Afternoon: Wambli Oyate!

Okay, wandered back to the council area, took the five walking sticks we brought to donate (ones that Rick had made), and after they were admired, they were taken over to be given to the council members. We decided to stay in the shade of the donation tent for a bit, it’s roasting hot out here today, but there’s a good prairie wind blowing. An elder made offerings in the four directions, as people came in, and people left. Those who have to leave today have been honking and waving and flying flags all the way out of the camp and down the main road, not wanting to leave. We finally shifted ourselves closer to the council fire to hear the latest news. There’s a lot going on legally, with actions planned on the state and federal front. The National Guard is now deployed solely to “protect” the governor, who is so invested in oil, he may as well be made of the stuff. The word came down that martial law training was started in Ft. Carson in Colorado. U.S. Marshals wanted to come into the camp, but they have not been invited. The regular cops want nothing to do with us.










THEN, everyone in the council area started pointing and making noises, wambli oyate (eagle people) was overhead, and hovered over the council fire a while, then flew off into the sun – everyone was standing and following his flight, then everyone there went up to get tobacco to make an offering to the wambli oyate. It was an awe and emotion filled moment.






I watched a young girl make her own amusement, and caught some of the kites as we came back to our camp.




Click images for full size. © C. Ford, all rights reserved.


  1. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Off topic, but semi-relevant.
    Dakota flute-maker wins USA highest honor in folk and traditional arts.

    There was a time when Bryan Akipa knew nothing of flutes. But that was long ago, before the budding artist stumbled across a wooden mallard-head flute in the studio of his mentor, sparking a fascination that led to a career in both making and playing the distinctive Dakota flutes.

    Now Akipa, a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribe, is a recipient of the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts, the National Heritage Fellowship, which is awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Akipa, who will be recognized later this month during a ceremony in Washington, told The Associated Press that he had to read up about the award when he got the surprise call notifying him he had earned it.

    “On Facebook, my daughter put it on her page, and I think she got the most likes. I put it on mine, but I got a few likes,” Akipa said. “Everyone congratulating me is really special, especially since it’s for the traditional flute.”

    Akipa, 59, carved his first flute in 1975 from red cedar using a pocketknife, without knowing that it would lead to a career in music. After taking a break to serve in the Army and to finish college, Akipa became a teacher and began playing the flute for his students, as well as in different venues during the summer as a way to supplement his income. He produced his first CD in 1993, and he has since earned a Grammy nomination and won several Native American Music Awards.

    More of the story in the link.
    One talented person.

  2. Ice Swimmer says

    The black kite is a shark kite. A flying shark would be pretty scary (think of the huge appetite that would come from the exertions of flying). The multicoloured one looks so colourful beside it.

    The Seminole flag puzzled me a bit as it can look like the German flag if the white stripe on the top and the central symbol are obscured a bit.

    Love the shirt the speaking lady is wearing. Also, it was nice of the eagle to soar over the camp. From the photos and texts (not just this post) one can feel that people there aren’t just visitors or audience, they have a more active role.

  3. says

    Ice Swimmer:

    From the photos and texts (not just this post) one can feel that people there aren’t just visitors or audience, they have a more active role.

    Yes. Just before I went to stand in line for supper, Faith Spotted Eagle took the mic and said “We are not a camp. We are a community. 7,000 strong, a community.” And it is, you feel that the moment you are here, and that’s a brand new sensation for many people, it is for most visitors. I’ve talked to more people from somewhere else, like Chicago, who have said they don’t want to leave, they had never been in a place like this, and were pretty much in awe of the land, too. Seriously, anyone who has the opportunity to come should do so. This is not only history being made, this is community.

    There’s much fun going on. There’s a volleyball court set up, and a basketball court, swimming (in the river), and more. There was (is, still going) a rap concert going in one part of the camp from late this afternoon, now there’s drumming up on the hill at the community center, there’s been several ceremonies today, including one of the sacred seven ceremonies, make a relative ceremony, which makes us all related to one another, no matter the nation.

  4. rq says

    O, the eagle. That must have been beautiful.
    And the kites! I love kites.

    And I love that community aspect -- once you’re a community, how do they make you leave? How do you dismantle a town? I know it can be done, but it’s no longer as easy as just telling a bunch of loud protestors to leave. You’re putting down roots, and you’re putting them down hard, and what’s growing out of them seems to be something strong and beautiful.

  5. cubist says

    Completely OT, but… “Wambli Oyate” sounds like it should be the name of a Jedi master. Possibly a close friend of Mace Windu.

  6. Crimson Clupeidae says

    I love he juxtaposition and symbolism of the Guy Fawkes masks, painted as they are, and worn backwards like that.

    Did you happen to get any pictures of the people as they reacted to Wambli Oyate? The pictures of Wambli Oyate are beautiful, but I’d love to see the people reacting to him.

  7. says


    Did you happen to get any pictures of the people as they reacted to Wambli Oyate?

    Only in the photos after, as people offered tobacco to the Wambli Oyate in the council fire, which is a prayer fire. Never would have occurred to me to photograph people at that time.

Leave a Reply