Oyate News - News For The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Community

Community Spotlight Column by Dustina Gill


Last updated 2/15/2022 at 4:16pm

The youth learning the Moccasin Game

Community Spotlight Column

by Dustina Gill

Han Mitakuyapi, Sitomni S'a Ya Pi Win emakiyapiye, Wasicu Caz'e, Dustina Gill. I come from the Gill, Abraham, Seaboy and Cloud tiwahes.

I will be doing a weekly community spotlight feature for the Sota. It may be a current topic or it might be Ehanna, something from long ago. Included in this will be spotlights of our enrolled relatives living on and off the Lake Traverse Reservation. The focus will always be around our Dakota way of life. If you are interested, or have a relative you think would like to be featured, email me at [email protected] These can be done over the phone as well.

This weeks topic is Waniyetu, Winter and a brief share of what happens during this season for us Dakotapi.

Ehanna, we stayed in the tipi's or lodges and worked on things for the year, clothing, moccasins, arrows, bows and other things, but the best of all for the children was the storytelling. After houses were built on the reservation families moved in together and helped each other through the hard winters. My kuns'i would tell us stories of how the families prepared all summer and fall for winter and would come together for the duration of winters. There was no tv then so each night was filled with storytelling around the kerosene lamps by their grandparents.

Contemporary times those things continued with families and also moved into a community setting because along with the times changed family structures and not all families were able to do it as much. Today, due to Covid, storytelling has moved online and is even more available to people everywhere on the planet. So are the teachings of how to make moccasins, quilling, beading and just about everything you can think of. As Dakotapi we were very innovative and progressive with how we did things. If we do not have the resources to learn something at home, we can probably find someone to teach us online.

Canpopapi Wi, Moon of Popping Trees is known to some Dakota as January, or it is called Witehi Wi, Hard Moon. Either way it's the coldest time of the year, when it gets so cold the trees will pop. Which also means, the ice is hard enough for fishing and to play winter games.

As we were told when moving through life, Takuwas'tes'te. Whatever it is, Make it good.



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