World Peace & Prayer Day

All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer!

Following the birth of a White Buffalo Calf in 1994, the Keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe for the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota Nations, Arvol Looking Horse, was directed to honor the Four Directions with ceremony on June 21st. According to Lakota Star Knowledge, the birth of Miracle, a female white buffalo, signaled a time of earth changes and the coming of the mending of the Hoop of All Nations. The Summer Solstice is said to be a powerful time to pray for peace and harmony among all Living Beings. Mother Earth’s gifts, the air, water plant, animal and rock nations must be allowed to heal if we are to live in harmony with Her.

All Nations recognize Sacred Sites as Places to gather or perform private ceremony. For countless generations these Sites were honored, cherished and strengthened through ceremony and Our Mother remained healthy. To ensure the lives of future generations for all our relations, we must begin again to honor, cherish and renew Our Mother.

For four years, beginning in 1996, Chief Looking Horse honored June 21st by offering ceremony in the Four Directions. He traveled to Gray Horn Butte in Wyoming (aka Devils Tower), the Cree Nation in Canada, Pipestone Quarry in Minnesota and to Costa Rica. People of all the Nations of the globe were invited to offer ceremony at Sacred Sites. Thousands around the world have responded and began honoring their local Sites. Following the Wopila (Thank-you ceremony) in the “Heart of Everything That Is,” the Sacred Black Hills in 2000, it was decided that Chief Looking Horse must once again offer ceremony to the Four Directions of the globe. He began in Ireland in 2001, South Africa 2002, Australia 2003, and Japan in 2004. In 2005 the ceremony returns to the Black Hills to offer another Wopila on Turtle Island (North America) to complete his commitment to bring about awareness.

Sunka Wakan

We are a horse nation, we are buffalo people.

There is a mysterious connection between humans and horses. And nowhere is this more apparent then among Native Tribes of the Plains. The Lakota name for the four-legged who became so inextricably woven into the intricacies of their lives is “s’unkawakan,” or “sacred dog.” A name, reflecting the deep affinity among the people, and the animals’ role in their society.

Today, the S’unka Wakan Project strives to explore the mystery. Various Rides are organized with intent and purpose of their own. To bring awareness and understanding, to heal, promote unity, and to re-establish the historical connection among people and the horse nation. But the most incredible effect and transformation can be seen in the youth that participate. These young people experience significant change in their attitudes, toward others, their culture, their identity. They find their inner strength, maturity, and resolve through the challenges faced by the ride.

Unity Ride

Since 1996, with the initiation of the first World Peace & Prayer Day, the unity Ride began in the Joseph Bighead Cree Reserve in Canada and wound its way to Grey Horn Butte (Devil’s Tower), Wyoming. In the following years, the ride has moved on to other locations, recognizing many sacred and historical sites.

These rides incorporate more than just Riders, they create community involvement in the various logistical and support needs that the rides require to complete. Families of the riders, the communities along the routes, and interested supporters of these events, all gain from the meaningful experience.

Big Foot Memorial Ride

One of the most successful and challenging rides remains the Big Foot Memorial Ride. Initiated in 1986, after one of the original founders had a dream to retrace the historical trail taken by Chief Big Foot and his band in the winter of 1890 which tragically ended in the Wounded Knee Massacre. This ride continues each December.

The journey begins in Grand River near Mobridge, South Dakota, and winds its way 200 miles south to the Wounded Knee Memorial site in Pine Ridge. The two week ride, often in the sub-zero temperatures, challenges both horses and riders alinke. It was realized that when the youth participated, there was a noticeable maturing as well as a new understanding of their individual potential and contribution as Native people. Caring for the needs of the horses, long days riding, cooking and cleaning campsites, all became part of the character and cultural building experience that remained well after the ride. Prayer ceremonies are also important aspects of the rides, and the long journey over the open land created a greater sense of awareness and understanding of the Earth.


Our Commitment to the Future

As Chief Looking Horse travels globally attending conferences concerning environmental and spiritual awareness, it is more and more evident that the most important participants are not at the table, our Youth. As the inheritors of this Sacred Mother Earth, too many are not aware of the environmental impact that we face today and that science projects for their future. Because of their lack of involvement we want to create a Council made up of Youth from around the world to bring about greater awareness which they can take home spreading the ideals of sustainable living practices and responsible, respectful behavior within their communities.

