While people the world over are concerned with the rapid extinction of wild animals due to the encroachment of civilization, few seem to notice the decline of entire indigenous cultures. This is the case with the Native American Indians commonly known as the Oglala Lakota (Sioux).
In an attempt to fit into the dominant culture, many of the youth of the recent generations have focused on learning English and emulating current American culture. They have been drawn away from their own language and sacred ways. As a result, there has been a constant decline in the number of Lakota people who can pray in their own language and in the old Way. And, much traditional heritage has been lost with the passing of each elder who has been unable to impart his wisdom because there were no Lakota youth wanting to make the sacrifices necessary to learn it.
What people world-wide are belatedly noticing is the incredible Wisdom that the Lakota people have received from the Creator. And, what a contribution their Way of Life is for all human beings. In fact, there are prophecies that indicate all races will turn to the Red Man for guidance out of the troubled times that are coming.
Since 1989, Bert Rooks and his extended family have offered people of all races the opportunity to participate in authentic Lakota ritual, and have hoped through this sharing to promote an understanding of the Sacred Pipe's relevancy for all people. However, while they were doing this, they still observed a steady decline in Lakota spirituality on the reservations. Their concern about this steady loss of Lakota heritage spurred them to want to do more.
In order to preserve and share the powerful ceremonies and life-style and language of the Lakota People of South Dakota, they established the Hochoka Healing Center, a nonprofit organization, to oversee and fund several projects to preserve what is still available of the Lakota culture. (Select Future Projects to see some ideas that are in the works.)