Native Sun News: Elders host ceremony at sacred Black Hills site

Elders and youth who attended Welcoming Back Ceremony enjoy a meal together after the event. Photo by Richie Richards

‘Welcoming Back Ceremony’ brings elders to Pe Sla
By Richie Richards
Native Sun News Staff Writer

BLACK HILLS –– Each year for the past 20 years, Leonard Little Finger and Richard Broken Nose have visited four sacred sites in and around the Black Hills to continue the restoration, healing and renewal of life for humanity.

Nearly 20 people gathered at Pe Sla for ceremony and prayer led by Richard Broken Nose and Leonard Little Finger, followed by a meal in Hill City to visit and share stories.

Discussing the ceremony Leonard Little Finger said, “This ceremony is the third of a series of four ceremonies, prayer stops in the Black Hills. It’s called ‘Welcoming Back’ and essentially covers all of the things that God has created.”

“The traditional Lakota name of the ceremony is translated as, ‘the juncture where peace and tranquility lie.’ And in today’s world, peace and tranquility is almost non-existent. I don’t know how it was back in the beginnings of time when the term was made. It references back to the time that they recognized that relationship with the stars,” the Lakota historian told NSN.

“In this relationship, the stars were of the night world. They were also looked at or referred to as fire. The juncture was also described as the manner that the tipi poles were set without the covering,” said Little Finger. “There was a triangle where the poles were tied facing downward and there was a triangle facing upward. That connection of the star knowledge is that what’s in the heavens is on Unci Maka, Grandmother Earth.”

These teachings have been handed down for several generations. “One of the first trainings was for a mother to take a child to where the tipi poles were shown. They were told you can go through where to poles are tied. The child looked at that and said, ‘I can’t go through there’,” he said of the mother teaching the child.

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