Manataka American Indian Council
A MAN OF YESTERDAY, TEACHING TODAY
FOR THE FUTURE OF ALL
(Wo-a-blay-za) is a Holyman and Wisdom
Keeper of indigenous peoples. As a noted American Indian
spiritual leader, elder, storyteller, singer and cultural
consultant, he has traveled across the continent for over 30-years
gathering stories, songs and dances from the elders of many
tribes. Now, he shares that wisdom with people across
the continent and around the world.
Woableza is a great grandson of the famed Dakotah Sioux "Chief Ti Wakan" (Sacred Lodge) who was instrumental in restoring peace between the Dakota and the United States Army during the great Indian wars. He is a follower of the teachings of the famous Lakota Holyman, Chief Tatanka Iyotake (Sitting Bull).
Woableza is fast becoming one of the most sought after spiritual leaders and teachers in the country. He is following in the footsteps of his famous ancestors and may well exceed them in the power of his unique gifts. Woableza is a Peace Teacher. He teaches about peace found within and peace among people and nations. He teaches about finding peace with Mother Earth and all creation.
I first met
Woableza in the Spring of 1999
as he came to the front door of the Longhouse Cultural Center in
downtown Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas. I knew he
was coming. I did not know his name, who he is or where he was
come from. But, I knew he would be from the North.
I was in meditation in the back of the Longhouse when I felt a strong energy coming from somewhere immediately outside the building. I quickly walked to the veranda and met four very Indian-looking people. A short, stocky man wearing glasses, a black hat and a large smile said, "I am Woableza and they are my family." I studied the group for a moment then allowed the feelings within take the lead. I replied, "Why have you come to Manataka Woableza?"
Looking very serene he said, "I was told that I must come."
I looked into his gentle eyes of wisdom and knew it was a
blessing we had waited for many years. I invited
the group to come inside and said, "We must talk. There is
much to learned."
While his uncle, nephew and niece browsed around, we went to the crystal waterfall below the main floor where I briefly told him the Story of Manataka. But, he already knew about the great story. Later I repeated my question, "So, why have you come to Manataka?" This is the story he told me:
"I am a very busy person with so many
requests for ceremonies, teaching, speaking engagements and
events. My spirit and body were very tired after so many years
answering the calls of our people. I was growing weak in
my powers, so I went to the Keepers of the Sacred Pipe Stone, the
elders of the Yankton Sioux. I asked them for more wisdom and
strength. They told me there was nothing more they could teach
me, but I should go on a pilgrimage to the Place of the Peace, the
Place of the Healing Hot Waters."
Woableza took a deep breath, sheepishly looked down and more slowly continued his story. "But, I did not go. How could I? I am very busy and who knows how long a pilgrimage will take? A week, a month? No, I did not go. I kept getting weaker and weaker from the toll of a busy schedule. Many weeks later, I was in Sedona attending a meeting of elders where I was a featured speaker. A person I did not know was there and reminded me of this sacred place. So, I immediately left without addressing the meeting, and drove with my family straight to this place."
I smiled and said, "Yes, sometimes when the spirit speaks one can not ignore the call. Now you will begin the first of many pilgrimages to learn and teach the ways of this sacred place."
Woableza has returned to Manataka several times since that first meeting. In October, 2000, he accompanied Chief Bill Little Horse, myself and a group of other Manataka members to a number of local schools to present programs. He led the Manataka Gathering II and gave an informal private lecture to a group gathered at the home of our chairman, Dr. Bob McFarlin. Woableza's delightful sister, Evette and her full-blood Choctaw husband, Vernon Tubby moved to Manataka for a short time and recently returned to attend an Indian barbecue and gathering to honor the raising of the new Manataka Tipi.
Woableza's resume looks like a page out of Who's Who of the American Indian. Robert Woableza LaBlatte is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and has lineage from the Minneconjou/Hunkpapa Lakota Band and the Sisseton/Wahpeton/Mdewakantowan Dakota Bands.
He was a Cultural Instructor for the Institute of Culture
and Creation Spirituality and has provided teaching and class
instruction to students around the globe in colleges and
universities, in high schools and elementary schools. He is
held in reverent esteem by his American Indian spiritual peers and
is in high demand as a speaker.
Woableza appeared in the movie "Thunder Heart" and a PBS special, "Everything Has a Spirit." He founded the Indian News Network and Cheyenne River Public Television. Woableza is an Elder with the Spirit Walkers of Turtle Island. He was a member of the National Congress of American Indians, National Museum of American Indian and the Native American Producers Association.
The accomplishments of Woableza are more extensive than can be noted here. His most notable accomplishment cannot be properly defined in writing. He gives himself completely to others. He sees their hurts and cares in a way that transcends simple compassion. People feel his strength and courage. They hear his wisdom and learn trust, faith and love. Robert Woableza LaBatte is a true, traditional and bigger than life American Indian!
We are grateful to have Woableza as an honored member
of the Manataka American Indian Council!
- Lee Standing Bear Moore
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