Reflections from the Lower Sioux Indian Community Wacipi, 2021
(I thank the people of the Lower Sioux Indian Community for their warm hospitality. All photographs were taken by me as means of honoring this event, so important in the lives of our Native American friends. These photos are not meant for material gain and there are no links to other places on my website. If you see an image which may be offensive to Native Cultures, please let me know using the contact information included on this site and it will be removed.)
Cultural education and cultural humility are vital for me as a white man focused on being anti-racist. Cultural education means learning about the many cultures of the world. It may sound like a simple statement but before any learning is done, we need to acknowledge the existence of other cultures. When I acknowledge the existence of another culture, I see it. That is so important! There are so many times when racial minorities feel unseen, disregarded, and non-existent by the majority culture. I work every day to uncover and correct the cultural blindness of the falsehood of white supremacy.
There is much more to seeing a culture than with the eyes. Culture is meant to be experienced with all of the senses. Immersed, if you will. There are the smells of fry bread, the sounds of the drumming, the sensation of the very earth moving with the feet of the dancers, the sight of dancers representing all ages and abilities. All I need to do is have the openness of mind needed for true cultural humility. The traditions of Native Americans are equally as rich and vibrant as my own Scandinavian heritage.
To say that there was a strong connection to the sacred on the Wacipi grounds would be an understatement. I do not know much of the particulars – there is always more to learn. I listened to the prayers. I heard the respect paid to ancestors and elders. I saw the admiration for veterans. The gathering place itself was in the form of a circle. Everything and everyone connected. I was honored to be part of the circle. I leave the rest of this post to the pictures which tell the story much better than I can.