The Assiniboine or Assiniboin people known as the Hohe and known by the endonym Nakota, are a First Nations/Native American people from the Northern Great Plains of North America. Today, they are centered in present-day Saskatchewan, they have populated parts of Alberta and southwestern Manitoba in Canada, northern Montana and western North Dakota in the United States. They were well known throughout much of the late 18th and early 19th century, were members of the Iron Confederacy with the Cree. Images of Assiniboine people were painted by such 19th-century artists as Karl Bodmer and George Catlin; the Europeans and Americans adopted names. In Siouan, they traditionally called themselves the Hohe Nakota. With the widespread adoption of English, many now use the name that became common in English; the English adopted Assiniboine, used by the Canadian French colonists. It was a transliteration into French phonetics of what they heard the Ojibwe use as a term for these western people; the Ojibwe name was asinii-bwaan.
The Cree called them asinîpwâta. In the same way, Assnipwan comes from the word asinîpwâta in the western Cree dialects, from asiniy ᐊᓯᓂᐩ NA – "rock, stone" – and pwâta ᐹᐧᑕ NA – "enemy, Sioux". Early French traders in the west were familiar with Algonquian languages, they transliterated many Cree or Ojibwe exonyms for other western Canadian indigenous peoples during the early colonial era. The English referred to the Assiniboine by adopting terms from the French spelled using English phonetics. Other tribes associated "stone" with the Assiniboine because they cooked with heated stones, they dropped hot stones into water to heat it to boiling for cooking meat. Some writers believed that the name was derived from the Ojibway term Assin and the French bouillir, to boil, but such an etymology is unlikely. Assiniboine is a Mississippi Valley Siouan language, in the Western Siouan language family. In the early 21st century, about 150 people speak most are more than 40 years old; the majority of the Assiniboine today speak only American English.
The 2000 census showed 3,946 tribal members. Assiniboine are linked by language to the Stoney First Nations people of Alberta; the latter two tribes speak varieties of Nakota, a distant, but not mutually intelligible, variant of the Sioux language. The Assiniboine, along with the Stoney of Alberta, share a common ancestry with the Sioux nation. While it was believed that the Assiniboine originated among the Yanktonai division of the Dakota Sioux, linguistic analysis indicates that the Assiniboine and Stoney together form a group coordinate with that of the Santee and Yankon-Yanktonai, that they are no more related to one of these subdivisions than another; the separation of the Assiniboine from the Sioux must have occurred at some time prior to 1640, as Paul Le Jeune names them along with the "Naduessi" in his Jesuit Relations of that year. The Assiniboine and Sioux were both pushed westward onto the plains from the woodlands of Minnesota by the Ojibwe, who had acquired firearms from their French allies.
The Assiniboine acquired horses via raiding and trading with neighboring tribes of Plains Indians such as the Crow and the Sioux on their south. The Assiniboine developed into a large and powerful people with a horse and warrior culture. At the height of their power, the Assiniboine dominated territory ranging from the North Saskatchewan River in the north to the Missouri River in the south, including portions of modern-day Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Canada; the first person of European descent to describe the Assiniboine was an employee of the Hudson's Bay Company named Henry Kelsey in the 1690s. Explorers and traders Jean Baptiste de La Vérendrye and his sons, Anthony Henday, Alexander Henry the younger confirmed that the Assiniboine held a vast territory across the northern plains, including into the United States The Assiniboine became reliable and important trading partners and middlemen for fur traders and other Indians the British Hudson's Bay Company and North West Company, operating in western Canada in a vast area known as Rupert's Land.
