preferred riding my horse and spending time in Green Grass, sitting on the hill, looking at the beauty of the land and thinking about how it must have been a long time ago. That is where I’d feel secure and at peace. Where I’d find my center.

Another time, when my brother died, I decided I wanted to do something to honor him because he was so good at everything he did. I was just the opposite, I had no confidence. The day he was buried, I thought about how he was so natural with horses and that he could have been the best rodeo rider. So, I committed to riding rodeo on saddle bronco in his honor, because that’s what he loved.

I went to the rodeo in Deadwood, but my body didn’t feel quite up to it. Nonetheless, I got ready to ride because there were a lot of friends from the reservation who had come to see me. I saddled my horse, and was feeling good. I looked up at the grandstand, got on the horse and he bucked. He went straight up in the air.

Then he spun around and fell backwards–right on top of me.

I heard a crack in my backbone as I laid there, shaking. I couldn’t feel my body.

The ambulance arrived and soon I was lying in the hospital. The doctor told me that I’d never walk again; that I was paralyzed from the neck down.

I had broken three vertebrae, cracked one, and had a concussion.

My grandmother once said to me that when a person is getting ready to go into the spirit world, their relatives come to them. She was right, because there were times that I would open my eyes and see them standing there.

Once, the phone rang and the voice on the line said, “I’m your grandmother and people need you.” This is the grandmother that also chewed me out about riding in the rodeo and said I had done this to myself.

Another time, I felt my mother and father entering the room, but I kept my eyes closed because I didn’t know if they were real or not. My dad started talking to me about a Sun Dance they were having. In my mind, I kept thinking about my grandmother saying that it didn’t matter how many people prayed for you, if you didn’t pray for yourself the prayers wouldn’t be effective. So, I tried to relax my mind and kept picturing the Sun Dance with all the people circling around the Tree of Life in the center.

I prayed so much, humbly and from my heart.

When the Sun Dance was over, my bones healed back together.

The doctors couldn’t believe it. A week later I walked out of the hospital.

I knew deep down in my heart that my prayers had been answered.”

by Arvol Looking Horse

I’m not easily impressed but when I find myself in front of Chief Arvol Looking Horse, I’m in awe. He is not only very tall but also truly imposing. I can’t read his eyes and that unsettles me a bit, especially when he looks at me down from the heights with his intriguing almond-shaped eyes. The chief has such an elegant bearing. As I look back at him, I’m reminded that pure Sioux blood runs through his veins… The blood of those great warriors that not so long ago freely chased after buffaloes through the prairies of the United States. Mister Looking Horse is the Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe of the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota Nation of the Sioux.

To think that I’m standing in front of an authentic Native American chief… One like those I learned to fear and love as a child, while watching those old western movies that my dad and I enjoyed so much. Besides being a historical figure, Arvol Looking Horse embodies an irreplaceable part of this country’s history, a country I fell in love with the minute I set foot on the new continent half-a-lifetime ago. I understand what we have in common; our deep love for this beautiful land Native Americans call Turtle Island.

I lower my head in embarrassment when I remember this immeasurable man, a spiritual leader to his people who fought in Standing Rock to stop the Dakota pipeline from running through the sacred ancestral lands of the Sioux tribe. This man was also granted the Forgiveness Award among many others and still lives on a reservation. Contrary to what many people believe, most tribes are not wealthy from gaming. Most of the Indian reservations in the United States are deeply impoverished, with some tribes reporting unemployment as high as 85%. How can even something named “a reservation” for human beings still exist in this era? The chief himself lives a very modest life. Recognizing such humbleness in such an imposing character, allows me to truly feel what remains of the First Nation in the presence of this amazing man. I suddenly find myself on the verge of tears. When I finally find the courage to speak to him, I start asking the typical courtesy questions to break the ice, but he answers only with monosyllables. He speaks with a strong Lakota accent; his maternal tongue. Halfway between his accent and mine, I begin panicking convinced that we wont understand a single word we say to each other. I manage to say something foolish, I’m quite good at that, and when I finally get a smile, I breathe a sigh of relief.

I speak to the heart of the twelve-year-old boy he once was, when he was given the immense and historical responsibility of becoming the nineteenth generation guardian and bearer of the Chanupa, the Sioux language name for the sacred, ceremonial Peace Pipe. Chief Arvol Looking Horse, who was raised in the most traditional Lakota ways, carries with him a message of peace to the world and an infinite love for Mother Earth. We are so honored to share it with you at Blog de Los Angeles.

