My name is Weeko, which means “pretty”. I am a Sioux Indian! My family and I live in the Great Plains.
My 5-year old sister: Angpetu meaning “Radiant, day” My mother: Chlumani meaning “Dew or Dewdrop” My father: Akecheta meaning “Fighter” My 2-year-old brother: Chatan meaning “Hawk” Me, 14-year old: Weeko meaning “Pretty” My aunt: Hantaywee meaning “Faithful” My uncle: Enapay meaning “Brave” My 12-year-old cousin: Mapiya meaning “Sky” My parents and me when I was young Picture 3
This morning, I woke up to my baby brother, Chatan, wailing. Mother soothed him until he stopped crying. My father told me, “We’re on the run, Weeko. Get packed.” Mother handed me the baby and asked me to watch him. We were moving the camp again. At times like this, I was in charge of the kids, instead of my parents. “Get in the wagon,” I told my little sister, Angpetu, and began to fold the teepee with Mom. I hummed a song while doing so. Gosh, I thought, I’m so glad these teepees are easy to pack up and go. I glanced at the pictures painted on the walls and then yelled, “Tepee’s ready to go!” The rest of the town would be ready in less than an hour. I grabbed our belongings and put the teepee in the wagon. I sat in the wagon with the children. The cool morning breeze whispered in my ear. The sun shown brightly overhead. “4 more teepees to go!” shouted my dad. “Let’s move,” my father said as the last of the teepees were packed. We were following the buffalo again today.
After completing the teepees, the women prepared meat. More work after the men get back, I thought. We will make more teepees and clothing. Also, we will have to prepare more meat. I thought of my father hunting buffalo. Oh, Great Spirit, please don’t let him get hurt, I prayed. I saw men on the horizon, and so I said a silent prayer. “Please let him be there. I swear I didn’t breathe until I saw my Dad’s sunburned face. I ran over to him and smiled. But I then saw many grim faces. “7 people lost.” Dad informed me. I looked to my left and saw other women crying. “Where is he? Where is he?” Women were saying, frantically searching for their loved ones. Last year, my cousin, died on a trip to hunt buffalo. Hunting was dangerous. You could get shot by an arrow, mauled, or other frightening things. I felt a hot breeze blow and I made my way back into the teepee. “Let’s go, Angpetu, to make dinner.” Mother said, and her daughter followed her. All the women in the household, including my aunt, tried to cheer my dad and uncle up. We laughed when my deerskin dress almost caught fire, and my husband imitated me and danced around, holding his shirt and leggings, pretending they were his dress. We laughed the night through. Our Sioux town Moving Picture 5 This is how we travel. We traveled 14 miles today, chasing after the buffalo. The buffalo serve as food, shelter, tools, arts and crafts, etc. None is put to waste.
Tomorrow we will do the Wiwan Yank Waki (or the Sun Dance). This is a very big ceremony in my tribe. We would have long straps attached to a tall pole and would attach it to a man’s chest. My brother will do this when he is old enough. My father did it in his early days. They will pray to the Great Spirit as they stare into the sun and dance until the leather thong snaps. Today is a hot day and there are no clouds in the sky. Tomorrow should be cooler based on the speed the clouds are moving. I woke to my father telling stories to the kids. I remember this one. It is called A Little Brave and The Medicine Woman. It is one of my, and my mother’s, favorite stories. Like most other Sioux tales, it is a fairytale-type story. It is a beautiful story about courage and braveness. I love when everyone thinks Brave’s a scary witch when he pops out of the bushes covered in mud. My family laughs as my father makes silly imitations of the people. He pretends to faint and scream. I chuckle and start cooking. My uncle should be hunting. I peek outside and see next door a man’s belongings are sitting outside the door. Oh no, I think. They’re getting a divorce. That is how we did it these days, putting the man’s clothing and things outside, where he would come home and find it. Across from our teepee there was a man giving a woman a horse. This is the way we get married. We get the horses from the white settlers, who trade with us. The man gives the woman’s family a horse. If the family accepts the horse, they can get married. If not, the man can keep trying to impress the girl or give up. My father married my mother when he gave her a pearly-white horse with dark hair. He told her a story about horses, and he said this looked just as the horse in the story. “The magic in the story, and then the horse,” My mother had told me, “How could I resist?” I don’t know, but I know that the kids are laughing so hard they can’t breathe. I frown when my dad coughs but he recovers and keeps acting. Picture 6 Picture 7 Picture 9