During the 18th century and early 19th century, south of the border in what became Montana and the Dakota territories, the Assiniboine traded with the American Fur Company and the competing Rocky Mountain Fur Company. The Assiniboine obtained guns, metal tomahawks, metal pots, wool blankets, wool coats, wool leggings, glass beads, as well as other goods from the fur traders in exchange for furs. Beaver furs and bison hides were the most traded furs. Increased contact with Europeans resulted in Native Americans contracting Eurasian infectious diseases that were endemic among the Europeans, they suffered epidemics with high mortality, most notably smallpox among the Assiniboine. The Assiniboine population crashed from around 10,000 people in the late 18th century to around 2600 by 1890; the Lewis and Clark Expedition was mounted by the United States in 1804–1806 to explore the Louisiana Territory, newly acquired from France. The expedit
The Lakota are a Native American tribe. Known as the Teton Sioux, they are one of the three Sioux tribes of Plains, their current lands are in South Dakota. They speak Lakȟótiyapi—the Lakota language, the westernmost of three related languages that belong to the Siouan language family; the seven bands or "sub-tribes" of the Lakota are: Sičháŋǧu Oglála Itázipčho Húŋkpapȟa Mnikȟówožu Sihásapa Oóhenuŋpa Notable Lakota persons include Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake from the Húnkpapȟa band. Siouan languages speakers may have originated in the lower Mississippi River region and migrated to or originated in the Ohio Valley, they were agriculturalists and may have been part of the Mound Builder civilization during the 9th–12th centuries CE. In the late 16th and early 17th centuries, Dakota-Lakota speakers lived in the upper Mississippi Region in present-day Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas. Conflicts with Anishnaabe and Cree peoples pushed the Lakota west onto the Great Plains in the mid- to late-17th century.
Early Lakota history is recorded in their Winter counts, pictorial calendars painted on hides or recorded on paper. The Battiste Good winter count records Lakota history back to 900 CE, when White Buffalo Calf Woman gave the Lakota people the White Buffalo Calf Pipe. Around 1730, Cheyenne people introduced the Lakota to horses, called šuŋkawakaŋ. After their adoption of horse culture, Lakota society centered on the buffalo hunt on horseback; the total population of the Sioux was estimated at 28,000 by French explorers in 1660. The Lakota population was first estimated at 8,500 in 1805, growing and reaching 16,110 in 1881; the Lakota were, one of the few Native American tribes to increase in population in the 19th century. The number of Lakota has now increased to more than 170,000, of whom about 2,000 still speak the Lakota language. After 1720, the Lakota branch of the Seven Council Fires split into two major sects, the Saône who moved to the Lake Traverse area on the South Dakota–North Dakota–Minnesota border, the Oglála-Sičháŋǧu who occupied the James River valley.
However, by about 1750 the Saône had moved to the east bank of the Missouri River, followed 10 years by the Oglála and Brulé. The large and powerful Arikara and Hidatsa villages had long prevented the Lakota from crossing the Missouri. However, the great smallpox epidemic of 1772–1780 destroyed three-quarters of these tribes; the Lakota crossed the river into short-grass prairies of the High Plains. These newcomers were the Saône, well-mounted and confident, who spread out quickly. In 1765, a Saône exploring and raiding party led by Chief Standing Bear discovered the Black Hills the territory of the Cheyenne. Ten years the Oglála and Brulé crossed the river. In 1776, the Lakota defeated the Cheyenne; the Cheyenne moved west to the Powder River country, the Lakota made the Black Hills their home. Initial United States contact with the Lakota during the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804–1806 was marked by a standoff. Lakota bands refused to allow the explorers to continue upstream, the expedition prepared for battle, which never came.
Some bands of Lakotas became the first Indians to help the United States Army in an Indian war west of the Missouri during the Arikara War in 1823. In 1843, the southern Lakotas attacked Pawnee Chief Blue Coat's village near the Loup in Nebraska, killing many and burning half of the earth lodges. Next time the Lakotas inflicted a blow so severe on the Pawnee would be in 1873, during the Massacre Canyon battle near Republican River. Nearly half a century after Fort Laramie had been built without permission on Lakota land, the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 was negotiated to protect travelers on the Oregon Trail; the Cheyenne and Lakota had attacked emigrant parties in a competition for resources, because some settlers had encroached on their lands. The Fort Laramie Treaty acknowledged Lakota sovereignty over the Great Plains in exchange for free passage on the Oregon Trail for "as long as the river flows and the eagle flies"; the United States government did not enforce the treaty restriction against unauthorized settlement.
