"TIYOSPAYE"---Tiyospaye is Lakota/Dakota for Family. Tiyospaye means Family but it's this idea of the family which this word really represents. This idea of family includes immediate family but extends out to include relatives we may have grown up with or longtime family friends that we no longer call friends but family. This idea of family is always growing and changing.
A few examples in my own life that best describes tiyospaye is being introduced to a family member that I have never met, for me there is a feeling of connection to something larger upon meeting. Another example, a long period of time can go by when I talked to someone last but when we see each other again a conversation can start like it was just yesterday when we last talked.
The idea for this piece came from a funeral I attended. Just one of many funerals. Sitting there I noticed all of the beautiful star quilts that were hung up behind the casket. These star quilts were different colors, patterns, stitching and designs. These star quilts were donated or made by friends and family to honor the loved one who made their journey home. Family members will stay up for days sewing and stitching together these star quilts for the service.
The eight-pointed star on the quilt represents the Morning Star. The Morning Star is one of the brightest objects during the dawn and it guides us during this life and into the next. The eagle is a symbol for the Creator. As the eagle ascends towards the Heavens, carrying the spirit of our loved one, they take their place with the loved ones who have made their journey before us. Our family in Heaven is represented by the tepees above the wings of the eagle.
The smoke in this piece represents our connection to our family who have made their journey home already. It also represents the mystery of life and death that we will not fully understand until we make our journey home.
Death is not the end. When someone leaves this life that doesn't mean we are disconnected from our loved one. Our connection only grows stronger as another loved one joins our Tiyospaye in heaven. We may think we are losing someone as a matter of fact our family on the other side is welcoming our loved one
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