An elder told this story today:
When I was a toddler I went with my grandmother to a prairie dog town. My grandma got down on her hands and knees and began to examine the little white rocks scattered around the entrance to the burrow. The little white rocks were considered sacred because they came from deep within Ina Maka (Mother Earth). When the prairie dogs would emerge from their burrows, little white rocks would be stuck to their fur. They would shake themselves scattering the little white rocks around the burrows.
While my grandmother was examining the little white rocks, there was a prairie dog close by chirping at her. My grandma collected 24 little white rocks which she put in four different rattles representing the four directions. She used the rattles to doctor me when I was sick.
While I only heard the prairie dog chirps ,apparently the prairie dog was giving instructions to my grandmother on how to use the rocks. The prairie dog also told her to never use the rocks to hurt someone or they would lose their power and wouldn’t rattle anymore.
I love listening to stories from back in the day when our people were one with nature and could converse with animals.
Dr. Erich Longie
Tribal Historic Preservation Officer
Spirit Lake Dakota Nation