Lakota and other bands attacked settlers and emigrant trains, causing public pressure on the U. S. Army to punish the hostiles. On September 3, 1855, 700 soldiers under American General William S. Harney avenged the Grattan Massacre by attacking a Lakota village in Nebraska, killing about 100 men and children. A series of short "wars" followed, in 1862–1864, as refugees from the "Dakota War of 1862" in Minnesota fled west to their allies in Montana and Dakota Territory. Increasing illegal settlement after the American Civil War caused war once again; the Black Hills were considered sacred by the Lakota, they objected to mining. Between 1866 and 1868 the U. S. Army fought the Lakota and their allies along the Bozeman Trail over U. S. Forts built to protect miners traveling along the trail. Oglala Chief Red Cloud led his people to victory in Red Cloud's War. In 1868, the United States signed the Fort Laramie
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the Pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants. Although some indigenous peoples of the Americas were traditionally hunter-gatherers—and many in the Amazon basin, still are—many groups practiced aquaculture and agriculture; the impact of their agricultural endowment to the world is a testament to their time and work in reshaping and cultivating the flora indigenous to the Americas. Although some societies depended on agriculture, others practiced a mix of farming and gathering. In some regions the indigenous peoples created monumental architecture, large-scale organized cities, city-states, states and empires. Among these are the Aztec and Maya states that until the 16th century were among the most politically and advanced nations in the world, they had a vast knowledge of engineering, mathematics, writing, medicine and irrigation, mining and goldsmithing. Many parts of the Americas are still populated by indigenous peoples.
At least a thousand different indigenous languages are spoken in the Americas. Some, such as the Quechuan languages, Guaraní, Mayan languages and Nahuatl, count their speakers in millions. Many maintain aspects of indigenous cultural practices to varying degrees, including religion, social organization and subsistence practices. Like most cultures, over time, cultures specific to many indigenous peoples have evolved to incorporate traditional aspects but cater to modern needs; some indigenous peoples still live in relative isolation from Western culture and a few are still counted as uncontacted peoples. Indigenous peoples of the United States are known as Native Americans or American Indians and Alaska Natives. Application of the term "Indian" originated with Christopher Columbus, who, in his search for India, thought that he had arrived in the East Indies; those islands came to be known as the "West Indies", a name still used. This led to the blanket term "Indies" and "Indians" for the indigenous inhabitants, which implied some kind of racial or cultural unity among the indigenous peoples of the Americas.
This unifying concept, codified in law and politics, was not accepted by the myriad groups of indigenous peoples themselves, but has since been embraced or tolerated, by many over the last two centuries. Though the term "Indian" does not include the culturally and linguistically distinct indigenous peoples of the Arctic regions of the Americas—such as the Aleuts, Inuit or Yupik peoples, who entered the continent as a second more recent wave of migration several thousand years before and have much more recent genetic and cultural commonalities with the aboriginal peoples of the Asiatic Arctic Russian Far East—these groups are nonetheless considered "indigenous peoples of the Americas". Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, which includes not only First Nations and Arctic Inuit, but the minority population of First Nations-European mixed race Métis people who identify culturally and ethnically with indigenous peoplehood; this is contrasted, for instance, to the American Indian-European mixed race mestizos of Hispanic America who, with their larger population, identify as a new ethnic group distinct from both Europeans and Indigenous Americans, but still considering themselves a subset of the European-derived Hispanic or Brazilian peoplehood in culture and ethnicity.
The term Amerindian and its cognates find preferred use in scientific contexts and in Quebec, the Guianas and the English-speaking Caribbean. Indígenas or pueblos indígenas is a common term in Spanish-speaking countries and pueblos nativos or nativos may be heard, while aborigen is used in Argentina and pueblos originarios is common in Chile. In Brazil, indígenas or povos indígenas are common if formal-sounding designations, while índio is still the more often-heard term and aborígene and nativo being used in Amerindian-specific contexts; the Spanish and Portuguese equivalents to Indian could be used to mean any hunter-gatherer or full-blooded Indigenous person to continents other than Europe or Africa—for example, indios filipinos. The specifics of Paleo-Indian migration to and throughout the Americas, including the exact dates and routes traveled, are the subject of ongoing research and discussion. According to archaeological and genetic evidence and South America were the last continents in the world to gain human habitation.
During the Wisconsin glaciation, 50–17,000 years ago, falling sea levels allowed people to move across the land bridge of Beringia that joined Siberia to northwest North America. Alaska was a glacial refugium; the Laurentide Ice Sheet covered most of North America, blocking nomadic inhabitants and confining them to Alaska for thousands of years. Indigenous genetic studies suggest that the first inhabitants of the Americas share a single ancestral population, one that developed in isolation, conjectured to be Beringia; the isolat
A tomahawk is a type of single-handed ax from North America, traditionally resembling a hatchet with a straight shaft. The name came into the English language in the 17th century as an adaptation of the Powhatan word. Tomahawks were general-purpose tools used by Native Americans and the European colonials with whom they traded, employed as a hand-to-hand or a thrown weapon; the metal tomahawk heads were based on a Royal Navy boarding axe and used as a trade-item with Native Americans for food and other provisions. The name comes from Powhatan tamahaac, derived from the Proto-Algonquian root *temah- "to cut off by tool". Algonquian cognates include Lenape təmahikan, Malecite-Passamaquoddy tomhikon, Abenaki demahigan, all of which mean "axe"; the Algonquians in early America created the tomahawk. Before Europeans came to the continent, Native Americans would use stones attached to wooden handles, secured with strips of rawhide. Though used as weapons, they could be used for everyday tasks, such as chopping, cutting or hunting.
