Gerald Primeaux Senior, I am a Huntawa Lakota from the Yankton Sioux Reservation. My name is Chactawa which means Twin Eagle Boy. I was born in 1963 in Yankton, South Dakota, my dad was Asa Primeaux Senior. His dad, my grampa, was Harry Primeaux Senior. My great grandfather was Mitchell Primeaux and his dad was Ed Primeaux, that was on my dad’s side. My mom’s side, we come from the Rainbow Tiyospaye, Rainbow side. My mom was Loretta Charity Rainbow and her dad Harry Rainbow and then his dad was a medicine man just went by the name of Rainbow in our, among our people, that’s where we come from. They call us the Yankton Sioux, the land of the friendly people, you know, that’s where I’m from, that’s where I come from. We grew up watching our Elders, like my father and my grandfather, and the way they expressed themselves through songs, through this Native American Church style, through going into the sweat lodge, through the dance arbors, to pow wow and then sundance. I feel like a very fortunate person to be able to carry on something that they did before me and when I had no understanding of it but I think throughout the years, understanding comes with the knowledge and the know-how. And then now feeling that, being strong in that, through song, through words, through our language, putting it through music, trying to learn like that the way they taught us. My grandfather always told me, Harry Primeaux, “When you do something, you’re going to sing, grandson,” he said, “listen.” He said, “Sing it right. Know what you’re singing about.” So through there now, I’m at the position where, through the language and through my prayers, I put them through song. You know, to try to remember the prayers like when we’re singing, that’s what it’s about. It’s about keeping Mother Earth turning The old people said it made the blind see, it healed the broken bones. You know, the story goes, it came to the Indian people through they say the trail of tears, you know, the trail of the tears the white man was putting us on reservations and they were saying we couldn’t pray this way, we couldn’t talk this way or we couldn’t, they were saying that to us and a woman fell behind when she was trying to keep up with her people and she fell over, ready to just give herself up and die, you know. So maybe through that life she was carrying, a plant was saying, talking to her, telling her, “Why don’t you eat me? Eat me and you will be well. So this lady ate this medicine. She was able to get a little bit of strength so she could sit up again and she gathered all that she can around her and she stayed there for about a week eating medicine. She was able to get her strength back. She was nourished. So she walked forward and she caught up with her people. She kind of shared with the medicine man what she, what she found on the ground and how it talked to her, how it had some kind of life into it. So they ate it. But that’s how it came to us, as medicine and now it’s spread out all over the place and, it has similar ways, it all has similar ways. You go into pray, you go into eat medicine, you go in there to get healed, maybe encourage to where they stay all night and they pray all night to where by the time that sun comes up there is a way of greeting that sun. Greeting the new day to go forward, you know, that was how the understanding that was taught into me.
Gerald Primeaux, Sr., or Cekpa Wamdi Hoksina (Twin Eagle Boy), is a full-blooded Yankton Sioux Dakota singer and song maker. He was born and raised in Marty, South Dakota as one of nine children from the Asa Primeaux family. He is the only Yankton Sioux of his age group that speaks Yanktonnai, or the Dakota Sioux language. Gerald has two boys, Adrian Marquis (19), Gerald Wayne Jr. (17), and a daughter, Olivia (10). He also has two stepchildren, Yvonne (26) and Richard (24). Coming from a large family Gerald, at age 42, is already a Grandfather and has numerous nieces, nephews, and countless other relatives. Gerald’s Father, Dr. Asa Primeaux, Sr, passed away in June of 2002. Asa was well known throughout Indian country and around the Ikahatawan fireplace, Sundance, and Sweat Lodge ceremonies. Asa holds an Honorary Doctorate degree from Columbia University in Columbus, Ohio, and was a medicine man, spiritual leader, and respected singer and song maker. Gerald’s mother, Loretta, is from the Rainbow family. Both his Father and his Mother are full-blooded Yankton Sioux. The Yankton Sioux are known as the people from “the East End of the Village,” and were originally located around Eastern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio. Today the tribe is located in the grassy plains, rolling hills, and creeks along the Missouri River at Marty, South Dakota. Gerald was in the Army for 7 years leaving with the ranking of honorable discharge. He currently lives in Beaverton, Oregon. Gerald is authorized to conduct Native American Church ceremonies, Sun Dances, Sweat Lodges, and is a Pow Wow fancy dancer. He is also continuing the tradition of his father, Asa, and Grandfather, Harry, as a singer, song maker, and storyteller. He has created four CDs of Native American Church-style peyote music. His first three were with Cool Runnings Music: “In Loving Memory” (A tribute to his younger brother Mike who was killed in 1997), “Yankton Sioux Peyote Songs”, and “Songs of Prayer or Life”. His latest musical creation is with Canyon Records and is called “A Tradition Continues”. Information about his CDs can be found at www.coolrunningsmusic.com (click on Native American Church and scroll down to find Gerald’s CDs); and www.canyonrecords.com/cr6377.htm . Gerald is featured on Wisdom of the Elders Radio: Series Two (Program Two: Tribal Rhythms). Gerald likes to give presentations to youth groups and has many talents relating to the tribal history of music and dance, as well as arts and crafts. He shares openly about the spirituality of his people and discusses the Sweat Lodge, Sun Dance, Round Dance, Rabbit Dance, beadwork, quillwork, and tipi making. He likes to include stories of his ancestors and his tribal history. Sam Necklace, his Great Great Grandfather, was noted in South Dakota as the one who brought the Native American Church to the Yankton Sioux people. He also tells a story about Chief War Eagle, the legend of the buffalo, and the creation story of his people. Additionally, Gerald likes to speak about the unity of races. Gerald Primeaux Beaverton, OR (503) 868-9647 firstname.lastname@example.org