In the Lakota culture, we consider our children to be very sacred. They are a gift from the creator who hold the future of our Native American people. Lakota people believe that we are all gifted from the time we were created and we have a choice to share those gifts with others and make a difference.

In the Lakota language, the word “Wakanjeja (wah-ky-yeh-jah)” translates in the English language to “Child.” This word includes the Lakota word “Waka” which means sacred and “yeja (yeah-jah)” means gift. Our Lakota children originally were mostly raised by the elderly in the family because our elders are the wisdom of our people in which we hold the most respect for. They are in charge of passing down the cultural ways of our people so that are voice and actions are not forgotten but rather learned from.

Here is an amazing group called, “Wakanyeja Pawaciyapi,” which means, “Children First” out of Porcupine, South Dakota. This groups mission is to restore the true meaning of our sacred children and to help as many young Wakanyeja’s as possible to stay on the right path in live and to give them hope for a better tomorrow. Here is a message from the Wakanyeja Pawaciyapi and a YouTube video featured on the website.

Extract Shared by

Stacey Kramer, Consulting Teacher, Topeka Public Schools