This is part two of a four-part email series reflecting on each day of the Indigenous Wisdom Summit & Four Directions Ride, which took place from July 16th-19th in Colorado. The series will continue to unfold over the coming weeks. Check out our reflections from Day 1 HERE and stay tuned for more!
Pictured: Joseph Medicine Robe prepares to play the flute as attendees look on at Day 2 of the recent Indigenous Wisdom Summit & Four Directions Ride.
After the arrival of our Four Directions Riders and an honoring ceremony for several Tipi Raisers community members on Day 2 of the Indigenous Wisdom Summit & Four Directions Ride, Joseph Medicine Robe (Lakota) engaged attendees with flute & drum performances and a powerful talk centered on Indigenous spirituality.
“Come to the center.” Joseph invited the group to ponder this phrase as he began to share Lakota prayer songs and teachings. “Come to the center of your family, of your community. Come to the center of Turtle Island and the Galaxy.” As the sound of the flute and, later, the beat of Joseph’s drum echoed through the trees that shaded us, one could begin to imagine the days when Spirit, land, animal and human were so connected that they seemed to be synchronized to the same heartbeat.
While it may often feel out of reach amidst the challenges of modern life, that connection, Joseph teaches, can be tapped into through prayer. He explained that the Lakota word Wocekiya, often translated simply as “prayer,” can more accurately be interpreted as “establishing the Sacred Connection.” When we engage in Wocekiya, when we come to our center, the center of an emotion, the center of all things, we establish the ever-present Sacred Connection from which the world often distracts us. In this way, he expressed through a prayer song, we can show up with compassion and respect for all nations and all things. “How powerful it would be if we saw the sacred in one another.” - Joseph Medicine Robe
Wopila to Joseph for sharing such transformative teachings with us at the Indigenous Wisdom Summit & Four Directions Ride and for his willingness to sing and drum for our horses, riders, and attendees throughout the event! And thank you to Marty Chase Alone for sharing your prayers and your presence with our group!
Pictured: Joseph Medicine Robe and Charles Red Cloud drum and sing a wopila song as guests shake hands and offer gratitude to honorees from the Tipi Raisers community.
This is part two of a four-part series reflecting on each day of the Indigenous Wisdom Summit & Four Directions Ride, which took place from July 16th-19th in Colorado. The series will continue to unfold over the coming weeks. Stay tuned here on our blog and on our email channels for more!
Pictured: The Sacred Hoop collection of constellations, as depicted on the cover of "Lakota Star Knowledge" by Ronald Goodman, a book cited during Saturday's presentation at the Fiske Planetarium in Boulder, CO by Dr. John Stocke.
The first day of the Indigenous Wisdom Summit & Four Directions Ride took us to the Black Hills by way of a virtual experience at the Fiske Planetarium in Boulder, CO. As we gazed up at the galaxy from our seats, this journey across the stars took us to Mato Tipila (the Bear’s Lodge/Bear Butte), the site of the most sacred of ceremonies for the Lakota people - the Sundance. And for thousands of years, long before colonization and the arrival of the Gregorian calendar, the Lakota tribe has made its way across the Black Hills to Bear Butte at just the right time of year to engage in this sacred rite. The ceremony was timed according to the movement of the stars, with the tribe’s Star Keepers carefully studying the path of the Sacred Hoop collection of constellations - a celestial mirror that forms the shape of the Black Hills themselves and the geographic features therewithin.
The amazement and awe in the eyes of the Lakota elders in attendance - fluent speakers of their language who have known of these deeply spiritual teachings their whole lives, and who were seeing their spirituality affirmed by astronomical science demonstrated on the dome above them - is an image that will stay with us for a long time.
It was an honor to learn of this Lakota Star Knowledge from Dr. John Stocke and the Lakota researchers he cited, including Charlotte Black Elk. Our deepest gratitude to Dr. Stocke and the Fiske Planetarium for generously hosting us at their facility and for sharing such sacred knowledge!
Pictured: Tribal members and other Tipi Raisers community members sit under a vista of the sacred Black Hills at the Fiske Planetarium on Saturday, July 16th ahead of Dr. John Stocke's presentation on Lakota Star Knowledge as part of the Indigenous Wisdom Summit & Four Directions Ride.
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