Forgive and be forgiven… How difficult is that. Given the history of your people and the harsh conditions they still live in today, I’d like to know what you have learned about forgiveness. We, the First Nation were massacred. The memory of this is still present in our prayers and in our daily lives. Healing this sentiment is a process.

– What does forgiveness mean to you? To me, forgiveness is the way to find peace inside yourself.

-How do you achieve this? How can anyone forgive the atrocities committed during wars? If you carry it in your mind and in your heart, you will only end up hurting yourself more. Forgiveness is the best thing one can do for oneself. Forgiveness enriches your heart.

– Some say compassion will save the world. What are your thoughts about that? In the sacred tribe of the Chanupa we live and pray in peace and harmony. We find happiness in our seven principles, which include: prayer, respect, compassion, honesty, generosity, humility and knowledge. We are guided by and honor these principles. We use a word to express our love that has no equivalent in the English language, it is a blend of love and heart. We also believe that compassion is a way to express love.

-The love for nature is deeply rooted in your ancestral culture…We learn at a very early age to appreciate every living thing, grass, trees… animals, horses, dogs…they’re able to cry, they have feelings. This is what we believe. We are raised to respect everything that surrounds us. We pray for everything that breaths life; everything is sacred, including food. We bless our food every time we eat. I recently learned about Masaru Emoto. His experiment showing how drops of water change depending on the feelings of the person watching…. I believe matter changes with our energy. If we use hateful words, this energy alters the substance of things. When you send love from your heart, this love beautifies the nature of whatever surrounds us. This is what we teach our people; when you bless your food you make it richer. People and things feel your energy, this is what keeps you healthy. It’s a very beautiful and simple way to live your life.

-You were born in 1954 on the Cheyenne River reservation in South Dakota and raised by your grandparents Lucy and Thomas Looking Horse. It’s part of our tradition. In our culture, grandparents are in charge of raising their grandchildren, aunts and uncles guide and correct them. Parents worry about supporting their children financially, as well as making a path for their future. In our town, every adult is considered a grandparent to all children of the tribe. My mother tongue is Lakota. Later in life I had to learn English, so now I have to translate everything in my mind before speaking English.

-Would you share an anecdote from your childhood? I was raised in the most traditional Lakota ways. My uncle was a preacher. My childhood was a very spiritual one. I learned to honor everything that moved on Mother Earth. Churches surrounded us. I remember the very first time I was invited to a typical Christmas dinner. I was sitting between my grandmother and grandfather. We had an abundant meal, delicious dishes I had never tasted before. When dinner was over, a woman appeared with a plate that had something red on it and this thing wouldn’t stop shaking. I thought it was alive. I was so afraid to eat it, that I just couldn’t. But everyone around me was so happy and kept saying how good it was… So I finally tasted it. It was sweet and delicious! I wanted more! But by then, it was all gone. -He remembers laughing- It was only jelly, but I didn’t know this existed. Small things such as this I learned and experienced on my own… -He reflects for a few seconds. Then he adds- The world has changed quickly, but not for me. I live in a log cabin. We only work when there is sunlight and stop working when the sun sets on the horizon, we can’t say curse words. There are many things we can’t do. We must wake up lively and in a positive mood every morning, making sure we are humble and respectful, face life however it may come. I believe it is imperative to respect one another. This planet belongs to everyone and we have to take care of it. They say our lands have coal and I know we face many financial interests in this world, but we have to do things through peace and harmony, this is what our lives stand for.

-It breaks my heart just thinking about the fact that your people still live on reservations. To think that you face this reality every single day and have to resign to accepting this kind of life. How is it possible that these reservations still exist? Behind every injustice there is usually a financial reason. In the beginning we did not have religious freedom, they forced our children to assist boarding schools, they were turned into soldiers and usually ended up in prison. It’s a cycle we’re trying to get out of. We have been forgotten by many. You have to understand something, living in a reservation is all about surviving. The unemployment rate is way too high. We live under extremely difficult circumstances. In my case, the chance to get out and become a voice for my people, to know that there are those who care and want to help, being able to enjoy places like this (Malibu) today, thanks to them… It’s simply amazing.

-What would you like the world to know? I would like to show the world who we are, The First Nation. Our culture, our people and our ceremonies. Our prophecies are taking place now. The earth is calling us. There are many white animals being born, this is Mother Earth’s warning.

