SISSETON, S.D. (KELO) – The Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate tribe on the Lake Traverse Reservation has lost various members to COVID-19 in a pandemic that has hit Native Americans hard.
In an effort to bring hope and warmth to the families who lost loved ones to COVID-19, tipis were set up all last week at the SWO Memorial Park in Sisseton.
Alana Little Bird got the idea for the tipis from a similar event in her home state of Montana. For five days, tipis were kept up at the park with a fire burning nearby the whole time. At 5 p.m. each night the tipis’ lights were lit and a prayer was said. People were invited to offer prayers, ties and painted stones.
“It’s been an amazing journey. I’m getting a lot of good feedback how the community is just inspired by this, it’s beautiful. I think if we can just have people feel some sort of hope and inspiration, I think that’s what’s really the point of this, to let them know that we’re doing okay,” Little Bird said.
Each night a different group was prayed for from the youth of the community to the planet and everything around them.