for Visiting
the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe

By David Swallow, Jr., Wowitan Yuha Mani,
Teton Lakota Spiritual Advisor
Edited by Stephanie M. Schwartz, Wambli Ho News
© June, 2002  Porcupine, South Dakota
This is what I know from my Grandfather.  This is my Grandpa’s teaching, this is what he told to me:
Nobody goes to see the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe, the Sacred White Buffalo Calf C'anunpa, out of curiosity, nobody even thinks about it out of curiosity.  The only time you thinks about it is when you need help, the only time you mention it is when you need help, the only time you go over there is when you need help.

There are some preparations to be followed, too.  If you are a Lakota or a Spiritual person, and if your ancestors told you (your grandfathers, grandmas, uncles), then you should know.  But if they don’t tell you, then here’s how it is….

We have to go prepared for four days ahead of time.  This is what my Grandpa said.  You have to go four days ahead of time.  People went in caravans, in wagons and such, in those days.  They take their own wood and they take gifts to whoever is watching the Sacred White Buffalo Calf C'anunpa [the Keeper and their family].  They take food, wood, and sweat covers.  They sweat for four days before they go in there (into the C'anunpa’s lodge-house).  That is what was told to me.

And when they get done sweating for four days, then they make the offerings: tobacco ties and whatever they offer.  Then they go close to it: from so far, they kneel and crawl close to it, he said.  He said they pray, they talk to the Bundle, they talk to the C'anunpa there, and they put the offering there.

Then they come back down and have a sweat again to wipe themselves [so to prepare themselves] to come back into society.  And sometimes, on that night, they have a Yuwipi ceremony too.  And that is what my Grandpa told me.  It is very sacred, this C'anunpa.

It is very sacred.  If you’re not a Lakota person then I guess you don’t know.  Because all Lakota, we know this: [that] in all the worlds, this is highly sacred.  So therefore, when they ask, nobody just go out of curiosity to check this C'anunpa out or even go near it.

I’ve seen it [the Bundle].  I know the Powers.  I know what it could do.  You know, Spiritual people and Lakota people, they know.  They don’t even think about it.  They know.  But today’s generation, a lot of the relatives grew up in an undisciplined way.  We call it the education.  They forgot about the Tradition, the Old Ways.  They forgot about it.  So, when they go to school, colleges, university they read books about Einstein and whoever and then they come back with a Wasichu mind.  And then, curiosity is in there.  See?

So if you are Lakota or a Spiritual person, good.  But if you’re not, learn to use the ears.  Learn.  Come talk to the real person, not the politicians, not the college centers.  You cannot institutionalize this Old Way.  There is no way, you cannot institutionalize because, as we know in the Old Way, Wakan Tanka gave this to us, the Lakota Way of Life.  I live that way of life every day.  I use my Lakota mind. 

I only went to school through the fourth grade.  After that, I was raised in the Lakota way, the language and everything.  When I was small, they said I don’t have the right education so I’m going to amount to nothing.  But it’s not the “right” education that’s going to make you something; it is going to contaminate you.  But it is the Lakota mind and the language that will make you something which the Creator will recognize.

So before we could think about the Sacred White Buffalo Calf C'anunpa, or go near it, we have to, we have to become one within ourselves and know how to approach it.  Ask somebody, ask the old people, one of the old people.  We have two kinds of old people:  one just grows old without the wisdom and the other one is with wisdom.  So we have to be careful, now, in this Seventh Generation.

Personally I have never seen the actual Sacred White Buffalo Calf C'anunpa myself.  But I have seen the Bundle, I have gone inside, but I have never seen the C'anunpa.  But I know the Power of what it is.  So if somebody out there has a curiosity mind, then he or she or they shouldn’t even go near the C'anunpa like that. 

HO.  This is all I’m going to say.  Washtelo.  Aho.  Wopilalo.  Mitakuye Oyasin. 

David Swallow, Jr., Wowitan Yuha Mani
June, 2002

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