MILA YATAN PIKA PTE OYATE OKOLAKICIYE
(KNIFE CHIEF BUFFALO NATION ORGANIZATION)
This report covers September through November 2012. Mila Yatan Pika Pte Oyate Okolakiciye (Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Organization) continues to provide a pasture/home for members of the Pte Oyate (Buffalo Nation) and the community continues to reap the benefits in terms of spiritual and physical nourishment from them.
We had two major events during this period, here’s a brief overview of both:
Ista Mni Wicakici Pakinta Pi (Wiping the Tears) Ceremony
Mila Yatan Pika Pte Oyate Okolakiciye (Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Organization provided a Wiping of Tears ceremony for the community on September 1, 2012 at the Porcupine Pow-wow Grounds in Porcupine, SD on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. This ceremony has been handed down through the generations to the Lakota people as a way of addressing grief due to losing a relative. It is meant to provide strength to continue the path of life despite the physical absence of the loved one. It is not intended to signify the end of the mourning period is intended as a way to comfort and acknowledge the loss of the mourners. There is another ceremony associated with releasing the spirit of the departed one after one year; this ceremony is not to be confused with that.
The Wiping of the Tears ceremony involves gathering those who have lost a loved one within the past year and having a spiritual leader provide prayers for them; having an Elder give them words of comfort and encouragement; having a designated person feed the mourners with spiritual food (wasna – a mixture of dried buffalo meat and chokecherries and chokecherry juice) and tobacco and the community (in this case, Mila Yatan Pika Pte Oyate Okolakiciye- Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Organization) provides a meal. The significance of the ceremony is to provide prayers to nourish them spiritually; spiritual food to nourish them physically and words, hugs and handshakes to comfort them emotionally. Drummers and singers provide Lakota songs for encouragement as well. One participant’s words were especially moving – “wopila (a Lakota expression of appreciation) for doing this ceremony for my children, they cry for their mother all the time and this will help them…” Due to the spiritual nature of the ceremony, no photographs were taken. As the ceremony was held prior to the Porcupine Pow-wow starting, I took a photograph of a beautiful little Lakota girl who was dressed to dance at the Pow-wow:
Wikoskalaka Wicayuwita Pi (Young Women’s Gathering) Cultural Camp
October 19-21, 2012
On October 19-21, 2012, in Porcupine, SD on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, a group of young women, their older (and some younger) female relatives gathered to learn about traditional and contemporary teachings on becoming a woman. Topics included putting up a Tipi and the significance of the tipi, leadership skills, Lakota relationship protocols, the importance of a Lakol Caje (Lakota spiritual name), the traditional and contemporary role of a Lakota woman, the impact of trauma, Lakota cultural responses to trauma, instruction on completing a Lakota crafts project, Lakota dancing and the changing female body to name several. During the cultural camp, one young woman received a Lakota name and one the last day of the camp, two girls went through the Isna Ti Awicalowan Pi (“They sing for her that lives alone”), a Lakota ceremony that marks the passage from being a girl to a young woman. This gathering involved many volunteers and was done in partnership with Tasunke Wakan Okolakiciye (Medicine Horse Society), which provided the facilities and grounds for the cultural camp. We thank the volunteers, Tasunke Wakan Okolakiciye, Pahin Sinte Owayawa (Porcupine School, who provided the shower facilities and a donation for food/supplies) and all those involved.
Mila Yatan Pika Pte Oyate (Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Organization – KNBO) entered into discussions with Western Buffalo Services (WBS) and came to an agreement on sharing resources. WBS will provide financial capital to assist with fencing supplies and KCBN will provide pasture and buffalo for future harvesting in exchange for their investment.
We plan on having a Koskalaka Wicayuwita Pi (Young Men’s Gathering) cultural camp at the end of November. This camp will focus on traditional and contemporary teachings on being/becoming a Lakota man. The agenda is attached to this report. We look forward to reporting on it in the future.
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We extend a heartfelt appreciation to the people who have supported our efforts whether financially, physically or spiritually. Your support is truly appreciated and we especially appreciate the Tunkasila (spiritual entities) for their continued support and guidance. We also acknowledge the Pte Oyate (Buffalo Nation) for what they inspire in us and their teachings – protection of the young, conservation of the land and the strength and fortitude to endure whatever comes. Lila Wopila Tanka!! (We thank you all very much). We ask you the general public, our friends and relatives, what you think we should do to expand our work so that others can learn from the teachings of the buffalo nation? We are very interested in hearing from you!