We want to reach Youth that may have a viewpoint of hopelessness, to provide them with the necessary tools and an acceptence of taking responsibility to become positive leaders and role models. A Global Youth council with participants from throughout the world that would allow cultural exchange, while reinforcing each individual cultural identity. This is the dream. We feel that participation in this type of forum would encourage an exchange of ideas and solutions, thus establishing a foundtion for their creative ability to foster change in their own communities and on a global level.

We seek to:

reinforce the celebration and sharing of their individual traditional values and culture, thus promoting respect for themselves and one another.

give voice and empower Youth so that they may add their perspective to the global forum while assisting them in preparing for their future role as peacekeepers and caretakers of the land.

News – See More about the Youth Council.


Living Sustainability

A Lakota prophecy was given during the hard times of the 1890s. The Sacred Hoop – the tie binding the Seven Fires of the Lakota, Nakota, Dakota Nations – had been broken by massacres, starvation and the US government’s campaign to eradicate the Buffalo Nation. The Lakota Nations are direct descendants of the Buffalo and their way of life, culture and Spirituality are dependent on this relationship. The prophecy received says, in part, that the Seventh Generation would come together to Mend the Sacred Hoop, restore the Spirit of the Nations and unite all Nations to heal our Mother Earth. Now is the time of the Seventh Generation. Wolakota (Way of the Lakota) Institute willprovide a full-immersion education to bring these youth the tools, skills, knowledge and spiritual foundation to fulfill the prophecy.

Wolakota Institute will be created in the Sacred Black Hill of South Dakota, known as ‘The Heart of Everything That Is’. As a residential institute built by the student-teacher community, it will be a global model for integrated learning and sustainability. The curriculum will include advanced technologies, renewable resource technologies as well as traditional culture. It will provide an environment for the discovery of unique, individual gifts and talents and for utilizing these gifts to build a model for sustainable global community.

The Dream

The Plans

Facility Description:
The main campus will consist of five round buildings set in a circle in keeping with Lakota tradition. A building will be set in each of the four directions and the fifth will be in the center. Each building will have a year-round garden in its center.

Central Building:
The Central Building will house administrative offices and also serve as the center for Wolakota InstituteÌs global outreach program. This program will host meetings, workshops and conferences for the exchange of knowledge and resources between Nations with the goal reaching viable, life-enhancing solutions for our collective concerns. Wolakota Institute also hopes to serve as a model and mentor for similar endeavors in other communities.

West Building:
The West Building will house the center for agriculture and ecology. It will provide access to both traditional Indigenous knowledge and state-of-the-art technologies for the renewal of the spirit of the land and restoration of ecosystems. This will include the use of innovative “green” technologies such as solar and wind energy, micro power technologies and natural water purification. Sustainable agriculture will also be learned including organic farming, perma-culture methods and ancient Indigenous farming technologies such as those still employed by the Quechua people in the Peruvian Andes, the Kogi in the Columbia and Hunza people of the Himalayas. Included are plans for restoring plant and animal families to areas in which they have been seriously impacted by development or toxins. The root of these programs will be a deep communion with and respect for the spirit of the land.

North Building:
The North Building will be the center for creative arts. This will include traditional arts such as beading, quilling, hide preparation, story telling, weaving and pottery. Programs will also be offered using the mediums of traditional and modern sculpture, painting, drawing, creative writing, jewelry design, graphic arts and music. This building will also offer communication modalities using video, computer, radio and television communications. Opening students to their creative abilities gives voice to their individuality and allows them to share their worldview. This, in turn, can show them they have a vital part to play in the spirit of global community.

East Building:
The East Building will provide the basic core curriculum required by state and federal guidelines. This will allow the students to meet university entrance standards or to enter the work force with credentials. Classes in sciences, mathematics, literature and the government-sanctioned history augment the other programs and provide an understanding of how we created todayÌs world.

