Author Topic: David Swallow  (Read 22630 times)

Offline educatedindian

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David Swallow
« on: August 14, 2006, 10:29:30 pm »
educatedindian" ?  Date: Sat, 19 Jul 2003 20:53:12 -0000
Subject: [nafps_again] Re: What does anyone know about this group and site?
 ?  ?
The Swallows used to sell ceremonies to non-Natives on the rez until a tribal referendum barred them. It passed pretty overwhelmingly, something like 90% in favor. Trish's site has the article posted.

If I had to guess, I'd think that Lakota elders forgave them for what they've done in an effort to promote unity and get them to not sell ceremonies anymore. of course if Mibbby, Mike, or Craig know
differently, go ahead and correct me.

--- In, cavedweller66 <no_reply@y...>
> --- In, "Judith Brannan Armbruster"
> <jarm48@y...> wrote:
> > Wambli Ho News Report - April, 2003
> >
> >
Judi                                                             ?  ?
> Judi, from what I know about Wambli Ho, it is a non-profit > organization in Colorado and is founded by David Swallow Jr. They say > their intent is to preserve and "promote" spiritual healing and
> native traditions.I'm not sure of this, but I've heard that David > Swallow is looked upon as exploiting Lakota spirituality by selling > Sun Dance and sweat lodge ceremonies,mostly to non-Indians.Can
anyone > add to this if it is in fact true?..........CD66


Craig LeVay" <> Date: Sat, 19 Jul 2003 22:56:17 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: [nafps_again] Re: What does anyone know about this group and site?
 ?  ?
Guess the Oglala Sioux Tribe court systems in some ways were trying to put the clamps on the Swallows and their operation in Pine Ridge back in the late 1990's. ? One of the Swallows is on the board of this Wambli Ho organization out of Colorado. ? So I am assuming they are still running sundances made to order in the Pipe Ridge area. ? From one website on plastic medicine men, a Mr. Rendon who recently wrote a book on sundances was a "conduit" to bring people in for a price. ? Term or euphemism I
here is "sponsorship".

I have seen that go on at several sundances I have viewed...really appalls me....

> If I had to guess, I'd think that Lakota elders forgave them for what> they've done in an effort to promote unity and get them to not sell> ceremonies anymore.

Probably still going on but not as open and blatant...gotta think areas as poor as Shannon County would not shut this stuff down since it is the basis of a small economy there. ? What would Shannon, Todd and Bennett Counties be without the tourism....dead zones....grazing fees and out ? of the way and hard to reach casinos ain't going to support 50,000 on rural, high altitude ghetto....I long ago faced the fact that U.S. Highway 18 was only there for going to some other place.

Churches want to cut their losses and leave. ? Feds also, to a certain extent, regardless of treaties. ? So spirituality will continue to be sold and brought forth to pay the bills and keep the larder filled.

 of course if Mibbby, Mike, or Craig know> differently, go ahead and correct me.

Well Wambli Ho and Wolakota Foundations websites are up and running yet so I believe you have you answer.


BTW, has anyone seen the new book by a Mr. Niese on Chief Eagle....lotsanew black and white illustrations of sundances. ? Saw a copy at Barnes and Noble while looking at book section today....some things in there that should not even be talked about in the open.

asgasdi_usdi" <
Tim Swallow is in th Boston area right now. ? He sits on the Boston Indian Center's drum.

Offline Mo

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Re: Daid Swallows, Wambli Ho
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2006, 11:30:44 pm »
i'm in the boston area and have met Tim Swallow only in passing. He makes and sells hand drums and other crafts at local pow wows. are you saying he also is involved in the selling of ceremonies? if so i can check further next time i see him.

Offline educatedindian

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Re: David Swallows, Wambli Ho
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2006, 03:31:24 pm »
I think the original poster was just saying they knew Tim was in Boston. I suppose it's possible he could be involved but I haven't seen any evidence of that.

Offline Freija

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Re: David Swallows, Wambli Ho
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2006, 03:37:13 pm »
I should say that I asked Al about David Swallow because there were many different opinions about him when I visited SD, including people saying he was an exploiter. ? I was curious to hear what was going on and Al was kind enough to dig out this old info. Thanks! ? :)
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 12:00:00 am by Freija »

Offline educatedindian

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David Swallow
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2007, 01:21:08 pm »
I was sent this article. The same person also claimed it was his relatives who did ceremony selling, not him. I'll post more as I get it.

