WILD12 News & Updates

Speaker Announcement: Chief Arvol Looking Horse

The 12th World Wilderness Congress (WILD12) Executive Committee is thrilled to announce that Chief Arvol Looking Horse will lead the opening ceremony for the Congress which is to convene in the Black Hills on August 25, 2024. He will also lead prayer and ceremony on the first day of plenary – Monday, August 26.

Chief Arvol Looking Horse

Chief Looking Horse is the 19th keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Pipe and Bundle. In service to the Lakota Nation and the land upon which they depend, he has also helped lead the resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

Lakota tradition teaches that the White Buffalo Calf Pipe was given to the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires) by White Buffalo Calf Woman, who also brought the Seven Sacred Rites to the Lakota Oyate. Arvol Looking Horse was entrusted with the White Buffalo Calf Pipe when he was 12 years old. He is the Pipe’s youngest Keeper in a lineage stretching back over 400 years. His grandmother cautioned that if the world did not improve within his lifetime, he would likely be the last of the sacred bundle keepers.

Chief Looking Horse attended a government boarding school and witnessed first-hand the suppression of his people’s spiritual traditions. This experience directly led to his decision to work for religious freedom and the cultural protection of his culture.

Since the 1990s, Chief Looking Horse has given his support to the climate action movement. He attended the March for Science in Washington, D.C., and led the United Nations in prayer and ceremony, as well as the 1997 inauguration of President Bill Clinton. The recipient of numerous international awards for his dedication to creating a more just, peaceful, and healthy planet, Chief Looking Horse continues to practice and promote Lakota traditions, and guarding against the theft and cultural appropriation of Lakota sacred sites and rituals.

The WILD12 hosts and organizers are honored to have Chief Looking Horse lead the Congress in ceremony.

The 12th World Wilderness Congress (WILD12) is a global forum that brings together thousands of delegates to coordinate and mobilize the protection of Earth’s remaining wilderness and wild places. It is hosted by the Oceti Sakowin on behalf of the Sicangu Lakota Treaty Council, and will seek and agree upon new actions and principles in the stewardship of Earth, with special emphasis on reinterpreting wilderness through Indigenous perspectives.

To register for WILD12, please visit the link below.

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