Tribal Meetings

What does Wakonda mean?

When Anopi’s greet each other, we say wakonda. It’s our own unique way of saying hello. But it’s more than that. Wakonda also means goodbye, peace, thanks, and even, it’s all good, dude. Wakonda represents ‘The power above,’ the great mystery to the Sioux, the supreme hunters and warriors of North America’s Great Plains. Wakonda is the source of all wisdom and power, the everlasting fountain that sustains the world and enlightens the medicine man. Use it next time you bump into another Anopi member. Until then, wakonda!

Selecting a location for your tribal meetings

Each tribe member will have the opportunity to host one of the monthly tribal meetings at their home. Meetings often begin around 7:00 p.m., giving everyone a chance to have a family dinner at their own home before attending the tribal meeting. Most tribes hold their meetings in the backyard so the kids have room to run around while the adults talk tribal business. It’s a good idea to provide some basic snacks and drinks.

Tribal meeting customs

Traditions and customs are an integral part of every Native American tribe. Here are just a few that are practiced by all the tribes. Over the year, you’ll probably add many more. How you bring them to life is up to your tribe.

Talking stick

The talking stick should be one of the first crafts your tribe makes. It can be crafted out of anything you want. The more personalized it is, the better. If each child can participate in some part of the stick’s construction, it will have more meaning for every tribe member. The purpose of the talking stick is to teach our children to respect others in a group setting be learning to listen to whomever has the talking stick. And since the talking stick usually gets passed around, everyone gets a chance to speak and be heard.

Wampum

Wampum is money collected during circle storytelling. The wampum will be given to a charitable cause. This simple ritual is a great way to remind our children that there people in need all year long.

Indian names

Native American names are a fun way to reinvent yourself in the Indian Guides. You select your own name. Your name can be based on a funny story, a favorite activity or a favorite animal. Any name is okay so long as it sounds as if it is part of the Native American culture.

The parents meeting

The best time for parents to discuss tribal issues is at the start of your tribe’s meeting. While the kids are playing, you can discuss issues affecting the tribe. The Chief can share news from the Chiefs Meeting, and you can plan your tribe’s next event. Once the kids get rounded up for group activities, it’s hard to talk about any boring stuff.

Circle storytelling

Once the parents have finished discussing tribal business, corral the kids and begin the tribal meeting. Form a big circle with the kids on the inside. One by one, each child is given the talking stick, and using their Indian name, introduces themselves and their parent to the group. The kids can talk about just about anything. A popular theme is something fun they did with their parent since the last meeting. Once the child is done telling their story, they put wampum in the collection bag and pass the talking stick to the next child. Once everyone has shared a story, move onto your next activity.

Making a craft

Once circle storytelling is complete, why not take part in a crafts project? Craft ideas can come from anywhere. You can buy pre-made crafts at craft stores like Michaels. You can make Indian themed items like wooden coat hangers adorned with beads to hang your vest on. Or you can make seasonal food items like a mini gingerbread house or an ornament for December. Whatever your craft is, it should be something a small child can complete in about 20 minutes.

End of meeting rituals

There are lots of ways to bring your meeting to a close. You can sing a song, perform a chant, or just have a big group hug and say wakonda! Here’s how one tribe likes to end it’s meeting.

© 2016 Anopi Nation