Wahanpi. Photo: Native Sun News Today

Native Sun News Today: The legend of Wahanpi, the protest dog

RAPID CITY – Ahani (a long time ago), before there were horses, Sunka (dog) was sacred to the Oceti Sakonwin. Sunka guarded the tipi encampments, and pulled travois’ when the camp moved seasonally following the buffalo.

Each spring when the Wakinyan Oyate (thunder beings) brought magazu (rain) to replenish the wakpana na wakpa (creeks and rivers) and nourish Unci Maka (Mother Earth), an ancient celestial ceremony was held to welcome them back.

In that ancient sacred ceremony the Heyoka (thunder dreamers) were assisted by the sunka nagi (spirits) to bring healing to the Tiwahe. The Heyoka would prepare a sunkpala (puppy) in a sacred manner, then feed it to the people, which would bring them healing.

In May of 2014, at the Zero Tolerance Camp, at White Clay, Nebraska, a little sunkpala (puppy) was destined to become part of one of these sacred Lakota ceremonies to help bring healing to the Oglala Nation that has been ravaged by the plague of alcohol.

Beautiful morning here at the spiritual camp, are protecter wahumpi(dog) loves it, we pray for all of you,and thanks for supporting us.....Wopila

Posted by Chris Firethunder on Thursday, December 11, 2014

But the destiny of this little pup would change as he was destined to a greater calling, bring healing to those fighting the black snake, oil pipelines.

Dollar, a chow and golden retriever mix, had given birth to a litter of 12 puppies and the puppies were brought to the Zero Tolerance Protest Camp in White Clay.

One of the little sunkpala came and laid at feet of Chris Fire Thunder, an Oglala Lakota from the community of Porcupine. So the owner of the puppies, Lakota unci Wanda Siers, gave him the little guy.

“He chose me,” Fire Thunder said. “He was the runt of the litter. That’s when I first met him. I didn’t know they were going to sacrifice him at the Sun Dance ceremony. My mom was going to throw him into the fire.”

So that’s when the little sunkpala got his name, Wahanpi, which translates as soup.

Wahanpi and his new master would stay at the Zero Tolerance Camp for another eight months and as Wahanpi grew so did Fire Thunder’s love for him.

“When I first got him, he fit in my hand, Fire Thunder said. “We stayed in a tipi at the camp and he would lay next to me upside down on his back. His front paws were so big that when he ran he would trip over them, and would look at us embarrassed as if to say, ‘Did you see that?’”

After the Zero Tolerance Camp, Fire Thunder took Wahanpi with him to the Rosebud Reservation’s Spirit Camp which was set up to prevent the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from passing through Rosebud land.

There Wahanpi watched over the camp as well as two kittens, four chickens and even became father to his own daughter, Mato Sapa.


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Read the rest of the story on Native Sun News Today: The legend of Wahanpi; the protest dog

Contact Ernestine Anukasuŋ at production@nativesunnews.today

Copyright permission Native Sun News Today

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