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Willie LeClair

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Willie's Belief

“They have learned to respect all that makes up the elements of which we are a part – all gifts of the Great Spirit to whom we owe our prayers and our thanks.”








Eastern Shoshone _____________________________________________________


When Willie LeClair gives presentations, he always starts in the same way. He draws a circle. He writes the word "Respect" at the top and then he looks at the audience.

"Respect is probably the most important word in any language. Regardless of where you come from, whatever your culture, whatever your background may be, to be able to live in today's world, you have to have a lot of respect for everything around you."

"People must respect Mother Earth and the elements-like water, fire and sky-because they sustain life and people respect each other. But in order to do that, they must respect themselves first."

He draws another section in his circle and labels it self-respect.

"You can't give away something you don't own. We only own three things-our mind, our body and our spirit. We must have self resepect for them before we can give those away to anybody."

The bottom of the circle is self image. "We can put up a false image", he says, "but we can't fool ourselves with that image."

"To finish the circle off, we must be completely self satisfied with what we do", LeClair says. "And that makes up the total Circle of Life."

Native American Spirituality
The religions practiced by the Native American peoples today are among the oldest religions still practiced in the world.

One of the most appealing parts of the Native American spiritual traditions is that it is, by its nature, inclusive rather than exclusive. It is a generous way of life in that no one is excluded by any other belief or tradition that they hold or practice.

Willie LeClair We believe in one creator who knows each of us and has our best interests at heart, as all good parents do. He considers us all equals and puts no one above another. Our tradition is that we are all related as brother and sister. One of our rites includes the chorus, “All my relations.”



The Rites of the Sacred Pipe
The sacred pipe is at the heart of the Native American spiritual traditions. The rites of the pipe include: The sweat lodge; the Sun Dance; the taking or making of a relation, such as adopting a brother or sister into the family; the rite of womanhood; the fast, known popularly as the Vision Quest; the Keeping of a Spirit (or Soul).

Native American Awareness
Over the last few years, environmental and ecological issues have worked their way to the forefront of the world’s consciousness. It is more or less common knowledge now that the Native American peoples were very much aware of this concept. As a matter of fact, it is at the very heart of all their traditions. The concept of Mother Earth is not a recent concept. It predates all other traditions except those practiced by indigenous peoples.

Conversational Sign Language

ecause of the many, many language stocks, when the period of widespread trade appeared, a common language, a trade language appeared. In the case of the North American people were concerned, a conversational sign language was needed in order to cross the many language barriers. Very few modern Native American are fluent in this language, but it is a tradition very much alive among the Shoshone peoples and others in the West.

Native American Dance
Dances are a universal expression of great occasions. They are also individual expressions of particular groups of peoples. They use the pow wow as an occasion for all people to gather and dance, often competition.

Dances include, for instance, Men’s Traditional, Men’s Grass Dance, Men’s Fancy Dance, Women’s Traditional, Women’s Fancy shawl, Jingle Dress, Team Dance, Intertribal, and others. These pow wows are a lot of fun, and everyone is invited.


“The Native American way of Life and Death”
“Native American Awareness”
“Native American Spirituality”
“Traditional and Fancy Dancing”
“Conversational Sign Language”
“The Sacred Pipe: Its Significance”
“The Native American Sweat Lodge and its Significance”
“The Sun Dance: Its Meaning to the Shoshone & Arapahoe Nations”
“Astride Two Cultures: The Indian in the Cowboy and the Cowboy in the Indian.”


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