Mitukuye Oyasin (For All My Relations), is something the Lakota say when finishing a prayer, it exemplifies our peoples understanding of the Sacred Circle of Life on this Earth we consider our Grandmother. Our understanding tells us that all life on Earth is inter-related and deserving of respect. For this reason we very much respect PETA members decision not to eat meat, some of our most respected medicine people have made that same decision.

When we speak of a particular kind of animal we refer to them as a “People” or “Nation” such as “Bear Nation” or “Deer Nation” or even “Butterfly Nation”. We are not trying to make them human, but by addressing them in that way we are offering them the respect of equals. We are relatives of the same Mother. Some PETA people seem to feel this way too.

I say these things to you in hopes you can understand why an Indian man of the Ponca Nation would presume to speak for more than his own people.

PETA has told the world that they want Hoof and Mouth disease to infect our Homelands in order to destroy the commercial meat industry. My people have experience with the spreading of disease in order to accomplish political or reli-gious/moral goals. In one of mankind’s greatest holocausts our Nations were decimated by deliberately introduced Smallpox disease. More of my people died from this attack than all the guns, knives and clubs the European rained upon our Nations put together.

The meat industry is based on animals domesticated in Europe. These deformed and unnatural animals were abhorred by Indian people when they first appeared here, but we recognize they are the long time relative and companion to Europeans. PETA is correct in being concerned for their well being. But are you reconciled with the pain and suffering that will be brought to the domestic herds for generations to come? Europeans played God to create these animals, now PETA would play God and destroy them? It may be a cultural thing, but that thinking escapes our understanding.

But I’m not writing to you in support of the meat industry, nothing has hurt our Homelands more than they. Where once were Buffalo, now white-face cattle stand, where once the Elk Nation walked, sheep now crop. All of the Native Nations are now confined to small areas of land to make room for meat, or grain for the meat. For native humans the areas are called Reservations, for the other Nations native to this continent, they are “Parks” or “Game Sanctuaries”.

The circle of native life within these small areas we have left is very interconnected. Much more so than in the circle that PETA members know and see. Without the Deer Nation the Puma Nation disappears, just like without the Buffalo Nation my Ponca Nation disappears.

Although each of the Native Nations has been driven to near extinction since 1492, so far only we native humans have been attacked by germ warfare. Now PETA calls for the holocaust of germ warfare to be visited upon all the rest of the native nations in North America! Or can you possibly think you can contain the holocaust to only your enemy the meat industry? And maybe General Amherst thought his gift of smallpox laden blankets would only kill warriors. Not likely.

How many generations of our Native nations is PETA willing to sacrifice in order make a short lasting political point? After a short time the meat industry will recover, they will kill a few million or many millions, then develop a vaccine or put them in barns or clone them to be resistant. Prices will spike and the meat industry will be richer and more powerful than ever. But who can (or will) heal our relatives native to this lands. The sickness you would introduce will infect the deer, elk, moose, mountain sheep and goats, antelope and buffalo Nations. Will PETA label them a “vanishing race” and consign them zoos?

Perhaps PETA is so caught up in their war against meat that you have not considered the horrible effects of Foot and Mouth disease on the many ‘Nations’ native to this land. If so, you must move quickly to stop the holocaust you may have inadvertently loosed upon our Homelands. But if indeed you can find and twist moral reasoning out of the deliberate murder of millions of our Native American relatives, the ethical in your name is put to the lie. A PETA spokesman said he could not think of a reason not to introduce Hoof and Mouth disease to our Homelands. I have just given you over a million reasons why germ warfare is a morally repulsive act, which if carried out will place PETA in ranks of genocidal maniacs who kill to make a point. You will be killing my nation and all our relations…