<center>Letters to the Editor</center>
As a member if the Oglala Lakota Nation from Pine Ridge South Dakota, I am very much concerned about what’s going on in and around Big Mountain concerning the Sundance issue.
I applaud the Hopi Nation on their stance on not allowing this ceremony to be held on their homeland. Wopike. Thank you.
The Sundance is a very sacred ceremony to the Lakota, It is not a religion but a way of life. Wolakota is the word we use for the way we live. In the old days only men participated in this ceremony and only if that’s what vision they had. Not all Lakota men sundanced, for every person had a different purpose in life. Now days everyone wants to be a sundancer or a pipe carrier or even a wicasa wakir (Holy man).
I was related to a Holy man who is gone now but one time, long before he went south, he told me that all the true Holy men are gone now and that only wakan tanka can give a person the gift of healing.
After “Dances with Wolves” came out on the big screen, everybody wanted to be Lakota or Native. Now all of a sudden all these so-called Medicine Men showed up wanting to share their wisdom to whoever would listen, mainly non-Indians.
Now we have Sundances everywhere in this country.
It is very sad and embarrassing to the true Lakota who may wait all his life to be gifted a pipe of an eagle feather.
But yet in Big Mountain and other places in Arizona, Navajo and non-Indians are claiming one of our most sacred ceremonies as their own without knowing the true meaning of this dance.
It is not your way of life so you should leave it alone. This is a northern plains ceremony and it does not belong in the south.
Do you see the Lakota having Navajo or Hopi ceremonies? No, because it is not our way. I have shown many Lakota leaders the newspaper stories of what’s happening in Big Mountain and our people were very upset by what’s going on.
The way of life of the Lakota is a very hard life. A true Lakota will live the life of Wolakota everyday of his or her life, not just for a week during ceremony or when it suits them.
I encourage the Hopi and Navajo to come together and stop these ceremonies from happening on your lands, for nothing but conflict will happen, for the spirits are mad and they are sending their signs. But in this day and age nobody pays much attention to these signs anymore.
I also encourage the Hopi and Navajo police and rangers to set up roadblocks and check for tribal ID cards. Remember, it’s a federal crime for non-Indians to have eagle or hawk feathers.
Remember, a true Lakota Medicine Man will stay home and help his people for that is his life and there [are] only a few left who have the power – the rest only talk.
Dok’sha lake – Until next time.
Wayne S. Waters
Pine Ridge, South Dakota
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