Sun Dance in the Wild Horse Sanctuary

A project worthy of attention: Loretta Cook, a friend and teacher, is a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe. Every year she and others of her family, descendants of the legendary leaders American Horse and Afraid-of-Bear, hold a traditional Sun Dance during the days immediately preceding the summer solstice at the Wild Horse Sanctuary in the Black Hills.  Visit the website to learn how you can support this sacred project.

Loretta and her allies have envisioned and maintained this Sun Dance for many years now.  More than any process I know this reminds me of the restoration work described by John E. Cort, in the book Jainism and Ecology: Nonviolence in the Web of Life:

“Recovery scholarship will play an important role in developing Jain environmental practices, for narratives are more likely to inspire people to action than are abstract philosophical principles.  Myths and other narratives provide us with stories that both allow us to make sense of our world and to see how we can change our world.”

Cort then quotes Gary Nabhan as one who perceptively discussed the transformative power of narratives:

“To restore any place, we must also begin to re-story it, to make it a lesson of our legends, festivals, and seasonal rites.  Story is the way we encode deep-seated values within our culture.  Ritual is the way we enact them….By replenishing the land with our stories, we let the wild voices around us guide the restoration work we do.  The stories will outlast us.”

At the Sun Dance in the Wild Horse Sanctuary the wild voices speak clearly, the old ones are heard and honored, and the spirit of White Buffalo Calf Woman moves once again across the plains to restore and re-story the People.