LAKOTA LEADERS REBUFF CHEYENNE DECLARATION
MAY 10, 2003: Bear Butte, South Dakota:
Through the days of cold, driving rain the Lakota arrived at Bear Butte, South Dakota as best they could for the important fourth and final Protection of Ceremonies Meeting, this one hosted by the Cheyenne Nation and scheduled for May 10-11, 2003. Many Lakota Leaders who had planned to attend failed in their efforts on Saturday, stuck fast in the mud of South Dakota. Meanwhile, the scheduled sweat lodge ceremonies, breakfast meetings, and outdoor women’s’ circles didn’t exist, leaving the people who managed to get there to drive back and forth across the area, looking to connect with others.
And while they wandered and wondered, about 30 Lakota Spiritual Leaders, Sundance Chiefs, and other interested persons met with Chief Arvol Looking Horse in mid-morning at the Bear Butte Lodge, the large log cabin off Coyote Lane owned by the Sicangu of the Rosebud. Amidst coffee and discussion, the words centered primarily around the proposed Declaration and Request to the U.S. Government which would be presented later that day to the Lakota by the Northern Cheyenne’s Chief and High Priest, Bernard Red Cherries.
Clearly each person present was concerned that the Traditional spiritual ceremonies be protected yet most seemed to carry differing ideas as to the best way to implement that protection. But, in a rare moment of unity, the Lakota Leaders all spoke of their strong reluctance and disapproval of empowering the Federal Government to intrude or control or enforce spiritual matters in any ways other than those which already exist. They saw no need to change the existing 1978 American Indian Freedom of Religion Act. Despite the fact that Looking Horse was in favor of the Cheyenne Declaration, there was no question that the majority of those Lakota present were not.
[editor’s note: To read a copy of the proposed Cheyenne Declaration and Request, go to
Finally everyone moved to the Bear Butte Center on the other side of the hill. Filing in through sheets of down pouring rain, past the bronze bust of the late beloved Lakota Ceremonial Chief Frank Fools Crow, the Elder women and women of all ages were allowed to enter and listen (but not speak). Eventually, over 150 people entered that building, all in a peaceful manner, all seriously intent on hearing the words of the Spiritual Leaders.
There were numerous speakers…. Floyd [Looks For Buffalo] Hand, representing a group of Oglala Spiritual Leaders, spoke in favor of the Looking Horse Statement of March, 2003 yet also of the need to let each reservation handle their own spiritual matters and enforcement. Ponca Indian Activist Carter Camp warned that Traditional ways are tribal specific and in danger of disappearing if not restricted to the people to whom they were given. Southern Ute Sundance Leader Kenny Frost spoke of the need to protect and safeguard the Traditional ways for the future generations.
Bernard Red Cherries, Northern Cheyenne Chief, Sacred Arrow High Priest, and Elk Scraper Society Headsman from Portland, Oregon, talked of his loaded Pipe which lay in front of the Leaders and of the incredibly heavy burden he had shouldered for the last year as he carried his Pipe on this specific mission. His words described how he had loaded his Pipe a year ago with the commitment and obligation to bring awareness and help for the People to “stand tall again….. because without their [Traditional] Ways, they are nothing.” He stated his belief that his Declaration and Request to the United States Government was the means through which this would happen and that it was the “obligation of the Leaders to stand up for the People in this manner.”
Bernard Red Cherries, also known as Frank Reynolds and Robert Coltte, continued to relate that it is the “duty of the People to care for their Sacred Bundle Keepers who are holy.” He related how the Northern Cheyenne Warrior Societies take care of every need of the Cheyenne Sacred Arrow Keeper and the Sacred Medicine Hat Keeper from chopping wood, repairing roofs, and providing food to anything else the Keepers might need. He seemed baffled and incredulous that the Lakota did not do the same.
Chief Arvol Looking Horse, 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf C’anupa Bundle of the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota Nation prayed and spoke of the need to stop the abuses and the exploitation of sacred ceremony which is reaching epidemic proportions. Still standing by all the points of his controversial Statement from March, Looking Horse pointed out that he believes the Grandfathers might leave the Lakota People if their Traditional Ceremonial Ways are not restricted and protected. He stated his intent was not meant to be racist.
Oglala Spiritual Advisor and Medicine Bundle Keeper David Swallow, Jr., prayed and pointedly spoke of the need to honor the Sacred C’anupa and the Traditional Ways of the Sacred C’anupa which demand truth and honesty and which will turn on any who do wrong by it or who speak lies on it. In stirring words, he spoke that “the C’anupa is not a pipe…. that the word, pipe, is an English word which can mean many things. But a Sacred C’anupa is very different. The Sacred C’anupa is the Blood of the Ancestors and the Tree of Life, and it has its own laws by which a person must live. To apogi a C’anupa [to load a C’anupa], a person must not kill, must not have blood on their hands, a person must not have hate or jealousy in their hearts or actions, and a person must not ever lie or fool the People or else the C’anupa will turn around on that person.”
