Prior to Inipi Ceremony, Lakota One Heart Prays. Image from White Buffalo: An American Prophecy

The following is an excerpt from
Toward an Oglala Lakota Constitution Statement of Basic Principles

by Birgil Kills Straight and Steven Newcomb
Co-Founders and Co-Directors, Indigenous Law Institute

“Our sovereignty resides in the spirituality and spiritual fire of the People. Just as a spiritual fire resides in and provides the essence of Life within each and every person, so too, a spiritual fire resides in and provides the essence of Life for the People as a whole. This is the basis of our respective Council Fires. This spiritual fire, combined with our innate intelligence, provides the energy, knowledge and wisdom necessary to create a beneficial and spiritual way of life for the People in our sacred homeland.

The purpose of an Oglala Lakota Constitution is Wolakota, a spiritual way of life, based on the Seven Laws that were handed to our People by the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Woman. Wolakota is a life of peace, friendship, brotherhood and sisterhood, treaties, and right relationship between and among the members of the Nation, within each family circle (Tiwahe), within each extended family (Tiospaye), within the Oglala Lakota Nation, and within the Oceti Sakowin as a whole. Wolakota is also right relationship and respect between human beings and all forms of life, as well as between and among allies.

At one time a written Oglala Lakota constitution was not necessary because the People understood and lived a life of Wolakota. Thus, the main purpose of the Oglala Lakota Constitution, based on the Seven Laws, and the basic Elements of Life, is to achieve healing and revitalization for the Oglala Lakota Nation. Four key Elements of Life provide the very basis of our Life as a Nation: makoce (earth, land, matter), mni (water, movement, liquid sustenance), peta (fire, lightning, laser energy), oniye (air, breath). These four Elements of Life and the Seven Laws provide the basis of the Fundamental and Organic Laws of the Oglala Lakota Nation. By upholding and living in accordance with these Natural Laws, we will achieve health, strength, security, and well-being within our Sacred Oyate. Decisions made by the government of the Oglala Lakota Nation ought to manage the affairs of the Nation with regard to the well-being of the People seven generations into the future. The laws, regulations, and codes of the Nation all fall under one or more of these four Elements of Life.”