-Legend has it that a woman delivered the sacred pipe to the tribe, and then turned into a white buffalo… The Sioux believe that when one of these white animals is born, the earth is warning us of danger. Many of these animals have been born lately. I pay attention to signs and believe in dreams. We must not continue to harm the earth and the environment. In my culture, we always think about the seventh generation and how it will affect them before doing anything. -The principle of the seventh generation is a sentiment that all Native American tribes in the United States embrace and something that unites all its nations. They believe every government, every company, every person, should ask themselves” “In what way will my actions affect the world in seven generations?” Thus keeping mountains, water and air clean. -Every day we’re on this earth is a miracle for us in the Sioux tribe, so we live accordingly.

-It seems that the XXI century is all about globalization. Does it frighten you to think that your roots, language and traditions will become a thing of the past? We have had this discussion among our people for the past 20 years. Our sacred grounds and our churches have to be respected. We’ve left the reservations and gone to the White House and as far as the United Nations, wanting to be heard and respected. But in the end, things just don’t work that way. We haven’t been able to get very far.

-It is sad to see how financial interests come before everything else. One believes basic things should work a certain way, until big corporations choose money over everything else, no matter how hurtful or immoral it might be. It must be difficult to stay optimistic in the middle of such long battles with these huge corporations. I’m sure it feels like a lost cause. Are you a hard-core optimist? I really do feel there’s hope. Why? Because we have no choice. This is what should inspire us all, I suppose. We all need to have some hope in order to create our future, as well as the future of generations to come. It’s our responsibility.

– Did you know Arvol means tree in Spanish?  This is what I’ve been told, but I’ve been around the world and I’ve never seen it spelled with a V.

-So your name has nothing to do with trees? No, nothing.

-And where do your last names come from Looking Horse? In our tradition, we earn our names. I believe my great grandparents owned beautiful horses, hence our family name.

– How important is music in the Sioux culture? According to our tradition, nature responds to mother earth’s heartbeat. We believe this heart beats under our sacred mountains, the Black Hills of South Dakota. –The dispute for ownership of these mountains, spiritual heart of North American natives, is a painful chapter that is still being debated between the Sioux Nation and the government of the United States. -With all the advanced technology we have today, we can see satellite images of these black mountains; surprisingly, their shape is very similar to that of a heart. If you fast-forward these satellite images through the four seasons, it looks like the mountains are a huge heart beating. Streams, rivers and forests are born from these mountains; nature overflows from their open heart. Coming back to the subject of music, this is the reason why drums are the most sacred instrument of all for us. Each beat of a drum symbolizes a heartbeat from Mother Earth, each beat of a drum is a child being born, a life that awakens… For us, all music carries a message.

-How did you meet your wife? I met Paula twenty years ago. She was one of the volunteers who helped us organize when I undertook the Big Foot Riders march. Since then we’ve embarked together on this journey for world peace. My people still remember the massacre of the Sioux at the Wounded Knee battle with extraordinary pain. -This is where the Seventh Cavalry practically annihilated the Lakota tribe, almost three hundred people were murdered between men, women and children.– According to the Black Elk prophecy, this massacre broke the sacred circle of our Lakota Nation. We want to mend the sacred circle of existence. In this circle there is no beginning or end. This is the reason I organized the Big Foot Riders on the 100-year anniversary of the massacre. A group of people rode on horseback for 300 miles from Standing Rock to Pine Ridge, from campsite to campsite praying, so nothing similar would ever happen again. This is a healing process for our hearts.

-If you had the president of the United States in front of you, what would you say to him? – If you want to make America great again, make our Turtle Island great again as well. This country is full of good people. Every religion that is practiced, every prayer that is offered, speaks of love and compassion with one ultimate purpose. Turtle Island is made up of beautiful families that respect each other like the inhabitants of the First Nation. When we climb a mountain to pray, other tribes come along and pray with us. Even when we are in conflict with each other, we still pray together. We want unity. Sit at the table with us and let us pray together. Let’s find peace inside ourselves this way. Native American children cannot grow without resources, being abused and scared… No children should ever be afraid for their lives. We want to feel safe. 

Arvol Looking Horse is now involved in the developing of The White Snake, a documentary. This marvelous film is taking shape thanks to our dear friend producer Valentina Castellani of Quinn Entertainment Studios, who kindly organized this interview for us. The White Snake focuses on worldwide renewable energy, which is well-known to be ready and available, while facing the threat of the black serpent, the oil industry and its economic interests. As Arvol Looking Horse says, “Each one of us is here, this very instant, to decide the future of humanity… Did you really think you had a different mission?”

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