Led by the medicine men,

the dancers made a solemn march from the sun-dance tipi to the dance circle. The medicine man who acted as intermediary to the Great Spirit walked ahead along a marked trail carrying a painted buffalo skull. This was placed upon the altar facing the sacred pole together with a loaded peace pipe. Before the men underwent their ordeal it was the babies’ turn to have their ears pierced. A space had been covered with sage, and here the mothers sat with their little ones calling to this or that brave and wise man to perform this task. While the men pierced the tiny earlobes with an awl they told of their brave deeds and reminded the parents to bring up the children in the right way-the Sioux way. This was supposed to influence the minds of the children, but not right away, I think, because there was much crying and squealing among the little ones.”- John (Fire) Lame Deer – Seeker of Visions