Annual Report from Mila Yatan Pika Pte Oyate Okolakiciye (Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Organization)

 

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This report is for the period of July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016.    Mila Yatan Pika Pte Oyate Okolakiciye (Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Organization) continues to provide a home/pasture for members of the Pte Oyate (buffalo nation) and the community continues to reap the benefits in its of spiritual and physical nourishment from them.

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Our relatives standing with a little one.  8/01/15

 

July 2015

The Wakanyeja Woapiye Wicoti  (Children’s Healing Camp) was held in Porcupine, SD on July 1 – 5.   Enrollment was set for twenty-five (25) children between the ages of 0 – 11 years but this number was quickly surpassed after an overwhelming response by parents, grandparents and guardians.  A total of fifty-one (51) children participated in the camp activities with thirty-eight (38) camping in the tipis during the camp period.  Children received a Wopakinte (spiritual purification) with some receiving a Lakota spiritual name.  Other activities included horseback riding, trips to Evans Plunge, a large, in-door swimming pool in Hot Springs, SD and to Mato Paha (Bear Butte), Sturgis, SD to walk to the top of the sacred butte to offer prayers.

We offer our deep appreciation and gratitude to all those who volunteered and offered their services, including the Students Shoulder to Shoulder participants whose organization is based in Denver, CO, and the Wisconsin based group Gunderson-Lutheran Medical Center.  We also acknowledge the tunkasila (grandfather) and unci (grandmother) spirits and the two wakan iyeska (interpreters of the sacred) for their teachings and for the healings received by the participants and the volunteers.

 

August 2015

The Lakota Wikoskalaka Yuwitapi  (Lakota Gathering of Young Women) was held in Porcupine, SD on August 10 – 15.  The camp offered traditional teachings related to becoming a young woman.  A number of them received their Lakota spiritual name and participated in the womanhood ceremony with the help of the Wakan Iyeska (Interpreter of the Sacred) Hmuya Mani and other women volunteers.  Other activities included horseback riding, talking circles,  setting up tipis, and a walk to the top of Mato Paha (Bear Butte), Sturgis, SD to take spiritual offerings.

 

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Journey to Mato Paha (Bear Butte) Sturgis,

 

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Young women  resting on way to top of Bear Butte

 

 

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Communicating with relative, the horse, and preparing to ride

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  Volunteers and some of young women participants

Awards received in various categories for their work in making the Young Women’s Gathering a success.  National Indian Health Board conference, Washington, DC, September, 2015.

 

September 2015

The caretaker continued to make weekly checks on the buffalo to ensure their well-being.

The suicides on the Pine Ridge Reservation have increased since January.  We continue to make our spiritual offerings and will work to assist the young people and their families by continuing to offer the healing camps for the children, the young women and the young boys and young men.

 

October 2015

Knife Chief Buffalo Nation co- sponsored a conference “Ending Trans-generational Grief in Native Families” on October 8, 9, 10 in Rapid City, SD with approximately 35 participants.

The conference was in partnership with the Tiospaye Sakowin Education and Healing Center.  This Center is comprised of four groups – Tasunke Wakan Okolakiciye (Medicine Horse Society) promotes Lakota lifeways with emphasis on Lakota language revitalization and healing; Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Society promotes re-establishing and strengthening relationship with the buffalo nation; Oaye Luta Okolakiciye (Healing Journey Society) promotes healing from substance abuse/chemical dependency; and Sung Nagi Okolakiciye (Horse Spirit promotes strengthening relationship with the horse nation.  These four organizations work together for the healing of the Lakota people.

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November 2015

We co-sponsored the Koskalaka Wica Yuwita Pi Wicoti (Young Boys/Men) Gathering Camp on November 6, 8, 9, held in Porcupine, SD.  Details of the event can be found on the website (same name).  This Camp is the second of two held in 2015 due to the great need of healing for our young males.  The first Camp was held in June.   We are so thankful and appreciative of all who volunteer their time, energy and resources so that the young people have this great opportunity.

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We worked on securing an agreement and partnership with the Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Authority for the lease of pasture for the buffalo.

 

December 2015

Knief Chief Buffalo Nation received a gift of 17 buffalo from the Devyn Strong Estate in California.  The buffalo were transported back and transitioned into the pasture.

We co-sponsored a conference on December 16, 17, 18 entitled “Utilization of Culture, Language and Lifeways to Impact our Children’s Education” as part of the Tiospaye Sakowin Education and Healing Center.  Conference was held in Rapid City, SD with approximately 30 participants.

The Conference was intended for service providers and those in the helping field, education, school staff, mental health, counseling, social services, social workers, youth program staff, and juvenile detention staff.

Knife Chief Buffalo Nation hosted a planning meeting after the Conference to plan for events and strategies to continue the work.

Will co-facilitate cultural learning sessions for the community on the sacred ceremony of the Wi Wanyang Wacipi (Sundance) and the Inipi (purification/renewal ceremony) .
Will begin the planning and preparation for the Manhood Ceremony to be held in the spring.
Planning and preparation is in  process for the following camps:
Young Men’s Camp – May 28 – 30

Children’s Camp – July 6 – 10

Young Women’s Camp – July 28 – 31

We are in the process of developing a partnership to help establish a Girls Preparatory School in Porcupine, SD on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
The caretaker continues to check on our relatives, the buffalo, two times per week depending on the weather and road accessibility.

 

January 2016

The Tiospaye Sakowin Education and Healing Center partnering societies met on January 24 and January 31 to collaborate on planning and scheduling upcoming activities.  A description of the societies within the Tiospaye was given in the October 2015 report.

