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… long before the arrival of the whites my ancestors had developed a concept and practice of warfare based on demonstration of courage rather than killing an enemy. it was more honorable and far more courageous, they thought, to touch a live enemy in battle than it was to kill him. warriors were killed in battle now and then, but killing was not the first and foremost intent. other tribes had similar philosophies, and sometimes pitched battles were fought in which only a few men were wounded; whichever side demonstrated more daring, skill and courage was victor. this approach to warfare was set aside once the lakota began in earnest to resist the whites militarily. in our estimation they didn’t understand our sense of honor, but they did understand killing. several historians and writers have stated that the great warrior crazy horse emulated the fighting tactics of the white soldiers because their way was superior. that is not the case. crazy horse was one of the first to point out that the only way to defeat the whites was to kill them – because that was their way…

“the lakota way”
stories and lessons for living
native american wisdom on ethics and character
Joseph M. Marshall III

 

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