Sunday, July 25, 2021

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2021 Wakinyan Maza Wokiksuye (Iron Lightning Memorial) celebrates family, veterans, and the return of a piece of history


Above: Far Rear L-R: Dana Dupris, Nakai Red Dog, Jared Red Dog, Jay Clark, Jenny Dupris, Marcus Goodlow. Standing L-R: Ahanni Knight (Miss Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe), Cynthia Cook, Benita Clark, Gertie Lafferty, Carlee Medicine Blanket, Amelia Curley (hands on shoulders of granddaughter), Joan Curley,  Barbara Twiss, Ruby Shore, Carol Knight, Jay Cook, Connie Dupris, Cy Cook, Sid Lighting Fire, Quintessa Lightning Fire, Tina Shields (Miss Kul Wicasa Sioux Tribe), ShaHayla Lofton, Tripp Schrempp with Skyler Alberts on his shoulders, Wakinyan Peta. Kneeling: Rosie Little Hawk (second from left), many takojas. 

Please contact the West River Eagle to fill in the names of the rest of the family members! Wophila!

Over 100 people gathered in Iron Lightning on July Fourth to celebrate the 36th Annual Wakinyan Maza Wokiksuye (Iron Lighting Memorial). Events included traditional dancing, a foot races, a walk for diabetes awareness, Lakota handgames, a horseshoe competition, and suicide horseracing.

Memorial flags were raised in honor of fallen veterans and a Grand Entry honored living veterans. The day began with a celebration of Holy Eucharist and lunch hosted by the Cheyenne River Episcopal Mission.

The winners of the Boys Youth Road Race were Tripp Schrempp (first place), Keenan Clark (second place), Ezekial Marshall (third place). The winner of the Girls Youth Road Race was Tina Shields. Tina ran after leading dancing all day long. When asked where she got the energy, she said, “I’m young. And I have to run because there are people like Grandma Cynthia who can’t. So I do it for them.”

The winners of the Youth Handgames were Wamni, Misun and Inyan Afriad of Hawk. Second went to Rylee Miner, Kaisagarr Tavai-Fiatoa, Tess Schrempp and Leiliyah Thompson. Third place winners were Teneil Williams, Jocelyn Thomas and Maraloni Williams.

Participants in the Youth Horse Race were Elwin Bear Stops (first place), Andrew High Bear (second place), Wakinyan Bear Stops (third place) and Drake Dupree (fourth place).

The highlight of the day was a family gathering of over 40 descendants of Chief Iron Lighting/Wakinyan Maza (abt 1845-1921). 

The family came together to celebrate the return of a saddle owned by Chief Iron Lighting/Wakiyan Maza and ridden by him in the Battle of Greasy Grass/The Little Big Horn in 1876. The saddle returned to members of the Iron Lighting family after almost 100 years.

Iron Lighting’s wife Red Crane, also known as Shell Necklace, traded the saddle to Adolph Nelson in the early Thirties. The saddle has been in the Nelson/Moyer family for five generations since then. Robert Moyer of Yacholt, Washington, sought out the Wakinyan Maza family to return the saddle in late 2020.

Iron Lighting/Wakinyan Maza had 26 children with his three wives. Many of the descendants who gathered are from his second wife, Pretty Elk.

Pretty Elk had 12 children. In 1941 four were living, Grant Iron Lightning, Rose Iron Lighting Red Bull, Ellen Iron Lighting Red Bird, Gertie Iron Lighting Iron Bird.

Grant Iron Lighting and Molly High Elk had ten children, Cordelia Dupris, Florence Lafferty, John Iron Lighting, Amy Curley, Grant Iron Lighting, Jr., Caroline Cook, Teter Iron Lighting, Dale Iron Lighting, Delores Hartfield, Veronica Thompson.

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