A Day of Hope on the Pine Ridge Reservation,
New Head Men Appointed: David Swallow, Harvey Iron Boy, and Eli Tail

Text and Photos © September 2, 2007  Porcupine, South Dakota
by Stephanie M. Schwartz, Freelance Writer
Member, Native American Journalists Association (NAJA)
Pictures of the ceremony accompanying this article may be seen at

“This begins a new era to preserve the Lakota culture in a new way.???
-David Swallow

At dusk on Sunday, September 2, 2007, a rare but hope-filled ceremony occurred in South Dakota.  During this third day of the pow wow in the community of Porcupine on the Pine Ridge Oglala Lakota Reservation, three men were appointed Head Men of the Porcupine/Pahin Sinte District and, by extension, of the greater Lakota Nation.

These appointments were not for show.  Head Man is a very serious position for each of these individuals, one which recognizes their lifetime of service as well as one which looks to them to continue to work and speak for the People in an ever-broadening spectrum.

Selected by the people and local chiefs, these men are the traditional Shirt Wearers of today, their lives dedicated to the People.  There are no comparable positions in mainstream America.  Politicians say they are servants of the people but, comparatively, those words are meaningless prattle.  The bureaucrats talk much and take much but accomplish little versus these men who risk much and work very hard, ploughing through the bureaucracy, to actually effect helpful change while asking nothing in return.  These are not paid positions.

So on this Fall evening, after the deceased Veteran’s flags were lowered, David Swallow, Harvey Iron Boy, and Eli Tail stood to publically accept and take up the mantle and dedicated responsibility of the Head Man position.  Cedric Young Bear, Tribal Council Federal Monitor, conducted the ceremony with Headmen Francis He Crow from the Oglala District, Adolph Bull Bear from the Kyle/Medicine Root District, and Steven DuBray of the Allen/Pass Creek District assisting with the ceremony.  Ken Lone Elk and Francis Chubb Thunderheart were also scheduled to receive the Head Man designation but were unable to attend due to emergencies.  Their ceremony will be held at a later date.

The three men of this night are all highly Traditional and spiritual men who speak their traditional language fluently.  Although their daily lives may be very diverse, they are often found working together on issues they jointly believe to be of paramount importance to their People: economic development, judiciary reform, political/government reform, health and education reform, gang activity, alternative energy development, environmental issues, treaty issues, and the end of corruption on the reservation.

Eli Tail (70), the eldest of the three, has a long history as a Treaty Advisor and human rights activist. A member of the Sioux Nation Treaty Council and an Executive Board Member of the Northern Plains Film Commission, he has written and helped to produce two movies, “Through Lakota Eyes??? and “The Warriors Ride???.  He and his wife, Carolyn, also recently founded a vocational/alternative high school called Cokan Tiospaye Owayawa in their community of Evergreen on the Pine Ridge Reservation.  Tail is also founder and President of the Sinte Tiwahe Foundation, an organization dedicated to preserving the language and culture of the Lakota as well as working to institute various projects to help the People in economic, political, and community development.

Harvey Iron Boy (52) was a policeman on the Pine Ridge Reservation for over 13 years before an injury forced his early retirement.  After that, he became the Diabetes Coordinator for the Porcupine Clinic (a non-profit independent health clinic) where he worked extensively on diabetes prevention and treatment programs, supervising the outreach workers, and often visiting rural patients in their homes throughout the District.  Today, he is the Elderly Coordinator and Youth Coordinator for the Porcupine District CAP (Community Action Program) Office as well as contributes his time as a local health activist and volunteer to many elderly families.  Iron Boy also currently serves as Vice President of the Porcupine District.

David Swallow (56), who assisted and was injured during the 1973 Wounded Knee II occupation, was also a policeman on the Pine Ridge Reservation for 10 years.  After receiving a woihamble, a sacred vision, he quit his law position as Lieutenant and underwent many years of training and testing before being recognized by the spiritual Elders as a legitimate medicine bundle keeper, ceremony leader and Medicine Man.  He continues his spiritual work today.  Additionally, after 8 years as a Sundancer under Chief Frank Fools Crow, Swallow was instructed in 1981 to start his own Sundance (as a branch of the Fools Crow Sundance).  This Sundance still continues each year on his family land north of the community of Porcupine.  In 1995, he was also appointed Head Man of the Wana Waygahe (Broken Bow) Band of the Tetunwan Lakota by Chief Leonard Crow Dog.   He is a recognized authority on topics regarding Lakota Traditions and Culture and was the spiritual founder of several non-profit organizations which have assisted his people.  Further, Swallow is also the founder and currently one of the directors of NATRC, the Native American Tribal Rights Coalition, an organization dedicated to economic, political and community development, treaty rights, judiciary reform, cultural and language preservation, and various other issues on the reservation.

