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.