The Sundance as Told By Chief Golden Light Eagle

Yankton Sioux Chief Golden Light Eagle describes the Sundance, held at the Summer Solstice, one of the seven sacred Sioux traditional rites described by Black Elk in the book “The Sacred Pipe.”

Chief Golden Light Eagle describes various elements that make up the rite and their meaning. He shares the rite’s evolution which he personally witnessed, having grown up with the Sundance, both when it was illegal and legal. He sings two traditional songs from the rite and describes the dramatic changes he has seen in the Sundance as an evolving cultural and spiritual tradition. He shares his own insights and life lessons for right life and action.

The Chief also describes the history of the Sundance under the US government, since the end of the “Indian Wars.”

The Yankton Sioux’s Dakota name is Ihanktonwan Dakota Oyate, meaning “People of the End Village.” Historically, the tribe were the protectors of the sacred Pipestone Quarry for the Oceti Sakowin.


Interview conducted, recorded, and edited by Pat Schlarbaum, reporter for Pacifica affiliate KHOI Radio in Ames, Iowa.

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