Last modified: 2002-09-28 by rick wyatt
Keywords: native american | oglala | sioux | united states |
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by Michael Smuda, 15 January 1999
The Oglala Lakota (Oglala Sioux) of Pineridge, South Dakota have a flag with eight white tipis arranged in a circle, bases inward so they form a star, on a red field. The eight tipis each represent one of the districts of Pineridge where the seven tiyospayes (family groups, bands) settled after being interned on Pineridge in ~ 1890 by the US government. They are arranged in a hocoka, camp circle. The circle is significant of unity and continuity. The red color has many significant spiritual connotations. It is the color of the paint used to decorate the face and hair parting in ceremonies. It is the color of the cloth used to wrap offerings to Wankantanka, God. It is the color that designates the direction north. An especially great day or holy day is a red day. To walk the good red road is to lead a morally upstanding life.
The four directions are always referred to in a specific order: West, North, East and South. The colors Black, Red, Yellow and White are respectively assigned to the directions, and also appear in that same order. In the 1970's it was said that they represented the four races of mankind (mixed together they become brown), but generally that idea is not considered to be traditional, rather a coincidence or modern fancy. The colors Blue and Green represent the heavens and the earth respectively.
Dax Damon, 29 May 1999