All my Relations

all my relations teachings

Hey everyone

All my Relations. You might have noticed that this is how I end all my posts. All my Relations or Mitakuye-Oyasin (pronounced mi-TAHK-wee-a-say or Mee-tah-koo-yay Oy-yah-seen) is a saying in the Lakota language meaning We are all related or All are related. It is a part of my life, so much so that it is permanently tattooed on my foot….It is at the core of Native beliefs and spirituality and said in many ceremonies. For example, during a smudge or a talking circle, once one is done smudging or talking, one will say All my Relations, as a way to let others know they are done and recognizing everyone who is there. Others, will often acknowledge (especially during talking circles) the saying with a sound such as “ho” or “aho”, signifying they have heard the one speaking and recognize what was said.

But what does it mean? Well, it means that all living things are connected, to each other and to the Creator, the Higher Power. I cannot exist without you and you cannot exist without me. What I do affect you and others and what you do affects me. Everything we do has an effect on others and on our world. It means that everything has a spirit and that’s how we are connected to each other as well as to the Creator. Native practices and beliefs honor the saying. How? By treating each other and what Mother Earth and Father Sky has given us with respect.

The Drum, is also used as a mean to acknowledge the connection between the physical world and the spiritual world. When the stick strikes the drum, that connection is recognized and the spirit world is joined with the physical world. The beat of the drum, at times rhythmic, like a heartbeat or a pulse, like a mother’s heartbeat a foetus hears in the womb, soothes and allows us to connect. Like a child finds consolation in hearing the steady beat of his mother’s heart, we hear the heartbeat of Mother Earth in the drum and find peace. By beating, your drum (pulse) connects you to the Spirit world. When it stops beating in the physical dimension, you return to the spirit dimension.

pow wow drum

But I digress….I often do, as so many teaching and beliefs are related. Oh! See what I did there? I put us back on track 😉 But really, the concept of every thing being related is central to the Native culture. The image of the Creator lives inside of us and we need to recognize it in others. We are all the children of Mother Earth, we are all brothers, sisters, cousins. Yesterday, today and tomorrow, The weak, the strong, the rich, the poor, the young and the old. We are all related. We relate through love and hate, joy and pain and life and death. As some Navajo people say: “We are related because we share the same breath. We are related because we are from the same place. We are related because we are. What is, is”.

P.S. You will see me alternating between saying the Native people and Aboriginal people. I will use those words interchangeably as they often are in Canada. I am aware that in other parts of the world “Aboriginal” often means something else. Here, however, I am using it as a synonym.

Parts of what I just discussed come from a fantastic resource that I would like to share with you below. Listen to the Drum by Blackwolf Jones and Gina Jones. Check the resources page later on to see where you can order it.

11 thoughts on “All my Relations

  1. Pingback: Does Your Soul Need Healing? Mine Does – Tarot Gem Life

  2. P. Heisig

    Mitakuye-Oyasin is Lakota language and has nothing to do with Anishinaabemowin, or Ojibwe language.
    In the interest of not disseminating incorrect information, I would advise you to remove your reference to “Ojibway”, as you have written it. Thank you.

    1. Emily Post author

      thank you for your comment. I have heard it mentioned in both traditions but absolutely more in the Lakota tradition. I have the words tattooed on me after working with a Lakota Elder who taught me the meaning. I have taken out the Ojibway reference as it is in Lakota language.

  3. Dana

    Hi Emily! Thank you so much for sharing this – you have helped explain and answer so many questions I have. I do have another question that I’m hoping you can help me with.
    Let’s see if I can ask it in a way that makes sense! Lol My question is: what is the English equivalent of “all my relations” – (I mean this is the sense of WHEN this phrase is used). For example, after sharing in a circle during a ceremony we say “all my relations”. Is the “equivalent” something like: “thank you for listening. I’m done speaking”. Gosh I don’t think I’m making any sense at all.
    I guess I’m thinking of situations that are commonplace for everyone. For example – at the grocery store. After you pay for your groceries and turn to leave and you say “thanks and have a good day” to the clerk – is that interchangeable with “all my relations”?
    In a sharing circle, after sharing I would say “I am finished sharing – thank you for listening.” (Which is the same as saying “all my relations”, correct? So would this also work at the grocery store, or saying hi to someone, or after pitching an idea in a work meeting?). I hope some of this makes sense!

    1. Emily Post author

      Hi Dana
      thank you for your comment. Hmmm let’s see. All my relations means, yes thank you for listening, thank you for being there with me. You can also say it or Aho when someone else is done talking, as a sign of acknowledgement that you heard what they said and that you are there with them. But I would not use that in a common context like at a grocery store as the meaning is deeper than saying thank you. It’s a big sense of acknowledgement, of all being related, of experiencing something together as one. Hope that makes sense


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