About Us


Thunder Medicine began as a grassroots organization, based in traditional Native American cultural, social and community practices. It evolved from traditional Native families and communities who preserved traditional ways. The growth has been a dynamic process of sharing information across generations, with elders sharing valuable information with younger generations who are eager to learn. What began as informal sharing of information and practices grew to include growing numbers of interested individuals, families and community groups. Today it is an organization of volunteers based in North Dakota, who respond to the requests from Native individuals and communities for traditional ceremonies and cultural support. Thunder Medicine Lodge became a 501(c)(3) in November 2009.


Thunder Medicine Lodge has created an excellent network of communication throughout the Native communities across this region, as well as across the United States and Canada. In addition to this, they have developed a well established team of volunteers who respond reliably when asked to assist. Native people, who have lived in "two worlds" for many generations, have long recognized the cultural component as a major factor in the lives of both young and old. Many people who begin to practice their traditional ways through mentoring from Thunder Medicine Lodge. Volunteers have successfully changed their lives for the better, and have become contributing community members, who then desire to help other members of the community move toward positive lifestyle changes.

Thunder Medicine Lodge has been successful in developing an extended social community. A large part of Native American culture and practices are focused around traditional ceremonies such as naming ceremonies, healing ceremonies, cleansing ceremonies, social celebrations, adoption ceremonies, weddings, funerals and grieving. There are a limited number of people who have learned the traditional ceremonies and practices. However, there are a growing number of Native Americans, both young and old, who wish to experience and learn their native cultural practices and ceremonies. Practices that were preserved by a few are now of interest to many and the social community is a traditional avenue for teaching.

Having recently formalized the organization as a 501(c)(3) the board has made considerable progress toward building the organization to a professional level. Board members have attended a First Nations Development workshop on Native non profits, and are scheduled to attend a workshop on managing the finances of a non-profit. They are in the process of building a website, and creating printed materials. They are considering the development of programs to support sustainability.

Procurement of land has been successful in Spirit Lake, North Dakota. On this site, Thunder Medicine Lodge is going to conduct its 5th annual Sundance in August. A group of dedicated volunteers worked tirelessly to construct this Sundance lodge. In the summer of 2013, two men traveled from Oregon and Alberta, Canada to construct a permanent outdoor kitchen structure at the Sundance grounds.

A more recent endeavor was accomplished in Rocky Boy, Montana this past spring. Another group of men gathered from Oregon, Michigan, Alberta and Ontario to construct a ceremonial house. Thunder Medicine Lodge recognized the need for a Northwestern United States headquarters and fulfilled the dream with the help of a group volunteers. Rocky Boy informally became the centralized point where the Thunder Medicine Lodge Sundance family gathered for ceremonies over the years. Future aspirations are to construct another ceremony house in Canada near another central hub of our Eastern Sundance Family.

Spring/Summer 2014 Couture Fashion Week was held in the fall of 2013 in New York City. a tremendous annual event for the world of fashion. New York City, one of the world's major fashion hubs became home for Thunder Medicine Lodge for a week. It was a memorable event that Cree Nisga'a Clothing wanted to share with the lodge as cultural ambassadors. The world watched in awe as Thunder Medicine lodge showcased song, dance and storytelling on the runway. The world's leading fashion designers took a keen interest in the Native American lifestyle, traditional clothing and the traits of being humble and respectful regardless of public stature. Fashion week was a monumental experience that was inspiring and left a deep impact with fashion designers worldwide.


Native communities, urban and rural, share many of the same social problems, which can be summarized as overwhelming needs coupled with a lack of physical and financial resources. The statistics demonstrate the disparity between Native communities and dominant culture communities, they are low in areas where we would like to see them high, and high in areas where we would like to see them low. For instance they are high in areas such as graduation rates, opportunity for higher education, and employment, and conversely, the statistics are high in areas such as poverty, unemployment, alcohol and substance abuse, domestic violence, sexual abuse, suicide and diabetes.

The challenge of social problems is coupled with a general misunderstanding of the origins of the disparity between the cultures and a general lack of understanding of Native culture by the broader population. Bias and misunderstanding from the broader American community regarding traditional native cultural practices and beliefs results in a lack of support for Native community based efforts. The mismatch between Native culture and contemporary American culture in ways of living and learning results in increased bias and prejudice.

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