Heyókȟa Medicine: Uses of Plant and Animals by the Clowns of the Lakota

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, 14 May, 2014 - 14:30 to 14:50
DIFFERENT-CLOUD JONES, Linda - Sitting Bull College & Catawba Nation

Many cultures around the world have a “clown” tradition in which a person is known to be a trickster or a backwards speaker, acting in a way that is contrary to what is expected. The heyókȟa (clown or contrary person in the Lakota language) is widely considered to be one of the of the most powerful medicine people of the Lakota. Heyókȟa ceremonies are known as some of the most important and the most vital to staying mentally, emotionally, and physically balanced. Both male and female heyókȟas have a number of plants and animals that assist them in ceremonies.  Today, the Lakota have found heyókȟa knowledge to be useful in a wider context, using the same plants and animals as medicine in everyday life. This paper will discuss the heyókȟa way of life, and the ways in which “heyókȟa  medicine” continues to play an all-important role in health and healing.