Then Swallow turned and asked the Leaders if they were “opposed to the White Nation or to the System.” He spoke of how the System had raided his Sundance a few years ago with guns and helicopters in a failed attempt to stop it and how, even last year, the BIA charged him $2000 simply to hold his Sundance on his own land in Porcupine, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Swallow was emphatic that he does not hate the white people but he “refuses to personally receive anything from the U.S. Government System: not money, not housing, not food, not anything.” And even though everyone (including the Lakota) must live in this modern world, not in the old ways, he still absolutely would not choose to live under even more of the Government System and he will not approve this proposed Cheyenne Declaration and Request.
Swallow stated his “Grandfather and Great-Grandfather never signed a Treaty and if the decision here to go under the U.S. Government, the Long Knives, was approved that he would not do it. Not ever.”
As the day wore on, more Leaders and concerned Lakota spoke. By mid-afternoon it was clear that the Lakota Leaders were not going to approve the Cheyenne Declaration and Request to the U.S. Government. As a result, and much to everyone’s surprise, Bernard Red Cherries chose to end the meeting and smoke his C’anupa with the other Leaders amidst the sound of pounding rain and hail outside.
No further discussion was held on the Protection (and Restriction) of Ceremonies issues.
Red Cherries stated that he was host of this meeting and his sole purpose was to seek approval and support from the Lakota Leaders for his Declaration and Request to the U.S. Government. Since that wasn’t going to be obtained, Red Cherries saw no further use to continue the meeting. He promised to continue trying to convince the Lakota in the future. Calling it a “sad day for the Lakota,” he stated that he would leave the building to join the Northern Cheyenne, Southern Cheyenne, Northern Arapahoe, and Southern Arapahoe Leaders who would all be signing the Declaration and Request document.
On Sunday morning, as baffled Lakota and other Native Americans continued to arrive at Bear Butte to attend the Protection of Ceremonies Meeting which was now ended, the sun finally came out.
Reprinted under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright law. Full copyright retained by the original publication.
Watch the Marie Elk Head Fiddler Utube video which totally negates any authority Arvol Looking Horses Proclaimation of 2003 would have over Protection of Ceremonies & the Sacred….Arvol Looking Horse is a FRAUD!
Nothing is more real than the woman’s superiority.
It is they who really maintain the tribe, the nobility of blood, the geological
tree, the order of generations and conservation of families.
In them resides all the real authority: the lands, the fields and all their harvest
belong to them; they are the soul of the councils, the arbiters of peace and war,
they hold all the taxes and public treasure; it is to them that the slaves are entrusted;
they arrange the marriages; the children are under their authority; and the order of succession is founded on THEIR blood….
The Council of Elders which transacts all the business does not work for itself.
It seems that they serve only to represent and aid the women in the matters in which decorum does not permit the latter to appear or act….
The women choose their chiefs among their maternal brothers or their own children.
Father Joseph-Francois Lafitau
Customs of the American Indians
compared with the Customs of Primitive Times (1724)
Arvol Looking Horse does not respect or acknowledge the Grandmothers authority over all tribal decisions, & none were allowed to participate here.
Please note all of the AIM members involved in the decision making & giving Arvol Looking Horse authority & support at this gathering. Floyd Hand Jr, convicted murderer & rapist, Carter Camp, murdered Ray Robinson at Wounded Knee & remains free so far, just to name a few AIMsters involved in the Proclaimation to continue AIM & Arvol Looking Horses hold on the Sacred, AIM & Arvol Looking Horse are frauds, among many other things illegal & sanctioned by the US Govt. Sept 14th 2011 is the date the further indictments for AIMmembers AIMleadership are to be handed down for their roles in the conspiracy to murder Anna Mae Aquash Pictou to keep AIMs secrets secret…like Peltier bragging to Anna Mae he shot the 2 FBI agents as they begged for their lives & were already mortally wounded, & Peltier bragged he shot them anyway!
END TO AIM & ARVOL LOOKING HORSES MURDEROUS LIES….Prosecute them, they have no standing in Traditional Tetuwan protocols & our Sacred Lifeways with the blood of the innocent on their hands!
Our Tetuwan protocols dictate no one shall carry a Cannunpa or participate in ceremony if one is caught lying, cheating, stealing…let alone murdering, raping or molesting children or women….this is what these men have done to keep control over our Sacred Ceremonies, keeping us sick with their drug running on reservations, all under the directive of whom AIM & Arvol Looking Horse serve…the US Govt.