Here's what I came up for the meaning of the blue bird (based
on my interpretation of the High Dog Winter Count):
1798: Wiya ka tota an apicilo wapi.
(Lit. Feathers blue-blue to-use-something singing-praise-they).
They sang praises using very blue feathers.
(photo by Michael Bisceglie)
It was agreed to among the people that any one of the tribe
who was seen wearing the blue feathers should be an example to others
in virtue and goodness, and should be esteemed by all as a guardian
of the "nation." Four men at that time were set apart
with the blue feathers.
By an old ceremony men were set apart as "Atéyapi" (Fathers)
and women as "Ináyapi" (mothers). By this ceremony
these people were chosen as leaders in the tribe, and their admonitions
Sometimes a small child was raised to this class because of
a portent at his or her birth that indicated his or her superior
wisdom. Grown persons were raised to this class on account of some
distinguished service to the tribe, as well as for manifest wisdom
and foresight in affairs. Those raised to this class while they
were babes are said to have been generally the most satisfactory
administrators of justice. Such children received careful training
both from those previously raised to this class and also from their
They were taught to admonish with discretion and with gentleness,
to honor and respect each and every one of every age and themselves;
to be kind to dogs and all animals. If one of this class proved
unworthy, one was not deposed, but from that time on, or until one
had purged oneself of old offenses and adopted better manners one
had small influence in the council-meetings, yet the people still
respected him or her.
As men were gifted with blue feathers to designate their worthiness,
women were gifted with blue glass pendants they wore proudly upon
their forehead, though this practice has long since faded.
Khanpéska Imánipi Win (Walking On The Shell Woman),
a wife of Mató Watákpe (Charging Bear; John Grass),
was among the last Lakhóta women to have possessed one of
what they called Mahpíya Tó, or a Blue Cloud Stone.
The stone was actually a flat blue polished piece of glass, possibly
volcanic, which was melted and poured into a sand or clay mold.
The stone was made by a woman of virtue, and only one was given
a year. When it was worn, the woman was held in high esteem by all
as good and honorable, a role model for all women.
Eastern Bluebird is a small thrush found in open woodlands,
farmlands and orchards, and most recently can be spotted in