Where there is no council for the welfare and benefit of the people, righteous tribalism is not present. The social ethical purpose of contributing to shared well-being and prosperity is essential to Native American definitions of tribalism.
Not only members of the tribe, but others also are embraced by the circle of tribal concerns. And others include other human life and other than human life, other living creatures and all creation.
"The Lakota and Dakota peoples have a phrase used in all their prayers that aptly illustrates the Native American sense of the centrality of creation. The phrase, Mitakuye oyasin, "For all my relations," functions somewhat like the word "Amen" in European and American Christianity. As such, it is used to end every prayer, and often it is in itself a whole prayer, being the only phrase spoken.
Like most native symbols, Mitakuye oyasin is polyvalent in its meaning. Certainly, one is praying for one's close kin--aunts, cousins, children, grandparents. And "relations" can be understood as tribal members or even all Indian people.
At the same time, the phrase includes all human beings, all twoleggeds as relatives of one another, and the ever-expanding circle does not stop there. Every Lakota who prays this prayer knows that our relatives necessarily include the four-leggeds, the wingeds, and all the living-moving things on Mother Earth. One Lakota teacher has suggested that a better translation of Mitakuye oyasin would read: "For all the above-me and below-me and around-me things: That is for all my relations."
These examples illustrate the extensive image of interrelatedness and interdependence--symbolized by the circle--and the importance of reciprocity and respect for one another for maintaining the wholeness of the circle."
"When we were given these instructions, among many of them, one was that when you sit in council for the welfare of the people, you counsel for the welfare of that seventh generation to come. They should be foremost in your mind--not even your generation, not even yourself, but those that are unborn so that when their time comes here, they may enjoy the same thing that you are enjoying now." (OL, p. 9)