One of the stories that my beloved father, Mato Gi, (Brown Bear) recounted to me, on many occasions, about his Grandfather Tipi Sapa, ( Black Lodge ), Philip Deloria, and his Great-Grandfather, Hinhan Wicasa ( Owl Man ) has always haunted me with deep meaning, inspiration and mystery. It had a direct impact on my father, who was raised by his Grandfather Tipi Sapa, and obviously on all of Hinhan Wicasa and Tipi Sapa's descendents, including my sister, myself and our children and grandchildren. It was not known outside our family until my Uncle Vine Deloria Jr. recounted this story in " Singing For a Spirit " in 1999. From my perspective it reflects the latent, restorative spiritual power in the " Soul " of all members of the Human Family. It is with understanding and purpose I share it with you now.
In 1856, when Tipi Sapa was about three years old, Hinhan Wicasa had to go on a long trip. When he returned, the women were all wailing and mutilating themselves. Hinhan Wicasa immediately knew that a relative had died. When Hinhan Wicasa asked the women who died they cried harder and ran away from him. He entered his tipi and found his beloved son's lifeless body laid out on a buffalo robe. Tipi Sapa had caught a fever and, in spite of the best the people could do, had passed away the day before Hinhan Wicasa returned.
Hinhan Wicasa stayed inside the tipi for a long time. People heard his terrible cries of grief but no one dared to go in and talk with him. Hinhan Wicasa had named my Great Grandfather, Tipi Sapa—Black Lodge—as a dedication to a black tipi that was one of the key dimensions of a life changing vision he had received on Medicine Butte. It through his spiritual experience within the Tipi Sapa that Hinhan Wicasa received his healing gifts and saw more than four generations into his descendents future. Now, with the death of his beloved son, his hopes for the future seemed to be futile.
Hinhan Wicasa finally emerged from the tipi, his arms and legs bloody with knife wounds of grief, carrying Tipi Sapa's body in his arms. He mounted his grey horse and rode off to a high hill, where he dismounted and began to pray. All night and all the next day Hinhan Wicasa sat there singing lamentations with his beloved son's body in his arms.
My father told me that Hinhan Wicasa spoke very gruffly with the Thunders. Hinhan Wicasa boldly said that he had done everything they had asked and told them that they could take anything of his except his beloved son. Hinhan Wicasa pleaded that they return him. Just about sundown the people looked anxiously toward the hill, wondering if Hinhan Wicasa was going to spend another night and day there, and also wondering how they would get Tipi Sapa’s body away from him they could proceed with the burial.
To their surprise they saw Hinhan Wicasa walking down the hill, hand in hand ,with Tipi Sapa, the grey horse trailing behind them. No one spoke a word as the two walked into the tipi and sat down. Finally, one of the women prepared some food and broth for them and the spell was broken. My father said that after this demonstration of his powers, people became very afraid of Hinhan Wicasta. Among some of his relatives of the Magaska Ptesan Wicoti ( White Swan Camp ) there was a strong sense of alienation because it was obvious that Hinhan Wicasa greatly favored Tipi Sapa.