Oceti Sakowin-Pikiskwewin-CFNU Podcast Series

Pikiskwewin-CFNU radio hosts Amanda Leader, Lindell Haywahe and producer Will Yuzicapi were able to attend the Oceti Sakowin Conference. We live streamed the event on cfnuradio.ca and recorded sessions and interviews for on-demand on Pikiskwewin.ca and CFNUradio.ca

The Pikiskwewin: Sharing our Indigenous on Radio and Online podcast project is funded by Canadian Heritage and supported by First Nations University of Canada. CFNU is funded by Inspirit Foundation. CFNU is a streaming radio station operated by students and staff of the Indigenous Communication Arts (INCA) department at the First Nations University of Canada.

Day 1

Chief Arvol Looking Horse

Chief Arvol Looking Horse was born on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. At the age of 12, he was chosen to be the 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe. He is widely recognized as a chief and the spiritual leader of all three branches of the Sioux tribe. He is the author of White Buffalo Teachings and has been a guest columnist for Indian Country Today. A tireless advocate of maintaining traditional spiritual practices, Chief Looking Horse is the founder of Big Foot Riders which memorializes the massacre of Big Foot’s band at Wounded Knee.

Following the birth of a White Buffalo Calf in 1994, Arvol felt called to honor it with a ceremony on June 21st. The Summer Solstice is said to be a powerful time to pray for peace and harmony among all Living Beings. Arvol organized gatherings around Sacred Sites to collectively pray for the healing of Mother Earth and All of Us. That ceremony marked the beginning World Peace and Prayer Day! the 2024 World Peace and Prayer Day will be hosted by Arvol at Pipestone, MN, where the stone for the sacred pipes are quarried.


This Video was the beginning of Chief Arvol Looking Horse’s Presentation


Jim Red Eagle

Jim is Nakoda/Dakota/Lakota from Carry The Kettle First Nation living in the Black Hills of South Dakota with my family. The original homelands of the Oceti Sakowin Oyate.
He is 68 years old and a retired Professional Fire Fighter with over 32 years of fire service. Jim also worked as a U.S. Letter Carrier for the US Postal Service.



Henry J Quick Bear Sr & Sarah Hart

Henry J Quick Bear Sr – Sicangu spiritual leader & Lakota Educator of Lakota Language & Culture. Henry is currently the Lakota language teacher for the Lakolya Waoniya Project. He is a respected spiritual leader from Spring Creek community on the Rosebud Reservation.
Continuing the work that his grandpa Cetan Ohanko started, Henry is currently working on Lakota language reclamation as a language teacher and consultant for tribal programs.

Sarah Hart is a visionary Sicangu tribal member with a heart dedicated to Lakota education and Lakota empowerment. Born in 1980, Sarah’s journey began being raised by her Ina (Mother), Sue Four Horns and Unci (Grandmother), Alice Four Horns, on the Rosebud reservation. Her commitment and love for her people have led her to work for Sicangu Co, a unique eco-system (Rosebud Economic Development Corporation), where we build
up communities’ Lakota style. Sarah can assist in the groundwork needed for the communities, currently serves as program manager for Lakolya Waoniya and is actively learning the Lakota language. Sarah’s mission is to help preserve our traditional teachings, focusing on man

Janna Wilson & Sonia Bird

Janna Wilson is the Program Coordinator for the Certificate in Indigenous Language Revitalization at the University of Victoria. She is passionate about building strong relationships with community partners to co-develop programming that best meets their unique needs, contexts, and priorities. She has 20+ years working in education and has held previous roles as Director of Prevention Programs for Haida Child & Family Services, elementary school teacher, curriculum materials developer and Education Coordinator for the Skidegate Band. Her past experiences and insider/outsider perspective contribute to a strong focus on supporting Indigenous students, instructors and community partners and working to help navigate and break down any institutional barriers to student success.

Sonya Bird is a grateful settler on the beautiful lands of the Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples, and an Associate Professor in Linguistics at the University of Victoria. She has been documenting the details of pronunciation in Coast Salish languages since 2002. She is particularly interested in the role of pronunciation in Indigenous language revitalization. Her current work is focused on supporting adult Hul’q’umi’num’ learners to speak proficiently and fluently. In collaboration with the Hul’q’umi’num’ Language and Culture Society and the Hul’q’umi’num’ Language Academy, she has been documenting the details of pronunciation across Hul’q’umi’num’ speakers of different generations and fluency levels, to understand what the challenges are for learners and to help design pedagogical tools and methods to overcome these challenges. On the pedagogical side, Sonya is particularly interested in exploring the benefits of incorporating phonetic analysis and “speech visualization” into pronunciation learning and teaching. Sonya has also been actively involved in developing and teaching in UVic’s undergraduate and graduate programs in Indigenous Language Revitalization. She is currently the academic advisor for the Certificate in Indigenous Language Revitalization.

