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Wakíŋyaŋ is a Lakota (Teton Sioux) word for "thunder" (Lakota wa can be translated with 'people, things' and kiŋyaŋ means 'to fly'). In a mythical context, the word is taken to mean "Thunder Spirit", "Thunder beings," or "Thunder birds" created by Inyan (the first of the superior Gods; he existed before the beginning) to be his companion. Some suggest that Wakinyan is an active principle of Inyan that survived after he became stone, and through which he can still influence events in the Spirit world and the waking world.