When Europeans arrived, they introduced the metal blade to the natives, which improved the effectiveness of the tool. Metal did not break as as stone and could be fashioned for additional uses. Native Americans created a tomahawk’s poll, the side opposite the blade, which consisted of a hammer, spike or a pipe; these became known as pipe tomahawks, which consisted of a bowl on the poll and a hollowed out shaft. These were created by American artisans for trade and diplomatic gifts for the tribes. Pre-contact Native Americans lacked ironmaking technology, so tomahawks were not fitted with metal axe heads until they could be obtained from trade with Europeans; the tomahawk's original designs were fitted with heads of rounded stone or deer antler. The modern tomahawk shaft is less than 2 ft in length, traditionally made of hickory, ash, or maple; the heads weigh anywhere from 9 to 20 oz, with a cutting edge not much longer than four inches from toe to heel. The poll can feature a hammer, spike, or may be rounded off, they do not have lugs.
These sometimes had a pipe-bowl carved into the poll, a hole drilled down the center of the shaft for smoking tobacco through the tomahawk. There are metal-headed versions of this unusual pipe. Pipe tomahawks are artifacts unique to North America: created by Europeans as trade objects but exchanged as diplomatic gifts, they were symbols of the choice Europeans and Native Americans faced whenever they met: one end was the pipe of peace, the other an axe of war. In colonial French territory, a different tomahawk design, closer to the ancient European francisca, was in use by French settlers and indigenous peoples. In the late 18th century, the British Army issued tomahawks to their colonial regulars during the American Revolutionary War as a weapon and tool. Tomahawk throwing is a popular sport among American and Canadian historical re-enactment groups, new martial arts such as Okichitaw have begun to revive tomahawk fighting techniques used during the colonial era. Tomahawks are a category within competitive knife throwing.
Today's hand-forged tomahawks are being made by master craftsmen throughout the United States. Modern tomahawks designed by Peter LaGana included wood handles, a hatchet-like bit and a leather sheath and were used by select US forces during the Vietnam War and are referred to as "Vietnam tomahawks"; these modern tomahawks have gained popularity with their re-emergence by American Tomahawk Company in the beginning of 2001 and a collaboration with custom knife-maker Ernest Emerson of Emerson Knives, Inc. A similar wood handle; the tomahawk was redesigned featuring synthetic shafts by American Tomahawk Company and named "VTAC" and are manufactured by Fehrman Knives. SOG Knives Inc. has entered the field with its own version of the Vietnam tomahawk, the Fusion Tactical Tomahawk. Original Vietnam tomahawks are expensive. Tomahawks are useful in camping and bushcraft scenarios, they are used as an alternative to a hatchet, as they are lighter and slimmer than hatchets. They contain other tools in addition to the axe head, such as spikes or hammers.
Many of these modern tomahawks are made of differentially heat treated, alloy steel. The differential heat treatment allows for the chopping portion and the spike to be harder than the middle section, allowing for a shock-resistant body with a durable temper. Today, there are hundreds of rendezvous and events; these events require mountain man style dress. The tomahawk competitions themselves have their own regulations concerning the type and style of tomahawk used for throwing. There are special throwing tomahawks made for these kinds of competitions. Requirements such as a minimum handle length and a maximum blade edge are the most common tomahawk throwing competition rules. One such tomahawk throwing competition is made and sponsored by the International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame, they have a ranking system to determine skill level. The International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame Association ranking system establishes an international standard by which knife and hawk throwers may measure their accuracy and versatility, compare their skill to that of any knife and hawk thrower anywhere in the world.
