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Whiteclay Sundance

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Chelsea T. Morales ENEX 101.40 Michael Lukas-Revision November 18, 2007 Whiteclay Sundance Lodge It was only my first time experiencing the four day event of the Whiteclay Sundance ceremony as a curious onlooker. It was the final day of the ceremony and the dancers would soon be done with their spiritual mission and fasting. The ceremony took place in a lodge that was framed like a circle but with a flat top and made of a wood from the surrounding area. The inside was enclosed with walls of brush. It was open from the top with maybe only eight poles serving as a roof base, but still able to let in the blistering summer sun. So we all suffered under the blare of the scorching temperature. Some of the dancers had already collapsed from the heat, but refused to leave the lodge until their personal mission was completed. I was now seated on the right side where the women and women dancers sat, opposite of the men and male dancers. My body was beginning to ignore the heat on the back of my neck and I was now drawn to the sweet aroma of sage that had dominated every inch of the lodge. One of the drummers had gotten up and started to walk around with a shell full of burning sage for those who wished to smudge. ...read more.


I knew that they were given and not taken. I wanted to ask my grandma sitting next to me, but she was too deep in song. So I enjoyed the ceremony and continued with song without ever finding out. My grandma did tell me that the harder they prayed, the harder they danced, and the harder they focused; the closer they found themselves in the spirit world. So maybe the eagle whistle helped them to enter the spirit world, also known to us as "Happy Hunting Grounds". Still admiring the dancers I could see them physically there, but knew that they were detached from the current world and receiving strength in another. The dancers seemed to be seeking truths, understanding, and purpose. As I was observing the dancers I could see bandages stained red on the men's chests from the recent ceremony of piercing. During this sacrificial ceremony, two thin, individual cuts were made vertically on both sides of the chest or shoulders. The piercing materials, pegs and rope, were cleansed with an herbal medicine substance before they were placed into the openings of the slits. A peg would go through each of the two individual slits and then tied with a small rope on either side of these pegs. This piece of tied rope is then connected to another rope that contains a loop originating from the center pole. ...read more.


There was nothing left to feel, but vulnerability. I walked outside of the lodge and waited as the lodge keeper broke the dancers' fast with an offering of water. Filled with this natural feeling of vulnerability, I welcomed one of my friends with a big hug as she shared her gifts of watermelon and water with us. I found myself unable to look away from her every action; she had this calmness to her and was very soft spoken after she came out. We had both been in the same lodge, but she was much more serene, almost as if all the hurt she's ever felt was gone. She was a single mother and had endured many painful things throughout her life, yet at this moment she was able to feel at peace with herself. Before she had stepped foot into the lodge I could tell she had a lot on her mind and she was constantly pacing the ground of the camp. So I couldn't help but be curious about what had caused this complete change in spirit. As much as I wanted to know what she experienced and saw in the lodge, I knew that it was her secret to keep. One day I knew that I would have a true purpose to dance in the lodge and carry secrets of my own, but until then I would only support those who truly needed it. ?? ?? ?? ?? Morales 1 ...read more.

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