Elva Stricker of the Kul Wíçasa Oyaté (Lower Brule Sioux Tribe) was given her Lakota name at the age of 5: Tasina Topa Wín (Four Shawl Woman). The name represents a wiyan (woman) at all stages of life—“baby, child, woman, and afterlife.” Elva is a member of the Isnatí Awica Lowanpe—Brave Heart Society founded by Faith Spotted Eagle of the Yankton Sioux Tribe. The society teaches teenage women about the Lakota ways through preparation for and participation in the traditional Coming of Age ceremony, which takes place each summer in Lake Andes, South Dakota on the White Swan ceremonial grounds. In the past, there have been over 100 girls from the Ocetí Sankowin taking place in the ceremony.
With the help of her Native Hope Fellowship, Elva plans to help teenage girls prepare for and experience the Coming of Age ceremony, to bridge the cultural gap between generations.
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