HOKA HEY! — "Hold Fast! There is always more!"

Traditional Lakota warriors would shout "Hoka Hey!" to one another as they charged into battle. In the context of battle hoka hey meant, "it is a good day to die." In his When The Tree Flowered, however, based on his conversations with Lakota Holy Man, Eagle Voice, Nebraska poet, John Neihardt, explained the origin of the phrase. Literally translated, hoka hey means "hold fast. There is more!"

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From 1984-1993 Bridger Productions published a quarterly newspaper titled, Hoka Hey! The venture began as a product newsletter but rapidly grew to a 16 page tabloid newspaper with a circulation of 8,000 in all 50 states and 52 foreign countries. Over the years Hoka Hey! primarily published stories and essays with provocative themes that attempted to bridge the gap between modern American society and culture and traditional and contemporary Native American history, religion and culture. One of my favorites was a series that took two years to complete featuring 8 interviews with Grandmothers and Grandfathers. There were many other wonderful features presented over the years, however, such as the first publication of theology philosopher Thomas Berry’s brilliant, Earth Economics essay and reportage on the 1992 Star Knowledge Conference at Fisk Planetarium in Boulder, Colorado in which scores of Native American astrologer-medicine men gathered for the first time to present, discuss and share tribal stellar mythology.

After eight years the newspaper grew so rapidly it began to seriously interfere with my performing career. I tried letting it go to several professional editors, but Hoka Hey! seemed to require my idiosyncratic touch, and inevitably I was drawn back into the very stressful job of assembling and distributing the newspaper. Finally, I decided I could scratch that itch to write by creating more books, and I stopped publishing Hoka Hey!

That was all before the impact of the world wide web. That was before this website. And the University of Texas Press will published my book, Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull: Inventing The Wild West, in November, 2002.

So it is with great pleasure that I re-introduce HOKA HEY! here at bbridger.com I hope you will return often to bbridger.com to check out the HOKA HEY! section of the website to read essays and that you’ll also invite your friends and relations to visit as well. I am initiating HOKA HEY! in cyberspace with this presentation of my essay, Frank Waters: Becoming Indigenous, which was published in 1993 by the University of Ohio’s Swallow Press in the anthology, Frank Waters: Man And Mystic.

Read All of the Hoka Hey Articles!