Opinion

Vince Two Eagles: The Sun Dance came back to Yankton Sioux






Vince Two Eagles

Vince Two Eagles shares the story of how the Sun Dance returned to the Yankton Sioux Tribe in South Dakota:
Here is part three of four recounting Fred Zephier Junior’s account of how the Sun Dance was restored to the Ihanktowan Dakota people (Yankton Sioux Tribe) by his father’s actions. In 1976, Fred Zephier Senior, whose Indian name was Black Spotted Horse, brought back the ancient practice of dancing in the sun. So Fred Junior continues:

“Grandpa Zephier translated for the old Indians who struggled to understand the English language. He helped them understand the concept of land ownership [land ownership was a foreign concept to Dakotah people]. Those old Indians would ask him to go with them to the Yankton Agency because they couldn’t understand the English language.

“In the winter of 1972, Dad and I went hunting along Seven Mile Creek. We parked the car at Marty Dam and walked on the old road that paralleled the creek on its west side all the way up to Earl Kenyon’s old home stead. Earl worked as a farm hand for Marty Mission.

“Marty Mission in those days had a Catholic boarding school for Indian children. The Catholic Church at that time owned a lot of land along Seven Mile Creek and built up the home stead for its farm hands. The reason it is called Seven Mile Creek is that it flows from its headwaters for seven miles, give or take a mile, before it emptied into the Missouri River. Seven Miles Creek’s headwaters are three miles north of Earl Kenyon’s house and just south east of James Antelope’s house. The creek flows in a south westerly direction through a beautiful valley lined with tree covered hills on both sides of the creek. The creek was dammed up when the Government’s Work Project Administration program built Marty Dam in 1938. All that was left of the homestead, when Dad and I were there in 1972, was a shell of the farm house. Down through the years, Marty Mission sold most of the cattle and the farm house was abandoned.

Get the Story:
Vince Two Eagles: The Rez of the Story: The Sundance Journey (The Yankton Press & Dakotan 6/17)