Sacred Texts  Native American  Plains  Index  Previous  Next 


The Oglala regard the fourth holy day above all other days, for it is the mid-year day. They anticipate a joyful time on that day, whether on their part it is devoted to ceremonies or spent as a mere holiday. There fore, they are apt to be astir before dawn. Just before dawn, the herald should make a proclamation that the people prepare themselves to appear before the face of the Sun and all should bedeck themselves with their best attire and ornaments and wear or carry such insignia as they are entitled to have. As the Sun appears, the Shamans, Superior, and Mentors should be at the top of a nearby hill and greet Him as on previous mornings. Then a Shaman should invoke the Sky to give strength and endurance to the Candidates so that they all may dance the Sun Dance to its completion. Another Shaman should invoke the Bear God to give wisdom to the Superior and the Mentors, so that the ceremony held that day may be acceptable to the Gods.

They should then return to the camp and the Superior and Mentors

p. 112

should assemble in the council lodge to deliberate relative to the proceedings on that day. While they are deliberating, the vows of the young braves should be made in the following manner:--Young men who take part in this charge thereby obligate themselves in the presence of the Sun, each to do his duty as a warrior against an enemy of the people. The braves should form in line near the chief place of the camp and at a signal run to, and four times around, the Dance Lodge. They should repeat this from the north, east, and south sides of the areas. Then the people should assemble on both sides of the Sun Trail and the Superior and Mentors should go in procession from the council lodge to the Sacred Lodge, each intoning prayers to his Fetish as he marches.

Next: Preparation of the Candidates