Yellow Bird: Reviving the horse culture in the Plains
"Sunka wakan ah-ku, “Holy Horse Coming Back,” is the name of a program or maybe I should say a way of life that’s budding on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation in North Dakota.

It’s not a new concept but is new to this Dakota nation. It’s a revival of the horse culture, a culture that dominated the Plains tribes for many years.

From the excitement Jessica White Plume’s eyes, I knew this program fit well in her own life. White Plume is a post-doctoral research fellow at UND’s Center for Health Promotion, and she recently told me about her involvement with Sunka wakan ah-ku.

Like many in the health field, she was looking for a way to help “at risk” young people when she came across horse culture programs.

White Plume grew up on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, where many people have horses. They don’t necessarily ride or race the horses, she said. They care for the animals because horses are part of the tribe’s culture.

She grew up riding horses. They’re in her blood, said White Plume, who is Lakota."

Get the Story:
COLUMNIST DORREEN YELLOW BIRD: Program teaches Indian youth 'horse sense' (The Grand Forks Herald 1/14)

More Dorreen Yellow Bird:
Yellow Bird: Breast-feeding in public not indecent (1/12)
Yellow Bird: Two good resolutions for 2009 (1/5)
Yellow Bird: Staying on the holiday sidelines (12/30)
Yellow Bird: Tongue and other foods you don't eat (12/22)
Yellow Bird: Open doors beckon young children (12/17)
Yellow Bird: Fritz Scholder redefined Indian art (12/10)
Yellow Bird: Helping wildlife in North Dakota (12/8)
Yellow Bird: Thankful for family on Thanksgiving (11/26)
Yellow Bird: Whiteclay, a heartbreaking town (11/24)
Yellow Bird: Can't wait for delicious deer (11/17)
Yellow Bird: Racism doesn't end with Obama (11/13)
Yellow Bird: No smoking or drinking in casinos (11/10)
Yellow Bird: Grief the same among all cultures (11/6)
Yellow Bird: Turtle Mountain Band takes on abortion (11/3)
Yellow Bird: Negative ads poison Senate race (10/27)
Yellow Bird: North Dakota landscape impresses (10/22)
Yellow Bird: Feeling helpless about the economy (10/20)
Yellow Bird: Examine Native American Party (10/15)
Yellow Bird: Sen. Obama a presidential winner (10/13)