We Are All Related

We Are All Related Front Cover  

Front Cover

We Are All Related Back Cover

Back Cover


This is a book about values, virtues and principles for living. It encourages the reader to reflect on the purpose and meaning of her/his own life, to determine if she/he can see in the values examined something worth emulating.

These values and principles are examined in the context of those characteristic of the cultures of the pre-contact Indigenous People of North America. The text attempts to refute the erroneous perceptions and stereotypes about Native Americans by which we have become indoctrinated by literature and movies. It contends that most of the Indigenous People were intelligent, aware, self-sufficient, moral and deeply spiritual human beings who had much to teach White People, but the Whites, convinced of their own superiority, would not listen.

Perhaps there is value in “listening” now. Perhaps by examining the traditional values of these Indigenous Peoples we can learn how to make our lives more meaningful, less stressful, more satisfying, maybe even more spiritual.

One of the more unique aspects of traditional Native American cultures is the depth of understanding and appreciation of the interconnectedness and interdependence of all people and all things. This concept was often expressed with the phrase: “We Are All Related”, hence the title.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction


2. Concepts of Religion 


3. We are All Related


4. Balance & Harmony


5. Reverence for Nature


6. Sanctity of the Land


7. Respect for Elders


8. Rearing Children


9. Religious Ceremonies


10. Personal Honor/Character


11. Learning & Teaching 


12. Family 


13. Obligations to Community 


14. Respect 


15. Compassion 


16. Generosity 


17. Status of Women


18. The Sacred Circle of Life 


19. Gratitude & Reciprocity


20. Peace


21. Justice 


22. Personal Relationships & Friendships 


23. Humor 


24. Leadership & Government 


25. The Search for Meaning 


26. Wisdom 


27. Worldview, Values & Perspective 

Appendix A.  Brief profiles of influential Native American thought leaders and authors.


Appendix B.  Brief profiles of some Caucasian authors who gained the trust of Native Americans and documented their cultures, values and spirituality with truth and sensitivity. 199
Bibliography 206


Comments From Readers of WE ARE ALL RELATED

“In this book, the author has compiled lessons from the wisdom that shaped the way traditional Native Americans lived their lives. He encourages non-Native Americans to appreciate the cultures that practiced these values, and to consider incorporating them into their own lives.

Casey Church:

Doctor of Intercultural Studies – Fuller Theological Seminary
Member of the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi Tribe
Past Director of Wiconi, a ministry to Native American Peoples
Missiologist with NAIITS, an Indigenous Learning Community.
Author of: HOLY SMOKE, The Contextual Use of Native American Ritual and Ceremony. 

“WE ARE ALL RELATED is a well-researched work that demonstrates the author’s esteem for Native American culture,  challenges the reader to examine his/her personal values and principles for living, and to reevaluate her/his perceptions of Native American cultures and what we might learn from them.”

Ishwar Harris
Synod Professor of Religious Studies (emeritus)
College of Wooster
Author of: Gandhians in Contemporary India

What gives life meaning?  How shall we live our lives?  To answer these questions, we might do well to examine Native American wisdom and culture.   In We Are All Related, Larry Shirer brings to light the sacred worldview of indigenous peoples living on the North American continent prior to white people arriving on its shores.  And he explains the principles and values embedded in traditional Native American culture through the words of influential Indian leaders and Caucasians they entrusted to document their values.  (The appendices profile these leaders and authors offering the reader interesting accounts of familiar names such as Black Elk, Chief Seattle, Tecumseh, and others.)  Shirer’s extensive research focuses on Native American reverence for land, life, and relationships.  It fleshes out the concepts “everything is interrelated” and following “The Red Road.”   This insightful and accessible book presents a paradigm for choosing how to live a meaningful life.   

                                                  --Ann and Tom Hudson, Readers of We Are All Related

There are so many things I love about it – the information, the way it is well organized to be both readable and a reference, and the way it will lead me to further reading.

 Anne and David Biermann