Guiding and inspiring organizations to work effectively with Indigenous Peoples for an equitable world


Wolakota represents a central concept within Lakota culture, embodying the principles and practices of peace, balance, and respect. It is deeply rooted in the understanding of the interconnectedness of all life, as captured in the phrase “Mitakuye Oyasin,” meaning “all my relatives” or “we are all related.”

Wolakota is not only a philosophy but also a way of life that guides the Lakota people in their actions, interactions, and understanding of the world.


The concept of Wolakota encompasses a wide range of practices and beliefs, including:

Respect for the Earth and All Living Beings

This principle involves living in harmony with nature and recognizing the sacredness of the earth and all its inhabitants.

Living in Balance

Wolakota emphasizes the importance of maintaining balance in one’s life, including spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental aspects.

Peace and Nonviolence

It advocates for peaceful coexistence and resolving conflicts without violence, reflecting a deep respect for life.

Community and Kinship

Wolakota stresses the importance of community, kinship, and the interconnectedness of all people and beings.

Cultural and Spiritual Practices

It encompasses traditional ceremonies, rituals, and practices that connect individuals to their culture, spirituality, and the world around them


Meet James Rattling Leaf, Sr.

Lakota, CQ® Certified Facilitator: CQ Train-the-Trainer

Mr. Rattling Leaf is a citizen of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate (Rosebud Sioux Tribe), developing programs that utilize the interface between Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and Western science. He applies his expertise in Earth observation technology to convey how TEK can be used with Western science to address the impacts of climate change. He also teaches Cultural Intelligence methods, supports Indigenous engagement strategies, and serves Indigenous nations’ efforts through effective and respectful data application. He holds leadership roles with the University of Colorado-Boulder, North Central Climate Adaptation Center, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Group on Earth Observations Indigenous Alliance, and the Ecological Society of America.