Wakan Tanka, the Great Mystery, are those which made everything. They are Wakanpi, the spirit beings that have power over everything on earth. Wakan Tanka are many in one: the Sun, the Sky, the Earth, and the Rock; the four directions, and the four winds. Mankind should please them by songs and ceremonies. Mankind should ask them for what they wish." (Little Wound, Oglala Lakota (ca. 1896))
Wiyohpiyata (Wee-ohk-pi-yata), the West, is where the animals are created and where the sun goes down. All things from the West are Wakan (mysterious, holy). The West is the home of Wakinyan, the Winged-One, the spirit of thunder and lightening, made by Inyan, the Rock. Wakinyan, the Thunderbird, favors the cedar tree. Associates of Wakinyan include spiders, dragonflies, elk, horses, and swallows. Wakinyan controls the winds, the storms, and warfare.
Butch Thunder Hawk: "I made this sacred hoop from red willow, based on the vision described by Black Elk. Everythings in nature moves in a circle.. There are four sacred directions, each associated with a color and animal spirits. In the West (black/blue), the Thunderbird controls the distructive forces of nature; the buffalo live in the North (white) and represent industry and courage; East (red) is the home of the bull elk, responsible for love and family; the eagle of the South (yellow) stands for spirituality. The crossed buckskim laces stand for the opposing directions in life, the 'good road' (North/South) and the 'bad road' (East/ West). In the center are two tobacco ties: one painted blue for the sky, the unverse, the creator, the other painted green for Mother Earth - her nourishment,healing, and plants. Eagle feathers represent our connection to the Creator."
The Peabody Museum's exhibition of a Day of the Dead ofrenda or altar is located in the Encounters With the Americas gallery: