We have been waiting to allow our Native American students to take part in what used to be a very common, easily created ceremony. With a burn ban in effect since the summer here in South Dakota, and without a staff person to be able to pour water for the sacred ceremony, Inipi – the Lakota rite of purification – was a rare occurrence at St. Joseph’s Indian School.
We now have a Cultural Specialist on staff to help our students, families and staff learn more about the culture of our Oceti Sakowin people.
Dave came to us in September. In the classroom, he has taught us to play the old hand games and has also worked with the boys and girls on the drum. He shares as much as he can to help staff learn too.
In addition to spending time in classrooms, Dave pours water for the Inipi ceremony. He was able to do this for our older boys (sixth grade through high school) just days after the burn ban was lifted. It is a ceremony of prayer. All areas of living beings are a part: rocks, people, four legged and winged. It is a gateway to learning more language and culture for our students.
We will take Dave’s expertise to the Lakota Nation Invitational in the hand games competition on December 21. A group of students who have grasped the hand game songs and way of playing will travel to Rapid City, South Dakota for the day and then off for a long Christmas break. We’ll let you know how they fair at the games!