South Building:
The South Building will provide access to spiritual practices and physical education. There will be an exercise facility offering integrated, cross-cultural education in the many techniques for maintaining physical health. Nutrition and food preparation will also be made available and sacred plant medicine to offer an understanding of the health offered by our plant relations. Many forms of spiritual knowledge will be shared including, yoga, Qi-gong, meditations techniques, and sacred ceremonies for the health and understanding of the sacredness of all levels of being. The Seven Sacred Rites of the Lakota will be passed to the students.


Wolakota Foundation is the outgrowth of the annual World Peace and Prayer Day(WPPD) celebrations begun in 1996 by Chief Arvol Looking Horse. When Arvol was twelve years old, he was designated as the 19th Generation Keeper of the Tradition of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe. People of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Sioux Nation believe White Buffalo Calf Woman appeared to the tribes hundreds of years ago, bringing instruction in sacred ceremonies of how to live in balance with all life, and leaving behind a sacred bundle containing a sacred pipe of peace. She left prophecies about a time in which she would return again. The 1994 birth of a white buffalo calf is believed to have been the sign that these times were now at hand.

Following spiritual guidance, Arvol committed to a series of ceremonies at sacred sites to join people together in prayers and to share the message of his Tradition with others who shared concerns about peace and the destruction of the Earth. The initial objective was honoring the four directions with four annual ceremonies. The first ceremony took place in the West at Gray Horn Butte in Wyoming following a horseback ride from the Wahpeton Dakota reservation in Saskatchewan. Tradition holds that it was near this site White Buffalo Calf Woman first appeared. For this ceremony, over 2,000 people joined together, mostly drawn by word-of-mouth. In 1997, Chief Sundown of the Joseph Bighead Reserve in Canada hosted the ceremonies for the North. In 1998, the gathering moved East to Pipestone, Minnesota, another traditional sacred site.

Chief Looking Horse decided on Costa Rica as the site for the 1999 ceremonies. By bringing together native people of North and South America, it is also believed that this event fulfilled prophesies concerning the uniting of the eagle and the condor. Costa Rica is the home of the University for Peace established by the United Nations and, thus, World Peace and Prayer Day first gained international recognition. The original journey of WPPD was completed when it came back to the center for a Thank You Ceremony to the “Heart of Everything That Is” – the Sacred Black Hills of South Dakota in the year 2000.

Believing that the initial effort was complete, Arvol asked the Global Community to continue the ceremony at their sacred sites whether it is at a place of worship or at a significant geographical site their Nation or Faith identifies as greatly important. This handed back the responsibility of continuing the prayers and activities to the local people in each community and country.

After the 2000 ceremony, two English representatives approached Arvol with a request to conduct a similar series of ceremonies to further strengthen the message of Peace at a global level. This time, the journey would be around the world to the remaining four continents with a Thank You Ceremony back at Turtle Island (Americas) in five years.

This global journey commenced in Ireland in 2001, lending support to a country whose “troubles” are beginning to seek resolution, a country with a long tradition of Summer Solstice celebrations.

In 2002, WPPD traveled to Durban, South Africa working with the coordinating assistance of Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi. Many thousands responded to this event in a show of peaceful solidarity, celebrating their cultural and ethnic diversity.

In 2003, WPPD joined the Aboriginal tribes of Australia, honoring their most sacred site of Barumbuk, while bringing attention to the need for healing of their ‘lost generation.’

In 2004, WPPD will travel to Mt. Fuji, Japan to honor their indigenous connections to this very famous sacred site.

2005 will bring us back to the Black Hills for a final “Wopila” – the thank you ceremony. Here again, the responsibility will return to the people.

Wodakota News

Our year begins with the commitment to World Peace & Prayer Day, Japan. The Organizing Committee in Japan has been hard at work for the past 2 years for their June 21st celebration. Please see their website for specific information regarding the event: WPPD-Japan.

We are deeply honored and grateful to reknown Japanese artist Akino Isamu for this years’ beautiful artwork. The image – depicting the firery Mt. Fuji, the animal nations, and historic figures – speaks of their deep, indigenous cultural connection. Check out their website for more.

Horse Protection Campaign(you’ll need Acrobat Reader)

Arvol helps support the Horse Protection Coalition.

Wolakota Youth Council

The future looks bright for WYC.

Gratitude Page

Nothing would be possible without…..