Wambli Ho News: Special Report: Statement From:
David Swallow, Jr.,
Teton Lakota Spiritual Leader, Sundance Chief of the Medicine Wheel Sundance,
and one of the Headmen of the Lakota Nation Band of Wana Way Gu (Broken Bow)
Tuesday, June 3, 2003
Recorded and Transcribed by Stephanie M. Schwartz and Paula J. Gruentzel
Wambli Ho, Voice of the Eagles
Hau, Mitakuyepi na Mita Kola. Hello. Greetings my relatives and my friends.
My name is Dave Swallow Jr. That's a Christian name. And my Lakota name is Wowitan Uha Mani, Walks With Pride. I'm a Lakota. And ahthrough the Bureau of Indian Affairs and to all the way to Washington, the War Department into the White House, I'm known as U22981. That's me. And I live on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation [South Dakota]. I was born and raised there. Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is United States Prisoner of War Camp Number 344. That's where I was born and raised.
And I had a woihanble [vision] a long time ago when I was young. A vision was shown to me when I was young. And I completed the quest seven years. And after that, I have visited many, many different cultures; many, many different people throughout the world; not only here in the United States, but throughout the world. I pray with many, many different color of people.
Ohay. But today, there's been a something a happening in the C'anunpa. I've been reading many of these papers, and we talk about a H'ocoka [sacred altar]. H'ocoka is a sacred place where spirits come. And these spirits come from above, from God, Tunkashila. And there's so many H'ocokas. Each spiritual interpretator have their own H'ocoka of many different colors, like that. Each color represents a medicine that could help heal, whether it's body, mind, or spirit.
And so here, I want to talk about this H'ocoka. H'ocoka is given to us from the spirits. When you completed a quest, they do that. Nobody just go up 1 night on the hill, 2 nights, and come back with the H'ocoka. H'ocoka involve many, many sacrifices of your earthly wants. And if you know, and if you have a true H'ocoka, you will have the understanding of the spiritual world and this world. This world is also a spiritual world. It's no different from the spiritual, the other. The only thing is what we call the civilization.
So this H'ocoka is wakan, sacred, wakan. Nobody talks about these things. Nobody gripes about these things. So when we said "our H'ocoka," this is a H'ocoka for this whole Turtle Island here, and maybe the whole Mother Earth, everywhere we look, like that. So, when we talk about, and fight, and argue about the C'anunpa and the H'ocoka, and exclude people, other races. when this is happening here, then the Spirits never come. Because Spirits come when there is one mind and one way, like that. And Tunkashila, the Great Spirit, made everything, and made the trees and the wingeds, four leggeds, all man. All humanity is his childrens. And when we say spiritual and when we pray, we cannot exclude nobody.
I went to two meetings, one over in Eagle Butte, and one over in Bear Butte. And we have talked about things. We talked about white people coming into the H'ocoka. And we talked about surrendering our spiritual sovereignty over to the United States Government. And I object [to] both of these. But I also agree that all Lakota ceremonies should be run and led by Lakotas only, like that. Unless, if the medicine man or spiritual leader permits and gives authority. But if he gives authority, he has to keep in check with whoever he gives authority to.
And there's so many Sacred Ceremonies, it's not only seven Sacred Ceremonies. There's many Sacred Ceremonies. And some people that became wasicu's, Lakotas became wasicu's, they learn their wasicu way in university, schooling. And they came and they try to distract what was there for more than 1000 years. But they can't. They can't do it. Because this is Wowankan. And Wowakan comes from above. So, if we really want to get back into the old ways and maintain our language, it's not the white folks that's coming. White folks that's coming are helping us to understand their world, how things going. But if we really want to maintain our traditional ways, we cannot blame the white folks for doing this. But, however, there's a difference.. we call 'em long knives, black robes, welfare, schools, churches. These are the ones that are destroying the ways of life for the Indigenous People.
So if we want to maintain our language and our sacred way of life, we will all stand together and protest against this, what I have mentioned, like that. And if we are all in a spiritual family, then we should listen to the Spirit, see if the message is right. And there shouldn't be no arguing who is wakan and who is not, who is right and who is not. And if there's wrong-doers, then we will find this wrong-doer individual and maybe we could bring them into the ceremony and heal them. Because in the Lakota way, they deal with those. But in the spiritual way dealing with them is healing them, like that.
Ola ohoya, I'm doing. However I stand, that's the way I stand. And when I was in crisis (with government agencies, helicopters, automatic weapons, and armed officials trying to stop my Sundance) in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, ho as these, all they do is bark and bark, that's it. I still remember and I prayed for them so they will understand. And we shouldn't take no sides. We should all pray together. That's the only way we will see healing come to our people, all people. Heal body, mind, and spirit.
And if the Cheyenne brothers, if they have difficulties in their ceremonies, and if they need help from us Lakota people, they should do it the proper way. And if they walk with the C'anunpa, anybody, any person that walks with a C'anunpa, they should know what the proper way is. And if they don't know the proper way, then I would advise them to go up on the hill, 4 days and 3 nights, pray up there, 4 years. And go to the Sundance and stay in the center 4 days and 3 nights, 4 years. Maybe, if their hearts are in the right place, then Tunkashila might show them the proper way, like that.
Now those that carry the C'anunpa and have fork tongue and fire tongue, put water on your tongues, so it might cool it off. And if you carry a C'anunpa you cannot, you cannot be having fork tongue and fire tongues because the C'anunpa is wakan, the red C'anunpa. C'anunpa is a C'anunpa. It's not a pipe. "Pipe" is a English word for many things. But C'anunpa is One. That is a sacred object, the red stone, the blood of our People. When you carry this C'anunpa, you cannot hate, you cannot lie, you cannot kill, cannot have jealousy, ornryness. However, when you carry this C'anunpa, you should have compassion, forgiveness, reverence.
These C'anunpa has some laws that we have to abide by when we carry it. And if you don't abide by it, and if you have the fire tongue and the split tongue, then it is the innocent of your relatives who is gonna pay for this until you learn how to walk with this C'anunpa. So before we fight over these things and tell who's what, let's learn. Learn about it, all the way. And if we do that we just might see a glimpse of what spirituality is.
Otherwise, my relatives, my friends, before you come into the H'ocoka, and before you talk about it, and before you touch the C'anunpa, or the eagle feather, take a good, deep look within yourself and clean that out, and then come on in. You cannot carry this C'anunpa and do these things and be smoking' marijuana on one side and having alcohol, beer on the other side, or have a hatred there. You cannot have this while you carry this C'anunpa. That is why it says the C'anunpa is very hard to carry.
My grandfather said one time, "you are a very pitiful man, but you gonna carry a C'anunpa." So today I walk in humble and be in peace within myself, among people. I never hate nobody. I never will. I hear from above the message that come down. And all things that fly, and all four-leggeds, the grass, everything that's made by Tunkashila, God, we're all wotakuye [we're all relatives]. In the eyes of the Creator, there is no color. But there is spirit. We should all come together, and truly from the heart, we opagi this C'anunpa. Then, we could all say Mitakuye Oyasin. Aho.
David Swallow, Jr.
June 3, 2003