Prairie Crocus Flower Blossoms On The Northern Great Plains.
The Prairie Crocus is known by many names: Pasque/Passover Flower,
Easter Flower, or Wind Flower. The Lakota know this same flower
as Hoksichekpa, or "Child's Navel," for it resembled a child's navel
in the process of healing after the umbilical cord has fallen off.
One of the legends associated with this flower is that long
ago, it was white.
The Lakota have the story of a young man who went to the hill
to pray, a spiritual practice still with them today. As day became
night, the air cooled, and the young man pulled his bison robe around
himself for warmth. A small voice by his feet called out, "Thank
you!" He looked down and was surprised to discover that it was a
little white flower that addressed him.
As the days and nights passed, the young man and the white flower
enjoyed one another's company as they watched the yellow sun rise
around a scene of purple mountains. The young man took great comfort
in the little white flower's companionship, who assured him that
he would soon receive his vision.
On the last morning, the Morning Star rose into the sky and
the young man received his vision; it was revealed to him that he
would be a medicine man and help his people. For assuring the young
man and for keeping him company, Morning Star gave the little white
flower the option of choosing for herself three gifts.
The little white flower asked for a heavy robe of her own to
keep her warm, the color of the purple mountains for her dress (petals),
and the warmth of the golden sun in her heart. To this day, in the
early spring, when winter snow can still appear, the little flower's
lavender robe opens to reveal her golden heart.
On occasion, Hoksichekpa opens a white robe. A white Hoksichekpa
is very rare. When one encounters a white one, they say a bison
drew its last breath in that very spot.
The Lakota people say that the Hoksichekpa is the Unci (Grandmother)
of the flowers. She is the first to appear, announcing that spring
is here and the bison will bear their young. She addresses all the
other flowers as grandchildren. When all the birds have returned,
and the animals have come back out, it is her time to die.
Hoksichekpa even inspires the other flowers with a song of encouragement,
"Take courage children of the flower nation, you shall appear all
over the land. As you wake and rise from Grandmother Earth, I stand
here old and gray."
She shows by her example that all must go on to the land prepared
for them by their ancestors. Each spring Hoksichekpa returns to
share the same message to the next generation of flowers.