Sioux Sundance

Rosebud Reservation SD / Wounded Knee 1972 / Crow Dog Old Medicine Man / Leonard Crow Dog (Son) and Russell Means  / Reel 1 and Reel 2 / also may have a still photo of me taping it. Transferred from 1/2" open reel.

00:03Copy video clip URL A man chops some dry plants with a large axe. A teepee can be seen in the distance. The camera pans around to show several other men nearby, some watching the chopping and two others standing near a smoke hut. A slow zoom shows a smoldering fire.

02:30Copy video clip URL A man moves fabric around the hut. A later shot shows the hut and a melody of singing voices can be heard from inside. A zoomed in shot shows a pile of rocks and bones. The fire continues to smolder.

03:35Copy video clip URL A man pulls the hut open, and you can hear a man say that the water they’re about to drink is the last water they are going to drink — and that it has been blessed by the gods. He then goes into prayer, harkening back to his ancestors. He says that the Sundance they are to do is done in the memory of his father. He also shares that the people in the hut with him are his grandsons.

06:15Copy video clip URL A narrator shares that the people in the sweat lodge are cleansing themselves with steam, prior to their Sundance. He also describes a few of the other things nearby the lodge.

07:30Copy video clip URL The narrator says that the members of the ritual will now have to spend the day outside in the sun without water.

08:20Copy video clip URL The leader of the ritual begins cleansing his grandsons with a stack of dried leaves. He instructs them on what is to come as he does so. He speaks alternatively in English and the Sioux language. He goes down the line, brushing each of the grandsons.

10:50Copy video clip URL The leader loudly sings, and the rest of the people follow along. They wear and hold various things. Their singing eventually falls into harmony. The group then begins to walk as a loud drumbeat begins. The camera pans to show a tree draped in sheets as well as the dummer himself. The group singing can then be seen in another part of the field. The camera continues to pan around, showing cars, the teepee, and other people.

14:38Copy video clip URL A large group of onlookers is shown watching the ceremony. The singing continues, and the group can be seen moving across the field. They continue to sing and walk at intervals. The singing pauses at times, but then picks back up.

16:45Copy video clip URL The line of participants passes in front of the camera and each person begins laying down the things they’ve been carrying.

18:15Copy video clip URL The group then lines up to face the things they’ve placed on the ground, as the leader stands behind them. He returns with a dusty substance in his hands, and sprinkles it on each person in the line.

20:15Copy video clip URL The leader speaks in Sioux to the group. The great peace pipe, he says, represents their Jesus Christ. For that reason, he says that they must care for it just as their ancestors have — no matter what tribe they are from.

21:39Copy video clip URL The leader instructs anyone who is sick to move to a particular place in the field. Drumming and singing begins again, and the leader returns to a position behind the main group.

23:12Copy video clip URL “There’s the eagle up there,” the leader says as he motions to the sky. A bird can be vaguely seen gliding through the sky above the group. They have all begun to dance, playing wind instruments as they do.

24:23Copy video clip URL The leader is show holding a baby child, and each member of the group approaches one-by-one. Singing, dancing, and drumming continues.

26:55Copy video clip URL A member of the walks towards a line of people in street clothes, brushing each on the head with wha the holds in his hand. Other participants in the ritual follow this first one, doing the same to each person in the line.

30:10Copy video clip URL Video ends.

30:31Copy video clip URL Tape ends.


1 Comment

  1. Nancy says:


    All my relations. I was at Sundance with my warrior for 4 years. Best experience of my life. It hurt our hearts when white people could not attend any more. But,Creator knows best. I smoke my pipe for Sundance past,present and future. I am proud to have been a part of It all. Still try to follow the Red Road. Saying special prayers for Leonard Crow Dogs passing.

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