American Tomahawk Company's VTAC was used by the US Army Stryker Brigade in Afghanistan, the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team based at Grafenwöhr, the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division out of Fort Lewis, a reconnaissance platoon in the 2d Squadron 183d Cavalry (116th Infantry B
Plains Indians, Interior Plains Indians or Indigenous people of the Great Plains and Canadian Prairies are the Native American tribes and First Nation band governments who have traditionally lived on the greater Interior Plains in North America. Their historic nomadic culture and development of equestrian culture and resistance to domination by the government and military forces of Canada and the United States have made the Plains Indian culture groups an archetype in literature and art for American Indians everywhere. Plains Indians are divided into two broad classifications which overlap to some degree; the first group became a nomadic horse culture during the 18th and 19th centuries, following the vast herds of buffalo, although some tribes engaged in agriculture. These include the Blackfoot, Assiniboine, Comanche, Gros Ventre, Lakota, Plains Apache, Plains Cree, Plains Ojibwe, Sarsi and Tonkawa; the second group of Plains Indians were semi-sedentary, and, in addition to hunting buffalo, they lived in villages, raised crops, traded with other tribes.
These include the Arikara, Iowa, Kitsai, Missouria, Osage, Pawnee, Quapaw and the Santee Dakota and Yankton Dakota. Indigenous peoples of the Great Plains are separated into Northern and Southern Plains tribes. Nomadic tribes survived on hunting and gathering. People hunted the American Bison to make items used in everyday life, such as food, decorations, crafting tools and clothing; the tribes followed the seasonal migration of the bison. The Plains Indians lived in tipis because they were disassembled and allowed the nomadic life of following game; the Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado was the first European to describe the Plains Indian culture. While searching for a reputedly wealthy land called Quivira in 1541, Coronado came across the Querechos in the Texas panhandle; the Querechos were the people called Apache. According to the Spaniards, the Querechos lived "in tents made of the tanned skins of the cows, they dry the flesh in the sun, cutting it thin like a leaf, when dry they grind it like meal to keep it and make a sort of sea soup of it to eat....
They season it with fat. They empty a large gut and fill it with blood, carry this around the neck to drink when they are thirsty." Coronado described many common features of Plains Indians culture: skin tepees, travois pulled by dogs, Plains Indian Sign Language, staple foods such as jerky and pemmican. The Plains Indians found by Coronado had not yet obtained horses; when horses were obtained, the Plains tribes integrated them into their daily lives. People in the southwest began to acquire horses in the 16th century by trading or stealing them from Spanish colonists in New Mexico; as horse culture moved northward, the Comanche were among the first to commit to a mounted nomadic lifestyle. This occurred by the 1730s, when they had acquired enough horses to put all their people on horseback; the horse enabled the Plains Indians to gain their subsistence with relative ease from the limitless buffalo herds. Riders were able to travel faster and farther in search of bison herds and to transport more goods, thus making it possible to enjoy a richer material environment than their pedestrian ancestors.
For the Plains peoples, the horse became an item of prestige as well as utility. They were extravagantly fond of their horses and the lifestyle they permitted; the first Spanish conqueror to bring horses to the new world was Hernán Cortés in 1519. However, Cortés only brought about sixteen horses with his expedition. Coronado brought 558 horses with him on his 1539–1542 expedition. At the time, the Indians of these regions had never seen a horse, although they had heard of them from contacts with Indians in Mexico. Only two of Coronado's horses were mares, so he was unlikely to have been the source of the horses that Plains Indians adopted as the cornerstone of their culture. In 1592, Juan de Onate brought 7,000 head of livestock with him when he came north to establish a colony in New Mexico, his horse herd included mares as well as stallions. Pueblo Indians learned about horses by working for Spanish colonists; the Spanish attempted to keep knowledge of riding away from Native people, but nonetheless, they learned and some fled their servitude to their Spanish employers—and took horses with them.
Some horses were obtained through trade in spite of prohibitions against it. Other horses were captured by Native people. In all cases the horse was adopted into their culture and herds multiplied. By 1659, the Navajo from northwestern New Mexico were raiding the Spanish colonies to steal horses. By 1664, the Apache were trading captives from other tribes to the Spanish for horses; the real beginning of the horse culture of the plains began with the expulsion of the Spanish from New Mexico in 1680 when the victorious Pueblo people captured thousands of horses and other livestock. They traded many horses north to the Plains Indians. In 1683 a Spanish expedition into Texas found horses among Native people. In 1690, a few horses were found by the Spanish among the Indians living at the mouth of the Colorado River of Texas and the Caddo of eastern Texas had a sizeable number; the French explorer Claude Charles Du Tisne found 300 horses among the Wichita on the Verdigris River in 1719, but they were still not plentiful.
