INTRODUCTION


"If it is not of the spirit, it is not Indian." The grandfathers have said so.

I am Dakotah; I, Chunksa Yuha, a Mdewakantonwan Dakotah, grandson of Wapaƛa and brought up speaking the archaic language.

I am Dakotah, a man in my seventieth winter and but three generations removed from the tribal rememberers, from the Dakotah grandfathers.

I am Dakotah, son of Tatekahommi; I, Chunksa Yuha, to whom Itesankiye, renowned healer of the Isanyati Dakotah, gave a name and a personal song.

I am Cunksa Yuha, one of the eight Dakotah boys to whom the old, old men of the tribe taught the suppressed songs and ceremonies, material suppressed for two hundred years, suppressed until now, until this book Hanta Yo.

I am Dakotah, raised by the grandfathers, kept out of schools and away from white contact until age twelve, thirteen, when I was entered in a public school to learn English. But at home they continued to tutor me in the Siouan dialects.

In the years that followed high school, I walked the halls of ivy-draped buildings to acquire knowledge of the whiteman's music, of the whiteman's way to record and arrange music. But I remained Indian in thought, word, and act. The grandfathers intended that I so live. For of the eight children chosen to perpetuate the ceremonies and songs, I alone am alive.

Blog image