Sunka Wakan Ah Ku

Sunka Wakan Ah Ku
(Bringing Back the Horses)
Tribal Youth Program

Darla K. Thiele, Director
Lane Adams Sr. Fort Totten Law Enforcement
Dean Dauphinias, Warwick Public School
Ericka Cavanaugh, Spirit Lake Social Services
William D. Cavanaugh, Spirit Lake Tribal Court
Ila McKay, Spirit Lake Tribal Planning
Karen Jackson, Wodakota Traditional Court
Onna Littleghost, Spirit Lake Elder
Al Cloud, Spirit Lake Elder
Rose Brown, Spirit Lake Youth
Paulette Driver, Spirit Lake Horseman
Alan Longie, Spirit Lake Horseman
Robert Thompson, Spirit Lake Horseman
Spirit Lake Spiritual Leaders

Our Mission:
To empower our youth to heal by learning and integrating Dakota Culture and Spirituality.

Our Vision:
Revitalize the Dakota horse culture of the Spirit Lake Tribe to heal our children.


The Sunka Wakan have the power to help heal people. Sunka Wakan are used to show wealth in the tribe, trade, battles, and hunting

There are horse ceremonies/blessings for the people. With those ceremonies/blessings are Songs and Dances specific to the horses. There are also traditional pony games and races involving the whole community.

The Sunka Wakan Ah Ku Program works with the youth of the Traditional (Wodakota) Court and with its Elders of the Traditional Court. Referrals to the Sunka Wakan Ah Ku Progam come from Traditional Court, Social Services, Behavioral Health, and Schools. The Progam supports youth up to 17 years old. The youth begin the 8 week sessions on Teachings of the Seven Dakota Values, then horsemanship lessons, cultural knowledge, identity and life skills, and communication. The youth will experience the Dakota 38 + 2 ride in December.