Okichitaw is a martial art that encorporates the fighting techniques of the Plains Cree First Nations. It was created by George J. Lépine. Okichitaw is taught at a single dojo, has no competitive component, relies on the use of imitation indigenous weaponry; the Plains Cree name known as “Okichitatawak” was a term used to describe various societies within the indigenous community. “Okichitaw” were known among the community as the “Neheyawak” who were persons within the community that possessed special skills that were acquired through the various applications learned through survival and warfare tactics. A person could not be invited into the lodge or society of the Okichitatawak until they had participated in many raids, fought adequately in battle, or acquired gifts as a result of their actions towards the enemy; this particular group of men are men that are known to be generous and who are known to exercise the lifestyle of “reckless bravery”. Okichitaw carries much of the same philosophy and standards as it has been done for thousands of years – all that has changed is that the “Neheyawak” culture continues to adapt to the ever-changing environment through present social contexts.
In his youth, founder George J. Lépine learned traditional wrestling, tomahawk throwing and hand-to-hand combat techniques, he trained in other martial arts such as judo and hapkido. Lépine developed Okichitaw and established it in 1997, it is based in Ontario. Lépine is the Chief Instructor. George Lépine is Plains-Cree Michif from Manitoba and learned traditional hunting and tracking practices from a young age. Teachings of traditional fighting techniques were passed onto him, he started martial arts at age thirteen in Winnipeg. As he was progressing in his martial arts training, his Taekwondo Grandmaster encouraged him to embrace his traditions of native combat and to find ways to preserve and perpetuate this knowledge; this direction and guidance was pressed into him by Traditional Elders throughout the indigenous community. On Canadian Plains Cree combat principles and methods – both from his own teachings and through extensive historical research – Okimikahn Lépine combined this knowledge of native combat with his indigenous culture and values and his extensive martial arts experience to create Okichitaw.
For 40+ years he has been distilling this knowledge and systematizing it into a modern martial arts system. Okichitaw is a renewed expression of this traditional warrior knowledge, carrying these techniques and tactics and values to the present and into the future, his family's indigenous ancestry and contributions are well documented throughout the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. George’s Grandfather – Ambroise Lepine – was Louis Riel’s Adjutant-General for the Métis Provisional Government during their struggles in the late 1870s and 1880s; the political strategies adopted by the Métis Government had roots stemming from the politics of the buffalo hunt, overseen by Ambroise Lepine. In charge of the military action, Ambroise facilitated every movement of the Métis. Since Ambroise worked together extensively with Riel, the Métis Government cast Ambroise as a major player in the Métis Government. Okimikahn Lépine has served as President for the Toronto Métis Council, Regional Councillor for the Métis Nation of Ontario, National Delegate for the Aboriginal Languages Initiative, President for the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto, Executive for the Ontario Aboriginal Sports Circle, the Vice President for the North American Indigenous Games International Council as well as the Chairman for the World Martial Arts Union.
He is active in all aspects of the Indigenous Community throughout Canada, educating people through his experiences and culture. In the late 1980s, Lépine began to organize and codify these techniques and methods, resulting in the system as it is practised today; the main Okichitaw training lodge is located at the martial arts school of the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto and the art is disseminated through classes and demonstrations. The scarcity of original reference materials does at time cast doubt upon any attempt to reconstruct indigenous systems as a result of this system being taught through Indigenous Oral Traditions, but since the latter half of the 20th century, there has been an emerging acceptance of oral traditions as sources of historical record. Elder Vern Harper has been involved with Okichitaw from its early stages and encouraging Lépine in its development. Harper officiates at Okichitaw ceremonies and promotions tests. Lépine presented Okichitaw at the Chungju World Martial Arts Festival in 2002 where it was formally recognized as a unique indigenous martial art of Canada by the World Martial Arts Union.
