AIS Majors Share Native American Traditions with BHSU Students

Three American Indian Studies students met to share traditional Lakota rituals and oral stories with Black Hills State University students in Thomas Hall Sept. 14.

The program’s activities focused on the Native American practice of “smudging” and the spiritual significance of Devil’s Tower. AIS students Ellie Froschmayer, Kevin Lewey and Jordan Jones shared cultural traditions with 17 BHSU students.

The AIS students began the program by inviting students to take part in the ritual burning of sage and sweet grass. They explained the Lakota belief that smudging the smoke from a burning bowl of sage expels the bad, while the scent of burning sweet grass returns goodness. Students stepped outside the lobby, swept sage smoke onto them and passed around a smoldering rope of sweet grass.

Students returned to the lobby area where the AIS students shared two Lakota oral legends. Both the legend of the “MatEYA? Thpila” and the tale of “White Buffalo Calf Woman” centered on the origins and spiritual significance of Devil’s Tower.

Thomas Hall Resident Assistant, Ariel Pozorski, orchestrated this program. It also included making Christmas cards to be distributed with gifts from the Angel Tree program in December. Pozorski followed up the meeting with a trip to hike Devil’s Tower on Sept. 18.