The Four Worlds International Institute

A 1928 Visit With Tipi Sapa, Black Lodge and Sunka Kuciyedano, Low Dog, a Little Big Horn Veteran

 In the fall of 1928 we were living in the little town of Mobridge, South Dakota, just across the Missouri River from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.  When school opened in the fall, I went up to the local school to enrol in school.  I had never been in a school like that one, being more familiar with the Indian Mission Boarding School at St. Elizabeth on the Reservation.  Well, the first day I walked up to the school and entered a big room, much like a lobby. I noticed there were doors leading into several different rooms, a broad stairway leading to an upper floor, and a stairway leading down to a back doorway.  Soon a bell rang and all of the students disappeared into the rooms and I was left alone in the lobby.  After standing there for a while, I walked to the back stairs, descended to the lower level and since the door was wide open, I walked out and returned home. 

I enjoyed going to that school but after a week of it, I quit making the fruitless walk and remained home.  After some time my Tunkasila, my grandfather Tipi Sapa, Philip Deloria, said, “Takoja, I notice you around the house lately.  Aren’t you going to school?”  I said, “No grandfather.”  He very nonchalantly said “Oh,” and that was all that was ever said.

 Well, as I’ve shared with you before, that was the winter that old grandpa Low Dog came in October and stayed until April. This is what we call, “An Indian visit!”


Of course it was my duty to always be at grandfather’s side, as I’ve told you how he had great difficulty in getting around due to a stroke he had suffered a year and a half earlier.  Well, I spent that entire winter in the company of those great, old men, listening to them reminisce.  I heard so many great old stories of our Dakota people in their days of glory.  It seemed that every story had to be accompanied by a good song.

Late in the spring, my Aunt Ella Deloria returned home and she noticed me around the house every day. In the Dakota way, my aunt had become my mother, when my mother Lima Deloria, her sister died from TB when I was five. Of course the inevitable question had to pop up to which I had to tell the truth.  Aunt Ella then questioned Grandpa about my school status and he said, “Yes, he has been with me every day and this time with me will be more valuable in his life than the time he would spend in a school that my grandson doesn't understand the first thing about.  I am an old man. My grandson is just a young boy.  The things he has learned and will learn here with me, he can never learn in a school.”


Just as he said, I learned more in that year than I would have learned in any academic situation.  There are so many things to learn beyond academics that enrich our lives


Phil Lane Sr., Mato Gi, Brown Bear, Ihanktonwan Dakota, Jan 11, 1915-March 29, 2004


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Comment by Ilene DePoe on January 11, 2012 at 4:02pm

Thanks Phil, I remember your father very well.  He never ceased to amaze me. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to share time with him..I give thanks to the Creator for our time together.  Hope to read more stories of Father.  Sincerely Ilene at the rez.

Comment by Firewoman on September 28, 2011 at 4:21pm
Aho!! Beloved Dekshi...I love hearing your experiences and wisdom...I feel so blessed..I agree...the greatest wisdom about life doesn't come from a school but from the experiences of our respected Elders...Many Blessings and hugs, Tonja Firewoman
Comment by Janet Saxon Pieck on September 28, 2011 at 11:48am
You were truly blessed.Sadly I never knew any of my Grandparents.They left this Earthwalk long before I was born........
Comment by GERALDINE S ADAMS on September 27, 2011 at 4:55pm lucky to have wise adults around when growing up
Comment by Cree Dreams of Bear on September 27, 2011 at 2:23pm
I am intrigued that this occured near the time of my mother's birth on Sept. 8th, 1928. And I think how fortunate your father was to have this time with these awesome Elders. Truth is spoken here.
Comment by White-Bear on September 27, 2011 at 11:04am
Comment by Lee Mason on September 27, 2011 at 9:27am

Thank you for sharing this with us brother Phil, you are very fortunate to have had that time with your grandfather and yes there are so many things that are more important than academics.


Comment by Reverend Aimie Halo Foster on September 27, 2011 at 8:44am
What a Blessing it was to learn wisdom from your Grandather. He is right, you learned much more from them than from any school. Wado for sharing your story.

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