In the Early 1900’s the slaughter of thousands of the wild mustangs of the Lakota by the US government was one more attempt to crush the spirit, culture and life of a noble people.
In the heart of the United States lies Pine Ridge reservation, the poorest area within the US, a community dying of broken promises, neglect, and poverty. Their statistics are those of a third world country. Fewer than 38% of their children graduate from high school. The average life expectancy is just 47 years, driven by dire poverty, unemployment above 80 percent, poor health and nutrition, a lack of housing and basic utilities, and tragically high rates of alcoholism, drug abuse and suicide.
“The Lakota people stand at a precipice. If something doesn’t change now we will soon just be pages in history books.” Lakota Educator, Pine Ridge reservation.
International and U.S. educators are working with the Lakota people on the creation of Sunka Wakan. Sunka Wakan is a project of The Academy of the Fox Cities, a 501 c 3 not-for-profit organization with the goal of providing premium life-changing educational opportunities for all students. The final vital step in the creation of Sunka Wakan is to raise awareness and the needed funds. This is a groundbreaking, innovative model of K-12 education that will address the dire and urgent need of the Lakota people. Sunka Wakan reinvents education for the Lakota. Sunka Wakan is built around the philosophy of grounding Lakota children in their traditional history, culture, and language while delivering the highest international standard of core curriculum education…a level of academics that, to this point, has not been made available to the Lakota Nation. Sunka Wakan directly addresses many of the barriers to survival and self-sufficiency faced by Lakota children as individuals … and by the Lakota Nation as a whole.
CLICK HERE to read more about The Lakota Cambridge School – Sunka Wakan.
To the Lakota, the horse became a vital friend that helped with moving camp, and had made the buffalo hunt a lot easier. The horse had also played a major role in warfare. In Lakota, the horse is called Sunka Wakan, sacred dog, or holy dog.
Prior to European arrival, warfare was much different than other Lakota wars that had been fought. War was never fought over political objectives, money, or power to control. Warfare was considered a rough “game” in which killing an enemy was not as predominant as “counting coup.” Counting coup meant rushing up to an enemy and simply touching him with your hand of a stick. In essence you were stating “I could have killed you, but I didn�t, and you couldn’t stop me.” This would bring the highest war honor to you and shame to the warrior that was “touched.” European warfare was new to us, especially since the phrase “body count” was not in our vocabulary.
Upon earning war horses on great achievements, a warrior would receive an eagle feather. An Eagle feather is considered to be approximatly the same level as a congressional medal of honor, only it would be treated in a more sacred manner, since the eagle is the spirit closest to the creator.
In the Lakota way, or Lakota religious practices, we worship one god or creator. The Creator is called Wakan Tanka, Great Spirit, or Great Mystery. We also refer to him as Tunkasila or grandfather. Everything else in life also has a spirit or being. All animals have spirit, all the elements, Mother Earth (Ina Maka,) the stars, the trees, everything animate as well as inanimate in the natural world.
CLICK HERE to join Spirit of the Blue Feather Group on FaceBook.