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Koto Washi Dallas Chief Eagle

South Dakota

Koto Washi Dallas Chief Eagle II, Sicangu Lakota and Hollow Bones priest, is a member of the Rosebud Lakota Nation, from the Pine Ridge Reservation, Yellow Bear Canyon, South Dakota.

An internationally renowned and recognized master of the Lakota Hoop Dance, as well as a K-12 art teacher, with a Master’s degree in guidance counseling and personal services, Koto Washi now leads the All Nations Gathering Center in Kyle, South Dakota.

Koto Washi has worked closely with children for years fostering concentration and mindfulness practices based on the ancestral creation stories of “Grandfather Rock” to improve self-awareness and management skills. An ambassador of unity and mindfulness within his own community, Grandfather Rock and other stones are used by everyone from school aged children to community elders as a meditative tool to quiet the mind. Stones have even been placed in dedicated spaces in schools and community centers as a refuge for concentration and reflection, replacing the burdens of pain, confusion and suffering with peace, compassion and joy.

This community ministry has developed in parallel with his own practices as a Hollow Bones priest. Koto Washi describes his first days of meditative practice as being “hard to get.” He reflected on early lack of comfort in sitting still and credits his eventual mastery of zazen practice to a deeper study of his own ancestral creation stories of the “stone people.” By focusing on the respect due to these “eldest beings,” he became able to quiet his mind and take his seat with greater ease, in the company of his ancestors.