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Posts Tagged ‘Circle Of Life’

Cangleska Wakan: Sacred Hoop of Life

Native Americans perceive life as a series of cycles.  The Lakota speak of the Cangleska (Chan-gles-Ka) Wakan, the Sacred Red Hoop of Life around which they walked.  The United States government believed that the Lakota spoke of solely of religious beliefs which they dismissed as superstitious constructs.   The military would not accept that the Lakota  spoke literally of their physical environment.  In addition to representing many spiritual teachings, the small circular icons we see worn and displayed represented a literal relationship between the Lakota and their physical environment in the Black Hills of South Dakota.   It was the Lakota relationship to Black Hills that was considered sacred.

The Black Hills are a geological wonder. It is a wedge shaped land mass  that rises from the prairie in the western corner of South Dakota.  It is as though someone cut a piece out of the  Northern California forests and dropped them in the center of the western prairie.  The Lakota speak of a Great Race of Animals around the Black Hills, the tumult of which caused the Hills to rise from the floor of the earth(1)

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Lakota Hoop Dancer Lowery Begay

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Native American Hoop  dancing is a dance form where the dancer tells a story through his movements and the creation of various shapes  with the use of the hoops.  These forms include animal shapes such as  the eagle, coyote,  and butterfly, and other forms such as the sun, the moon and the earth.  The hoops themselves represent the never ending circle of life and the dancer’s relationship to all things.  A dancer can use from 1 to 32 hoops in the performance of this art.  

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