I would like to respond to Alfred Bone Shirt &
Vivian High Elk’s article in the June 15, 2007 in the Dakota/Lakota
Journal, talking about the traditions and sacred way of life towards the
First of all I would like to say that on June 21st World Peace & Prayer
Day and Honor Sacred Sites Day was a success, people all over the world
praying together in their own ways and own Sacred Sites. All nations,
all faiths, one prayer is respecting each other’s traditions culture and
religions. There is one creator and one grandmother earth that we all
share. We have gone all over the world once a year to pray with other
Indigenous Nations at their Sacred Sites and to the United Nations to
talk about prophecies and we as the first nations have committed
ourselves to maintaining our sacred way of life.
This year we traveled to Teotihuacan, Mexico City, Mexico. To offer
prayers to different Sacred Sites and pray at a place where over a
thousand young people were massacred in 1968.
We had a run to Teotihuacan. We asked for volunteers to run and we said
that we would help to raise $1,500 for each individual for the following
items: passport, running gear, etc, but because of the immigration
controversy nobody stepped forward and no money was raised towards this
effort. Just me and the family ran with the local runners in Mexico.
The other Pipestone Run on our Wolakota website was coordinated by Allen
Hare and Paul Rouse Sr. family. Paul Rouse Sr. has gone back to the
spirit world and the family honored me last year by giving me a brown
van and the family said that the young boys would continue running for
their late father. So there were two runs that we were involved with in
support of prayers. Their information with where to send their support
funds was posted on the website; no money was raised through wolakota!
Anyone can go and see that information for themselves.
We returned from a beautiful ceremony in Mexico City, a place which was
governed by the state, this year is the first year that we have lead our
staffs into the center of Teotihuacan to do our ceremony. World Peace
and Prayer Day opened that door to allow a ceremony to take place as it
did for Devils Tower aka Grey Horn Butte in 1996.
After reading what was printed in the newspaper, an ongoing confusion
which started on the Rosebud reservation on October 21, 2006 where a
traditional Treaty meeting took place. A resolution/petition that was
drafted by Vivian High Elk, Martina Looking Horse, Stacey Low Dog and
Alfred Bone Shirt was presented, but tabled and not accepted by the
elders in attendance at the meeting. Floyd Hand stated this fact in his
Lakota Journal interview last October about this controversy. Since that
time their attacks were very strong, so I had little choice but to put
the sacred C’anupa away. I am the only one that knows where it’s at. So
I put it under ground and now today that grass has covered it. When the
time is right, I will bring it back up.
The Keeper before me, my grand mother Lucy, put it away like that when
she had to pick potatoes in Nebraska to survive when no longer the
People supported her and also during the Wounded Knee era when our ways
were outlawed, that was done. Pte San Win spirit and help is still with
us all as we experience in our ongoing ceremonies, but this is what I
was instructed to do when problems come to the Bundle itself.
At the age of 12 years old I was given that responsibility by my
grandmother Lucy Bad Warrior Looking Horse and she told me that I would
be the last keeper of this C’anupa. During this time there was so much
prophecies coming in time like the Eagle and the Condor, the White
Buffalo Calf and all of the animals showing their sacred color and we
must be the voice for the animal nations.
There will be many false prophets; there will be a lot of earth changes
and climate changes, which would affect our lives and our way of life.
This spirit bundle, which I take care of, was handed down through
generations and because it is a spirit bundle it chooses it’s Keeper.
But many people have died protecting our Sacred Sites and ceremonies.
My father (Stanley Looking Horse Sr.) would go to the Sacred Sites and
pray with his C’anupa and as a young boy; I would go along with him to
help him. He helped me understand as a boy the importance of Sacred
Sites, as we are losing them to tourist attractions, people selling them
and farmers. Growing up in those times, some places we were not allowed
to conduct our ceremonies. I hope and pray that some day people would
respect our Sacred Sites like the Sacred Pipestone quarries in Minnesota
or Bear Butte in the Sacred Black Hills, where people are trying to make
Our struggles continue today protecting our Sacred Sites. But the women
who are my relatives have caused a lot of confusion, since that meeting
in Rosebud and up to the more recent article by Vivian High Elk & Alfred
Bone Shirt. Two traditional laws have been broken. The first law is that
our Lakota/Dakota/Nakota Oyate is a patriarchal society and the (women)
shouldn’t have ever overstepped the traditional headsmen that tabled
their resolution in October 26, 2006 and posted it to the public as if
it were passed and agreed upon. The second law, in our tradition is when
a woman was with a Non-Indian, they would have no voice within our
nation to speak publicly about our traditions, but they could still pray
and be among our people. So this stated in our treaties by our
ancestors. This is what I would like to remind our people of.
And for my sister Martina Looking Horse, I hope that she can go to
treatment, as many of our people have done to turn around their life and
get some help, because she’s been using since the 70’s and yet she tries
to be a voice for the Looking Horse family. My family can tell you that
she has never been on a vision quest or has Sun Danced. My concern is
her use has caused constant misbehavior with the viscous and untrue
words she does publicly; goes against our traditions and misrepresents
This whole conflict is happening because of money that these individuals
think should go to them personally and to others they convinced of their
hardship that is due, any money raised is for what efforts wolakota was
created for and the people involved in those efforts. There are other
state and non-profit organizations that help the concerns they have and
have helped them. They can also spend their energy on their concerns and
creating their own program, instead their energy to attack people.
I run ceremonies and my other half sits with my C’anupa in ceremonies,
so when did it become tradition to break up families or use jealousy
over children in the arguments in the public, because they are not
directly related. In our culture we never used the word “step” this or
that, when we accept a child or person as a part of our family. They
were always a part of our own tios’paye, family. This is what was taught
to me by my Grandmother and parents, as they too accepted people in our
In our tradition the eagle feather is the high honor among our people,
because it is the main thing that we must all hold to be a part of any
ceremony. If we drop an eagle feather we have no choice, but to pray to
our grand father and the Grandmother earth. There are protocols for any
sacred item and as a spiritual person, we take care of them or even how
we speak about them.
So when we talk about the sacred C’anupa we should remember the words of
Pte San Win, the White buffalo Calf Woman, a spirit woman; that only the
good shall see the C’anupa and that the bad should not even see it or
touch it. Since the meeting in Rosebud, Alfred Bone Shirt and them have
threatened to get the C’anupa and to give it to someone else, so I must
listen to what was passed down in knowledge when these things happen.
I struggle just like anyone else to pay to live in this society and
survive. I have chosen to survive by speaking of what our work is about,
as many of our own people that have earned that voice in being asked to
speak of education in many areas that concern our people. But I will
always stand by the protecting our sacred way of life, that the blood of
our people is not for sale as in our sacred stone and as well as our
ceremonies, my responsibility that comes with this position.
Our traditional ways are very strict. Today people are fasting and Sun
Dancing. During this time of our most important ceremonies where people
are looking for good health, it was always said to watch our words, as
words are sacred, they can do more damage then good to a Nation and also
misrepresent who we are as a People. Young People read these things and
this also goes down in history, this behavior makes our Nation look bad,
these are issues, traditionally that should have been handled in a more
respectful way instead of going out there in the world. Our native
newspapers should be a part of this too and check out whether it is true
or good for people to read.
Once again, I will tell our people that once you go into that (Sun
Dance) circle, you stay in there for four days and fulfill your
commitment. Our people can be strong people!
I would like to thank all of the people for listening to the few words
that I have to say today. Thank you very much.
Arvol Looking Horse
Eagle Butte, SD