Another morning in the Great Plains. The sun hasn’t come up yet and it is freezing in the teepee. The children are sleeping peacefully with thick buffalo-hide blankets. My father is arranging a fire. I walk over to grab an extra blanket. My bare feet are cold against the hard ground. Suddenly, something hits hard against the teepee, sending a pang of fear through my cold body. My father jumps up, saying quietly yet rushed, “Soothe the kids, they will be awake soon. Wake you mother. Huddle, quick. Grab all the blanket, including that one in you hand. It’s probably a blizzard.” The fire has started and is heating up the room. The hot smoke is escaping through the hole in the top. The children are wailing because the sounds woke and scared them. “Shhhh…” I whispered, rocking them back to their soundless sleep. My mother begins making breakfast as I keep the kids calm. Aunt Hantaywee is helping mother with the cooking. “Chlumani,” she says, “Add extra… and … for …” is what she says. Well, Mother just called me to come over and help. See you soon!!! Cattle are dying from a blizzard. Picture 8
Too much snow is happening. If we are lucky, we’ll get a few inches. But some days, we don’t see the grass through all the snow. In spring and summer, all you see is grass for miles. At night, the colorful sunsets cast beautiful lights across the land. In winter, you see snow and the horizon is obscured. Where are the buffalo? They no longer roam in winter. Luckily, they will come back this spring. Picture 1
The buffalo have migrated. South, I believe. Too much snow is blocking us from our resources. Every night, the family barely has enough to eat. The children get the most food, as parents would sacrifice anything for their food. The buffalo will be back in spring, but in the meantime, we have sent out people on horseback to find as much food as possible. Sometimes., we can’t find them for days!!! Picture 2
This is crazy. The last blizzard we got besides this year was 7 years ago, when I was 7. And even though I am 14, I can barely live through the snow. We sent people out hunting 3 days ago and they haven’t come back. We had a blizzard yesterday, but that is all. The leftover snow is very hard to travel through. I am shin-deep outside our teepee, but areas under trees I am ankle-deep near the trunk. Out further, it can be up to knee-deep. Winters haven’t been this harsh since about 3 years ago. Hopefully, spring will some soon with warmer weather. The best we can do is huddle and wait a little while. Us trying to deal with the harsh winter weather. Picture 4
Father has been coughing more and more, and Mother is worried. We have to assure the kids he is fine as they play games. Uncle, Aunt, and Cousin have been staying with us the last month or two. Aunt is a medicine women and tries to help Father but I get discouraged when she talks worriedly to Mother. I pray to the Great Spirit every night. The future will be OK, but I know I will miss Father if he passes on. When he does, I know he will be the Great Spirit’s special storyteller. and
Life looks okay from now on. My reasons are: First: the white settlers that have traded with us are nice, but I don’t trust them too much. They only have killed a few buffalo, only that we know of, but they use them for selfish reasons and throw out most parts but the meat. Second: Like every winter, the buffalo migrate. But, when they came back there was not as many. Yesterday, we spotted some white men kill them. We were not very happy, but do not have any fancy guns or anything they have. Third: Father, as I said, has been getting even worse. His coughing is bad and he sits by the fire all night trying to warm up. At first we thought it was a fever but it has lasted too long. My aunt says when I get older I will look just like mother. She says, with a chuckle, I already look too much like her. And when that time finally comes I will be able to cook and “hang out with” with the older women. I am excited for this!!! I will be referred to as a “young woman” instead of a “little girl” FINALLY!!!
I think I will do fine on my project. I know I could improve, but I think I will score an A or a B+. I think I put too many details, but I feel like I got all the important information down. I could improve because I think my story got a little confusing. I was a little disappointed when my work didn’t save. I had many good resources because the Sioux are pretty popular. A lot of websites featured the Sioux and books, too. It seemed like Mr. Barber could get information on them without too much trouble! I am glad Mr. Barber gave us those templates—they really helped!!!
The Encyclopedia of Native America The Sioux www.radford.edu www.native-languages.org www.bigorrin.org www.20000-names.com Picture 1: www.old-picture.com Picture 2: www.rockwellmuseum.org Picture 3: fineartamerica.com Picture 4: mendotadakota.com Picture 5: hoocher.com Picture 6: www.llstudents.org Picture 7: upload.wikimedia.org Picture 8: 4.bp.blogspot.com Picture 9: publishing.cdlib.org