The following is a description of an elaborate performance of the ceremony observed by the author. Fortunately, the interpreter at the ceremony was Bruce Means, who was able to interpret the old forms of Lakota speech. One of those made Hunka at this ceremony gave the information relative to the preliminaries, thus enabling the author to give quotations. The informant desired to be Hunka with a much older and experienced man in order that the latter might be his Hunka Ate, therefore be proceeded in the following formal manner. He chose two friends, gave them a feast, and requested them to convey his proposition to the man he wished as his Hunka. He gave them presents which they took to the man, telling him what their friend wished. He accepted the presents which was the equivalent of an agreement with the desires of their friend. Then the young man gave a feast and invited his two friends and the older man to partake of it with him. After the feast , they sat in a tipi around a fire of burning coals and the older man, being a Shaman, filled and lighted a pipe in a formal manner, moving it in circles four times over the fire and said, "Spirit Pipe we smoke this pipe to you. Let your power come to it so that the spirit in the smoke may go to the Taku Wakan." First he, and then the others, smoked in communion, each before smoking, moving the pipe in a circle four times over the fire, and invoking one or another of the Four Winds to grant a good day for the Hunka ceremony. Then the Shaman moved the mouthpiece in a circle, first pointing towards the west, then the north, east, south, and back towards the west again, and then upwards, said, "Tate, we offered smoke to your sons. Command them to give us a good day for the Hunka ceremony." The four then agreed upon the time and place for the performance of the ceremony and chose an old Shaman to conduct it.
A short time after this, the four went to the tipi of the old Shaman and there agreed upon the following organization for the ceremony. The old Shaman, by virtue of their choice, became the Walowan, or Conductor. He appointed a Wowasi, or Assistant, a Patapaowa, or Register, and the four agreed upon two men to have charge of the wands, two to have charge of the rattles, one to have charge of the ear of corn, and a drummer. They discussed as to whom invitation wands should be sent and such other matters relative to the ceremony as occurred to them. Soon thereafter the younger man sent invitation wands to such as were to be considered honored guests. All who wished might attend such ceremonies and would be welcomed, but only such as had received wands would be considered invited guests. In this case, the older man had little means, so the younger man
and his kindred, supplied most of the provisions for the occasion. He borrowed old wands, rattles, rod, and scaffold, for old implements of this kind were considered more efficacious than new ones.
The day before the ceremony was to be performed the author went to the place where it was to be held and found many people already there, their tipis placed so as to form a camp circle. Others continued to arrive that day, and all placed their tipis in the circle. A festive spirit prevailed and that evening the people grouped according to their inclinations, some to talk, some to sing, and some to play games. After dark, an old woman went to the top of a hill and chanted a warning to the wolf to stay away from the camp, and tell its master, Wazi, to do so. Then she ululated shrilly several times.