Happy hunting ground

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The happy hunting ground was the name given to the concept of the afterlife by several of the Great Plains tribes of American Indians, including the Oglala Lakota. It is an afterlife conceived of as a paradise in which hunting is plentiful and game unlimited.


Lakota people believe that after death, the spirit of the deceased person goes to the happy hunting ground. This belief corresponds with the general Sioux belief that everything has a spirit; including trees, rocks, rivers and almost every natural entity. This therefore leads to the existence of an afterlife. The Indian tribes had many spiritual dances such as the sun dance and the ghost dance, which directly refers to the spirits of the dead returning to life.

The name indicates the characteristics of this afterlife tradition: the happy hunting ground resembled the living world, but with much better weather and animals such as rabbit, deer and bison that were both plentiful and easy to hunt.

"I will follow the white man's trail. I will make him my friend, but I will not bend my back to his burdens. I will be cunning as a coyote. I will ask him to help me understand his ways, then I will prepare the way for my children. Maybe they will outrun the white man in his own shoes. There are but two ways for us. One leads to hunger and death, the other leads to where the poor white man lives. Beyond is the happy hunting ground where the white man cannot go."

— Many Horses - Oglala Lakota[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Many Horses - Oglala Sioux". Firstpeople.us. Retrieved 2016-10-06.

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