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The Making of Relatives – Huŋkápi

Huŋkápi – Making Relatives, was first used to make peace between the Lakota and Ree people. Making the Ree relatives ensured peace between the tribes. This relationship mirrored the relationship of the Lakota people with Wakáŋ Táŋka.

The first ceremony with the Ree took place over several days. Near the end came the painting of faces.

The women’s faces were painted red, and the men’s were painted red with a blue circle around the face and blue lines on the forehead, cheekbones, and chin.

Being painted symbolized change, indicating that a person has been reborn and taken on new responsibilities and relationships. Past troubles between the new relatives are forgotten.

Today, one can become part of a tiyóšpaye – extended family, by birth, marriage, or Huŋkápi.


The Sacred Pipe: Black Elk’s Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux. Recorded and Edited by Joseph Epes Brown. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1953.
The Gift of the Sacred Pipe. Based on Black’s Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux, recorded and edited by Joseph Epes Brown. Edited and Illustrated by Vera Louise Drysdale.