Harold BlackSmith

Hau mitakuyepi, anpetu was’te e’yukpiya nape’ chi’yuzapedo. My name Zitkazee Hoksida, my wasicu name is Harold Blacksmith, I come from the Isanti Dakota Dialect community of Wipa Zoka Wakpa. My first language is Dakota, and I thank my tio’spiye of kunsi’s, unka’s, deksi’s, tunwin’s for their endless support and teachings of my Dakod wichohan, and Dakod I’yapi. I have been married 43 years, have three adult daughters, four granddaughters, and one grandson. I teach and develop language from my tiwahe, a dream my Kunsi told me to pursue.



Day 2

NOTE Due to circumstances, Cante Maza was not in attendance

Duane Hollow Horn Bear

Duane Hollow Horn Bear is a Sicangu Lakota Elder who was born at home in 1949 on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. His years of teaching experience has been with the Sinte Gleska University for 25 years, from 1991 to 2016 where he earned his BA/BS degree in teaching within the Lakota Studies Department. 6 years with The Tribal School He has taught classes in Lakota History & Culture, Social Systems as well as many other courses including Lakota Language at 4 levels.

As well as the Lakota Philosophy of the Language. A favorite class of his was Lakota Communication where he honed his Oratory skill and share what he had learned from his elders and relatives
about the History of his people the Oceti Sakowin through Story Telling. Now he spends his time as a Cultural Advisor with the Tribe and beyond.

Oswald McKay

Oswald was born on the Oak River Indian Reserve now known as Sioux Valley. He was raised by my Kunshi so he has learned many stories of early Dakota life. Later on, Oswald was instructed by my grandfather on the traditional Dakota Ceremonies and songs. Dakota is his first language. Oswald is proud and feels fortunate to have been born at a time when only Dakota was spoken. He values the Dakota ways, both language and culture; and he continues to promote it where he can.

Iris McKay

Iris is a member of Čeǧa Kʾina Oyáde she is part Nakóta and Dakóta. Iris’s traditional education began at the knee of her grandparents who raised her in a Nakóta speaking home, her kuši was part Dakota, she credits her to many of her life choices.The teachings she received were strict and necessary which were a part of the wičoȟa. Iris continued her learning by entering the Western education system where she earned a Bachelor of Education degree from the First Nations University of Canada and a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Regina.

She credits her real education from her kušįtʾkupi wičóʾiʾe. It’s these teachings she got that reinforced her worldview to be who you are supposed to be as intended by Creator-Great Sprit. With this in mind, Iris continues to champion the lifeways of Nakota/Dakota while enjoying life travelling and dancing powwow across North America with her

Wipazoka Wakpa Dakota husband.



Vanessa Good Thunder

Vanessa Goodthunder is the Director of the C̣aƞṡayapi Waḳaƞyeża Owayawa Oṭi, a birth- to 5-year-old Dakota Immersion School, which has the mission to raise the next generation of Dakota Iapi speakers at C̣aƞṡayapi, the Lower Sioux Indian Community.

She says she is, first and foremost, a Daḳota language and history teacher, and that this is her passion and drive. When she was in 8th grade, she started teaching youth how to ride horses and speak the Daḳota language. She says this experience taught her that teaching was something that “brought me life.” She knew the Daḳota language was the path to heal historical trauma, and “reclaim our communities’ identity and sovereignty.”

She believes that education is not only about the content being taught. It also provides the foundation for relationships between students, parents, staff and the community. Her educational goal is to build an environment created with and for students, where they can learn at an optimal level.




Eyapaha Tommy Christian

Champion dancer, politician and pow-wow MC, Tommy Christian from Poplar MT is well respected in all three areas. Tommy has remained grounded, humble, and gained vast amounts of knowledge from teachings of the elders. He will share his knowledge and guidance on how he prepares mentally, physically, and spiritually for dancing and how that translates into preparing for life.

Chief Darcy Bear

Chief Darcy Bear has been the Chief of Whitecap Dakota First Nation for over twenty years. Chief Darcy Bear was born on the Whitecap Dakota First Nation. His grandparents raised him with the knowledge of his Dakota history and culture.

Shayna McArthur – Attendee

My name is Shayna McArthur – Wagíya Wakán Wįya. I am a Nakoda from the Whitebear First Nation. I am currently in the BEd Indigenous Education Program at the First Nations University of Canada. I have been raised in the Nakoda traditions and life ways, and I am a language learner of the Nakoda language.

Matthew Spencer – Attendee

Matthew Spencer B.A., B.Ed. Is a community historian and language instructor from Carry the Kettle Nakoda Nation. He is currently living in Regina and studying ways to improve Nakoda language retention for learners of all ages.

Keegan McArthur – Attendee

Keegan McArthur is a learner of the Nakoda language and attended the Oćeti Śakowin: Iapi Wakan Ayuwankan Eunhnakapi (Promoting the Spirit of our Language) Live Conference at the Dakota Dunes Resort in 2024.