The new Head Men spoke in their traditional Lakota language with David Swallow also translating his words into English for those present who did not understand the old language.  They expressed their gratitude and awareness of the serious responsibility they were undertaking.  It was also clear that all three men saw the many issues they would be confronting.

Swallow spoke that, “This is a new day for the Lakota, a good day.  It is a day to put the old grudges and hatreds and jealousies away and move forward together.??? 

“This begins a new era to preserve the Lakota culture in a new way.???

Swallow further related, “The time for hand-outs is gone.  We don’t want or need charity yet the poverty must end.  We need to stop the mismanaged hand-outs from the government and step up into a position of taking charge of our own lives.  We need to help each other achieve our potential.  We must plan out our future.???

“We are not a stupid People.  The Lakota can read and write.  But we need business education and we need jobs.  We need workshops to teach us how to create and run our own businesses.  We need to encourage companies to come to the reservation so that our people won’t have to drive 120 miles to shop or work.  We also need to take charge of our land, water, air, and natural resources.  We need to work to stop the radiation contamination that has now been found in the wells and aquifer and in the surface waters.  This support from you, appointing us as Head Men, will enable us to speak out for you and work for you on these and many other things.???

Swallow closed by saying, “It is the time for this to happen, for ourselves and for our children and grandchildren.  Now is the time to go forward while maintaining the cherished values and traditions of our culture.  Now is the time for us all to move into the mainstream life on our terms and in our way, in the Lakota way.???

Stephanie M. Schwartz may be reached at
Other articles by Stephanie M. Schwartz may be seen at
Pictures of the ceremony accompanying this article may be seen at

This article may be reprinted, reproduced, and/or re-distributed unedited with proper attribution and sourcing for non-profit, educational, news, or archival purposes.

Offline lakotagirl

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Re: David Swallow
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2007, 05:18:41 am »
i know david swallow. he is a good man. he does a lot for the lakota people.
he also works together with a organization in colorado which donates trailer houses to needy people on the pine ridge and rosebud rez.
otherwise he would not been chosen to be a headman. also leonard crow dog and rick two dogs would not support him.
greetings from the rosebud rez
greetings from the rosebud rez
the home of the sicangu lakota oyate

Offline Cetan

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Re: David Swallow
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2007, 02:51:32 pm »
David Swallow was under a lot of criticism for charging for ceremonies, or at least allowing anyone who could give the proper donation to participate. Unfortunately there are a lot of so called chief and holy men who do that, some are good medicine men but bad men.  I have relatives who know Leonard very well, grew up with him and the joke used to be you could Sundance at Paradise if you had the right "green card".

Offline earthw7

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Re: David Swallow
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2007, 03:57:52 pm »
So what does a headman mean at a pow-wow??

Nothing to the rest of the people who are not from that
community. It is thing like this that people don't understand.
One community can appoint a headsmen but it is only for that
community and not the whole nation.
The outside world would see this as he is the headmen of
the whole nation. not!
In Spirit

Offline chiefytiger

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Re: David Swallow
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2008, 01:58:58 am »
I once lived in colorado and went to David Swallows Sundance near HartSell Colorado and what I saw was very disrepectful , While I was there he has alot of ska ppls dancing and there was some women who was dancing on the outside of the Sacred circle and they worn see thru skirts and some was on there moon . But that was some yrs ago ,dont know if he still has his SunDance in Hartsell,colorado. And yes I know Leonard Crow dog as well,he has alot of white women and men who are is entronage

Offline NDN_Outlaw

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David Swallow's Inipi songs on CD
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2009, 03:49:07 pm »

We are pleased to present the following Lakota ceremonial recordings by David Swallow, Jr. David is a Teton Lakota wicasa wakan who was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Wicasa wakan means "holy man" or as some would say, "medicine man". David Swallow's recordings are available for purchase from our main Matoska Trading Company, Inc. web site. The "purchase" links will take you to the appropriate page where you can listen to audio samples and complete your selection.