The Chungju Festival, the largest festival of its kind, is an annual forum and showcase for indigenous martial arts, with the country of each art's origin fielding teams. For example, only Japanese teams may demonstrate Karate, only the Canadian team may present Okichitaw. In 2004 and 2008, Lépine led Okichitaw demonstration teams representing Canada at the Festival; the World Martial Arts Union carries out the work with the aim of exchange and cooperation between martial arts organizations and conservation of each country's traditional martial arts and study of martial arts and contributes positively to world peace. The WoMAU was first established in 2002 by representatives from 28 countries and agreed that the origin of traditional martial arts should be con
A powwow is a social gathering held by many different Native American communities. A modern pow wow is a specific type of event for Native American people to meet and dance, sing and honor their cultures. Pow wows may be public. There is a dancing competition, with many different types of traditional dances and regalia with significant prize money awarded. Pow wows vary in length from a one-day event, to major pow wows called for a special occasion which can be up to one week long. In popular culture, such as older Western movies, the term has been used to describe any gathering of Native Americans, or to refer to any type of meeting, such as among military personnel; this usage is sometimes discouraged because it can be seen as minimizing the cultural and ceremonial importance of pow wows. The word “pow wow” is derived from the Narragansett word powwaw, meaning "spiritual leader"; the term itself has different variants including Powaw, Pawaw and Pawau. A number of different tribes claim to have held the “first” pow wow.
Public dances that most resemble what we now know as pow wows were most common in the Great Plains region of the United States during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a time when the United States government fragmented many Native communities in the hopes of acquiring land for economic exploitation. In 1923, Charles Burke, Commissioner of Indian Affairs in the United States, passed legislation modeled on Circular 1665, which he published in 1921, that limited the times of the year in which Native Americans could practice traditional dance, which he deemed as directly threatening the Christian religion. However, many Native communities continued to gather together in secret to practice their cultures’ dance and music, in defiance of this, other, legislation. By the mid-nineteenth century, pow wows were being held in the Great Lakes region. Planning for a pow wow begins months even a year, in advance of the event by a group of people referred to as a pow wow committee. Pow wows may be sponsored by a tribal organization, by an American Native community within an urban area, a Native American Studies program or American Native club on a college or university campus, tribe, or any other organization that can provide startup funds and volunteer workers.
A pow wow committee consists of a number of individuals. If a pow wow has a sponsor, such as a tribe, college, or organization, many or all members of the committee may come from that group; the committee is responsible to recruit and hire the head staff, publicize the pow wow, secure a location, recruit vendors who pay for the right to set up and sell food or merchandise at the pow wow. The head staff of a pow wow are the people who run the event on the day or days it occurs, they are hired by the pow wow committee several months in advance, as the quality of the head staff can affect attendance. To be chosen as part of the head staff is an honor, showing respect for the person's skills or dedication; the arena director is the person in charge during the pow wow. Sometimes the arena director is referred to as the whip man, sometimes the whip man is the arena director's assistant, many pow wows don't have a whip man; the arena director makes sure dancers are dancing during the pow wow and that the drum groups know what type of song to sing.
If there are contests the arena director is responsible for providing judges, though they have another assistant, the head judge. The arena director is responsible for organizing any ceremonies that may be required during the pow wow, such as when an eagle feather is dropped, others as required. One of the main duties of the arena director is to ensure that the dance arena is treated with the proper respect from visitors to the pow wow; the master of ceremonies, or MC, is the voice of the pow wow. It is his job to keep the singers and public informed as to what is happening; the MC sets the schedule of events, maintains the drum rotation, or order of when each drum group gets to sing. The MC is responsible for filling any dead air time that may occur during the pow wow with jokes; the MC runs any raffles or other contests that may happen during the pow wow. The head dancers consist of the Head Man Dancer and the Head Woman Dancer, Head Teen Dancers, Head Little Boy and Girl Dancers, Head Golden Age Dancers, a Head Gourd Dancer if the pow wow has a Gourd Dance.
The head dancers lead the other dancers in the grand entry or parade of dancers that opens a pow wow. In many cases, the head dancers are responsible for leading the dancers during songs, dancers will not enter the arena unless the head dancers are out dancing; the singers while singing. Host drums are responsible for singing the songs at the beginning and end of a pow wow session a starting song, the grand entry song, a flag song, a veterans or victory song to start the pow-wow, a flag song, retreat song and closing song to end the pow wow. Additionally, if a pow-wow has gourd dancing, the Southern Host Drum is the drum that sings all the gourd songs, though another drum can perform them; the host drums are called upon to sing special songs during the pow-wow. Famous host drums include Black Lodge Singers, Cozad Singers, Yellowhammer. A pow wow is set up as a series of large circles; the center circle is the dance arena, outside of, a larger circle consisting of the MC's table, drum groups, sitting areas for dancers and their families.
Beyond these two circles for participants is an area for spectators, while outside of all are designated areas with vendo