Manataka® American Indian Council



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The Great Teachings of Mitapi Ha - The Frog Nation

Lakota Story

Submitted by Scott Treaty


A very long time ago, a small Mitapi Ha (Frog) of the Mitapi Ha Oyate (Frog Nation) wanted to show appreciation for the sheer beauty of Life and give thanks to Grand Mother Earth and Grand Father Sky for everything the Mitapi Ha had, so it was agreed during a Great Circle Meeting of the Mitapi Ha Nation that they would all climb to the top of a most beautiful and sacred Inyan (Rock) formation which stood out alone on the prairie, on the northwest side of the Center of the Universe, the Ho Coka (“Hearney Peak”) of the sacred He Sapa (Black, Rocky Mountains; “Black Hills”). Although the sides were very smooth on the great Inyan formation, the Mitapi Ha were blessed with “sticky” feet, which could easily grab the side of the steep rock wall.


Some of the Animals like the Capa (Beaver), some of the Wabluska (Insect) Nation like the Tusweca (Dragonfly), and some of the Ho Gan (Fish) People thought that the Mitapi Ha could not make such a great climb and told them not to try it. At the time, the Mitapi Ha Oyate walked very slowly and clumsily. They had long legs but they did not jump like they do today.


“The Hupahu (Winged) People will eat you!” Said the Capa.


“You will fall off!” proclaimed the black and white Tusweca.


Your skin will dry up and you will float away in the wind and crumble as dust to the ground!” said the Ho Gan.


Some Mitapi Ha began to reconsider the plan. One by one they were deciding not to make the great climb.


But a few Mitapi Ha would not change their minds and felt the original instruction and reasoning for the great climb was more important than the fear they might have or the dangers that might occur.


The handful of Mitapi Ha began their great climb. “Don’t go!”  Cried some of their Mitapi Ha relatives who decided not to make the climb. “You won’t make it!!” cried another. “You will die!” said yet another.


Some of the other Waniyapi (Animals), Wabluska, and Ho Gan nations also hollered discouragements and warnings in attempts to dissuade the determined Mitapi Ha.


Of those who began the great climb, most made it to the top of the beautiful butte. A couple did slip and fall off – but they were caught by circling Hupahu who were actually most grateful for the fine event.


When the Mitapi Ha made it to the top they were so happy and thankful that they began hopping all around the top of the butte – psi psil ya pi, psi psil ya pi (hop, hop) - which sounded like the pitter-patter of rain to the people below. Their hopping made the ground begin to shake. The great Inyan beneath them began to heat up under their feet. The ground beneath them began to soften and in a haste, the Mitapi Ha began sliding down the Butte from all directions, creating the grooves you see today at the rocky outcropping that looks like a gray Bison horn at what is now called “Gray Horn Butte” (misnomer “Devil’s Tower”).


The great lesson to be learned from the Mitapi Ha Oyate is to always be happy, positive, and have a good outlook on life, being careful not to be dissuaded by those who are negative or pessimistic. Honor your dreams, your gut instincts, and your intuition. Follow your heart and dreams!


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