- If I did this the old people would put me in cement moccasins and drop me in Cree Lake.

Offline Sparks

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Re: David Swallow's Inipi songs on CD
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2018, 02:22:23 pm »

This is the complete clickable URL link to the quote in the preceding post:

Offline Sparks

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Re: David Swallow
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2021, 02:47:28 am »
This is a 2008 topic with only one post so far: [Our Children Are Dying]

Our Children Are Dying

Lakota Spiritual Leader and Head Man, David Swallow,

Speaks Out on Reservation Crisis

by David Swallow, Lakota Spiritual Leader and a Headman of the Lakota Nation

Edited and Published by Stephanie M. Schwartz,

Member, Native American Journalists Association (NAJA)

Text and Photo © July 09, 2008  Porcupine, South Dakota

Our children are dying.  Our children are killing themselves in record numbers on our Lakota Reservations.  They are filled with despair, confusion, and hopelessness and they see suicide as the only answer. 

Many studies point to the hopelessness as being a result of generations of genocide committed by the historical policies of the Federal Government against the American Indians.  But the policies of today are just as damaging.  These policies create a system of “assimilate or die,??? just another form of genocide.

I am not racist.  This is not about hatred or racism.  There are many good non-Lakota.  But the damage from the Government and the mainstream culture and its almighty dollar is killing the children of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nations.  To look for solutions from the mainstream culture will only bring about more confusion, more genocide, and more destruction of our culture and our people.

Yes, our children need help.  Then, they also need jobs.  They need work.  They need to have hope that they can survive.  They need to be treated like real citizens, free to be who they are.

The current programs are not working.  Our Reservations are dry but 60-70% of our people are still affected by alcoholism and drug addictions.  There are a few non-profit organizations that do good work on our reservations.  They really do try to help.  But there are also many, many groups who only make money in our name.  We’re a commodity to them, a way to get more and more money for themselves, while our children are suffering.  It’s the same with some of the Tribal Council and Government programs.  The money never reaches the people, it never really helps anyone.

Our children are living in a world of confusion and chaos.  We need all the help we can get from our own people within our own culture.  Gangs and cults and programs that are ignorant of the Lakota culture are not the answer.  The Lakota child knows they are Lakota but these other things only work to destroy that identity.  They brainwash our children into trying to assimilate rather than respecting and understanding themselves.  They contaminate our children with false mainstream ideas and values which then only creates more desperation.

We could cure our own.  We need to cure our own.

In my grandfather’s time, suicide was unknown.  But today, it is everywhere.  Our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews are crying for our help.  They are dying without our help. 

Traditional spirituality could make the difference.  But the civilized world and Christianity have tied our hands.  Our medicine men, our medicine women, and our spiritual leaders have no standing.  We are not even consulted.

Yet, Traditional spirituality could make the real difference.

Traditional sweatlodge ceremonies could help purify the mind of these children who have been so wounded by society.  It can wake up the spirit that is inside the person.  It can bring healing of the mind, body, and spirit and it could help heal the entire family.  But it needs to be the real thing, led by a legitimate traditional spiritual leader, and not just some sauna with a few nice words.

Learning to prepare foods in the traditional way could help them, too.  It is important they understand that food prepared in a good way nourishes the family in a good way.  They need to know that food prepared with anger and hatred only brings sickness with it.

There are many of the Traditional Ways which would work to bring about healing and hope for these children.  It can restore their identity and become a way of life.  It can teach them how to live a good life, in a good way.  It can give them direction and understanding. 

But we need to stop fighting among ourselves.  We need to stop looking to the mainstream society for solutions.  We need to stop looking to outsiders for cures.  We need to look to the Ways of our ancestors to guide us.  We, the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota People need to help our own grandchildren.

I am not asking for money.  I am not asking for anything from the Government or the BIA except that we be set free.  Set us free.  Don’t try to force us to live in the mainstream ways.  Don’t try to force us to assimilate.  Let us live in our own Ways and heal ourselves and our children and grandchildren.

Ho he’cetu yelo.  I have spoken these words.

David Swallow, Wowitan Yuha Mani

Porcupine, South Dakota - The Pine Ridge Reservation

This article may be reprinted, reproduced, and/or re-distributed unedited with proper attribution and sourcing for non-profit, educational, news, or archival purposes