Francine Straight-Arrow -- Teacher of Native American Spirituality


  Sundance Ceremony

  Pine Ridge Reservation - South Dakota

     The Sundance Ceremony for the Sioux Indians is the pinnacle of all the religious rituals enacted by the People.  It is the ultimate sacrifice and expression of unconditional love for the Great Mystery and for the People.

     Participation in Sundance is a four-day commitment for four consecutive years.  The dancers make pledges to the Sundance Chief, committing to dance four days, gazing at the sun, dancing in a clockwise direction around the Sacred Tree located in the middle of the circle.  During these four days, fasting from food and water, daily sweat lodge ceremonies, and piercing of the flesh are important elements in this ceremony.


     The year 2007 was the fifth year of the "High Horse Sundance Ceremony" led by Kam Lau Nightchase.  It is called "Wopi La" in thanksgiving and in honoring the Sundance Chief for the four years of service.

     In 2003, four of my students and I attended; in 2004, three attended; in 2005, there were five.  In 2006 there were eight of us from Louisiana who went to Sundance to support the dancers.  In August 2007, a group of six of us traveled to South Dakota.  In 2008 and 2009 there were nine of us who traveled from Louisiana.  In 2010 there were five of us.

     We have been deeply touched by the warm reception and family spirit of the High Horse family and friends.  The accompanying photos of our encampment and of the Black Hills will give you an idea of the beauty and wildness of the area.


Contact Francine Straight-Arrow at or telephone 337-228-7683  for more information.