Dakota 38 + 2

In the spring of 2005, Jim Miller, a Native spiritual leader and Vietnam veteran, found himself in a dream riding on horseback across the great plains of South Dakota. Just before he awoke, he arrived at a riverbank in Minnesota and saw 38 of his Dakota ancestors hanged. At the time, Jim knew nothing of the largest mass execution in United States history, ordered by Abraham Lincoln on December 26, 1862. “When you have dreams, you know when they come from the creator… As any recovered alcoholic, I made believe that I didn’t get it. I tried to put it out of my mind, yet it’s one of those dreams that bothers you night and day.” Now, four years later, embracing the message of the dream, Jim and a group of riders retrace the 330-mile route of his dream on horseback from Lower Brule, South Dakota to Mankato, Minnesota to arrive at the hanging site on the anniversary of the execution. “We can’t blame the wasichus anymore. We’re doing it to ourselves. We’re selling drugs. We’re killing our own people. That’s what this ride is about, is healing.” This is the story of their journey- the blizzards they endure, the Native and Non-Native communities that house and feed them along the way, and the dark history they are beginning to wipe away.

Understanding and owning our history helps us all move forward in a good way. People have struggled to do this forever. Sometimes it helps to have a “memory” piece or small item to remind us that we can make it – others have made it and we will too!

Assignment – We are going to sew a small leather pouch with beaded edge. Sometimes folks call these small leather pouches medicine pouches.
Traditionally medicine pouches would carry herbs and/or medicine (sage, tobacco, cedar, sweetgrass to smudge and give back to Mother Earth) that the carrier would use to connect with the spiritual world, the Creator. The bag could also include personal possessions such as belongings of family members or special mementos. 
You can use this pouch for whatever you choose. 

Participate in the demonstration and safety discussions before beginning project.

  • Sew the two pieces of leather together, using the whip stitch and Glover’s needle. Your Instructor will “knot the ends”  Keep even small stitches throughout.
  • Using a beading needle create the scalloped beaded edge. Watch demonstration. Keep stitches even and close together.
  • Using the beading needle, add a scalloped edge – 2+ colors, around the entire outer lower edge and upper flap.Watch demonstration.
  • Add closing flap and neck strap by fitting leather straps through slits provided. 
  • Write your name of paper and put inside the closed pouch to be graded.