This council should appoint two reputable young men as akicita, or messengers, to other bands. These messengers should be provided with a sufficient number of invitation wands and presents, a pipe, and sufficient tobacco. An invitation wand is made of a sprout from a plum tree, about as large as the largest quill from an eagle's wing, and four spans long. Its smaller end should be ornamented with a design of such color and material as the maker may see fit, though all for one event should be so nearly alike that there should be little choice among any of them, so as to give no cause for a thought of discrimination in the invitation. The presents may be any objects of value, but their values should be nearly alike. The usual presents are tobacco.
The messengers should clothe themselves in their gayest attire and leave so as to arrive by daylight and in an ostentatious manner, usually singing as they approach the camp. When two thus approach a Lakota camp, they are recognized as messengers and the herald should announce their approach. When such an announcement is made, the council should immediately assemble in the council lodge, and the herald should conduct the messengers to this assembly. Then one of the messengers should lay a present at the right side of the place of honor and the other should fill the pipe, light it, and offer it to the one who sits at the place of honor.
This one should be the chief of the band, but it may be either of the councilors. If the band is not inclined to friendly relations with the band that sent the invitation, the pipe will be refused; if so, the messengers should take the present and immediately leave the camp. If the pipe is accepted, all present in the lodge should smoke it in communion until its contents are consumed. Then the one who sits at the place of honor should ask of the messengers the object of their visit, and they should give the name of the Candidate and invite the band to be present at the ceremonial camp. If the band cannot accept the invitation, the reason should then be given, and in such case the messengers should take tip the present and band it to the one who sits at the place of honor, as a token of the continuation of friendship. If the council accepts the invitation, the one who sits at the place of honor should take up the present and hold it in his hands, thereby pledging the members of his band to become constituents of the ceremony. Then the messengers should give him an invitation wand which thereby becomes a token to be redeemed by those who sent it by a feast to those to whom it was sent. When these formalities are complied with, the messengers should remain for one night in the camp as the guests of the band
invited. The messengers should in this manner visit each camp for which they have invitation wands and if they speak to other than members of the invited bands, they should verbally invite them to be present at the ceremonial camp. When the messengers have visited the camps according to their instructions, they should return and report to the council of their camp and then their appointment as akicita terminates.
Invitations are given in this manner to induce others to become Candidates to dance the Sun Dance and in order to estimate the probable number that will be present at the ceremonial camp, so as to make suitable provision for them. If there are Candidates in other camps, the procedure should be the same with them. The greater the number of Candidates, the greater will be the festivities, and the greater the number of presents given and received. Further, the bands which become constituents of the ceremony vie with each other in the prodigality of their feasts, offerings, and presents, and in all that pertains to making the ceremony a notable occasion. The Candidate, whose candidacy is first announced by messengers, will he the leader of the dance if his Mentor is a Shaman. Otherwise, the leader should be chosen by the Candidates when they are about to occupy the Sacred Lodge within the ceremonial camp circle.