FOOLS CROW: Knowledge and Truth
Gift From The Ancestors
Authored by Suzanne Dupree
Introduction by Prof Calvin Dupree
We offer this book to you in the spirit of Tapa Wankaye Yapi; the seventh and final ceremony known as “Throwing of the Ball”.
This ceremonial game represents the course of a person’s life, which should be spent in trying to get the ball, for the ball represents Wakan Tanka, or all of the spiritual aspects of the universe. It is very difficult to get the ball, for the odds – which represent ignorance – are against you. A buffalo skin ball is painted all red, representing the earth. Blue paint, representing the sky, is used for the four dots that are made at the four quarters. This represents the material and spiritual aspects of the universe, and how they fit together.
A young girl standing in the center represents Wakan Tanka as eternally youthful and pure with no darkness. She also represents the first stage of the four stages of life, Mother Earth, and future generations. She throws the ball to each goal and everyone at the goal scrambles to catch the ball. Only one of those trying to catch the ball will end up with it. To receive a great blessing, each participant must choose to reach for the ball, while acknowledging or understanding that not everyone will be able to catch it.
Like the girl in the ceremony, I stand throwing the ball to people in every direction who may be willing to step up and reach for it, with prayers that those who catch it might regain their relationship with the sacred. The photographs cover several different days in 1971. This is the first publication of these restored photos. They may appear out of chronological order, but this is the way my father kept them and numbered them for a reason. Different people will see different things in each photo, depending on their relationship with the Lakota people, Lakota traditions, or with the people depicted. We offer no commentary beyond the simple captions, but prefer to let Wakan Tanka speak through these photo to each heart in a way that each is ready and able to grasp.
Through this, may you regain your relationship with the sacred. Those who catch the ball (Sacred Knowledge) bring “It” back to the “Center” of the Nation for “All People” to share in the Knowledge and Truth of the Pte Hincala Canunnpa Kin and its teachings and Sacred Life Ways. That was the motivation and reason for the five years of ceremony in the series of Sun Dance Ceremonies conducted by Ceremonial Chief and Holy Man Frank Fools Crow, beginning at Pine Ridge, South Dakota and completing in Green Grass, SD. With great thought, care, and risk, he, John Fire Lame Deer, as well as many others, my father Prof. Calvin Dupree – who had the proper vision at the 1970 ceremonies to carry the Calf Pipe and its teachings forward for future generations – was the reason behind this informative educational Knowledge and Truth they preserved in this amazing Legacy of The Pipe in photographs.
These brave and honorable Tetuwans aided this by their relatives, children, and all living things upon Mother Earth. We Tetuwan people in our Ancestors’ day always only allowed our finest young Tetuwan men and women at our most sacred ceremonies.
Back then, it wasn’t how much you paid to be there to dance and participate, it was the goodness of character, heart, and soul of our Sun Dancers, medicine and Holy people. What they did for good in their tribes and communities for their Elders, relatives, and traditional spiritual leaders; that was what was paramount. How our Sun Dancers of old adhered to our Sacred Pipe teachings reflected in the Sun Dancer’s success in completing the four days and four years of sacrifice in the Dancer’s Sun Dance commitment.