The Knife Chief Tiospaye began the one-year mourning period following the loss of a beloved family member.   Sister Ardis Iron Cloud began her journey to the spirit world on January 11, 2016.  She was a co-founder of the Knife Chief Buffalo Project which began the development process in collaboration with the American Friends Service Committee to return buffalo to the land.  The first buffalo were placed in the pasture in 2001.

The Tiospaye Sakowin Education and Healing Center support the establishment of a Girls Preparatory School in Porcupine, SD.  Plans are underway to open the school in August, 2016 and to begin with sixth and seventh grades.

 

February 2016

Caretaker continued to make checks on the buffalo, pasture, and food and water supply twice during the week with weather permitting.

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March  2016

During this month two activities were held.  A Lakota traditional teaching was held on March 14 by Hmuya Mani, Interpreter for the Sacred.

A sacred site visit was made to Hinhan Kaga Paha (Imitates Owl Mountain) aka Harney Peak in the Blacks Hills of South Dakota.  A successful initiative was undertaken and led by two Lakota men to change the name from Harney Peak to Black Elk Peak.  Harney Peak was named after Army General William S. Harney.  Black Elk is a famous “holy man” as referred to by historians.  It is known that he climbed and stood on top of the Peak to do a vision quest, one of the seven sacred Lakota ceremonies.  (Note:  the Rapid City Journal reported on August 12, 2016, that the Federal Board of Geographic Names voted 12 to 0 in favor of the name change.)

Every year Native Americans from across South Dakota climb to the top of the mountain in March to take offerings of prayers and food to the grandmother and grandfather spirits.

 

April 2016

Knife Chief Board members attended the Oglala Sioux Parks & Recreation Authority (OSPRA) Board meeting on April 12 to negotiate an amendment to the pasture lease which was approved.

 

May 2016

On May 14 an annual visit was made to Pe Sla, one of seven sacred sites located in the Black Hills.  Offerings of food and prayers were taken to the site.

On May 18, a young man completed the manhood ceremony by making offerings of prayer and killing a buffalo.  The meat is used for sacred ceremonies and shared with people who receive blessings from this.

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Grandfather, father and brother support their relative (center) in the manhood ceremony.

In collaboration with other societies within Tiospaye Sakowin Education & Healing Center, Knife Chief Buffalo Nation supported the “Koskalaka WicaYuwita Pi” (Gathering of Young Women) on May 26 -29, 2016.

 

June 2016

On June 4 a trip was made with girls and young women to dig and gather timpsila (wild turnip) used in preparing sacred foods for ceremonies.

A sacred site visit was made to Pte He Hota (aka Devil’s Tower) on June 18.  Offerings of food and prayers were made.

 

Plans for Future Events

Final plans were made and work was done in preparation for the arrival of the Students Shoulder -to -Shoulder (SSS) group on July 04.  The SSS, the international school of global citizenship partners with the following NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations): Bolivia, Cambodia, Detroit, Kenya, Nepal, New Orleans, Nicaragua, Tibet and Pine Ridge  Knife Chief Buffalo Nation).   The Knife Chief Buffalo Nation collaborated with SSS staff during the year to provide a variety of experiences for high school age students from across the U.S.  One experience will be for the group to assist with the Children’s Healing Camp scheduled from July 6 – 10, 2016.

Preparations were made for the Young Women’s Camp which is scheduled for July 28 – 31, 2016.  The Young Men’s Camp will be held in October or November, 2016.

 

Conclusion 

This has been a year of challenges.  The Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Organization has experienced the loss of family members – two brother/cousins in October and November, and a sister in January. On the Pine Ridge Reservation, many families, extended relatives and friends have been impacted by the many suicide attempts, and by the completed suicides.

As of this writing, the Pine Ridge Reservation has also seen five deaths of young people since August 2016 due to violence, two were shot and killed by non-Indians; another two shot and allegedly killed by tribal member(s); and another person died as a result of being beaten.   The loss of a life due to violence is so sad but also so heartbreaking when young ones are the victims.  In July, 2016 a two-year old child was beaten and died as a result of injuries. The tribal council terminated three judges due to the situation which led to his death.  In a more recent case, two young children ages 4 and 5 years old were found in extreme conditions – described as “nearly starved to death.”  They were airlifted out and remain in a hospital off the Reservation.  Tribal official and various program personnel have met and are attempting to address these situations.

With all this in mind, it is evident that so much more must be done now to help with healing the people so that we will not continue to carry the burden of trauma and place this trauma on the tawacin (mind), tacan (body) and nagi (spirit) of the young and on the generations to come.

The sacred teachings received from our relatives, the buffalo nation, can help us to live in harmony and in a healthy lifestyle if we follow the teachings.  The Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Organization (KCBNO) will continue to participate in the reciprocal relationship with the buffalo nation, and will continue to work in partnership with other societies and organizations to host the children’s camp, the young men’s camp and the young women’s camp.  The relationships made with them continue thorough out the year and not just during the camp days,

We extend a heartfelt appreciation to the people who support our efforts whether it be 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 for their teachings, i.e., protection of the young, conservation of the land and the strength and fortitude to endure whatever is placed in our path.  Lila wopila tanka! (We thank you all very much).

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

Email:  [email protected]

Telephone:  605-441-2914, 605-407-0091

Website:  www.knifechiefbuffalonation.org

or www.villageearth.org look for Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Organization under Global Affiliate.

 

 

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