The work of Kunsi Keya Tamakoce (Grandmother Turtle Land) began in 1987 when Beverly
Little Thunder founded the Womens Sundance to teach the traditions and ceremonies of her
Lakota heritage. Beverlys vision of sharing the ceremonies of her heritage with people of all
nationalities allows many to learn and participate in the spiritual practice of the Lakota nation. In
2005, Kunsi Keya Tamakoce (KKT) was incorporated, with a new working Board of Directors
and a permanent home on 75 acres in Huntington, Vermont, followed by 501c3 status in 2008.
Over the last 22 years, Kunsi Keya founders, leaders, and community have touched the lives of
thousands of women and their families, providing a safe place where all can connect to native
teachings through Sundance, the Inipi, and other ceremonies and activities. In particular, simply
the existence of Womens Sundance, its story and continuation despite many challenges, has
provided an inspiring model for empowerment.
Started by a native Two-Spirit (lesbian) woman, Kunsi Keyas working board, volunteer base,
and constituency are multicultural, multi-generational, and of diverse sexual orientation,
economic position, and walks of life. Many of our constituents are low-income women, and
women are never turned away from ceremony due to lack of ability to support the ceremonys
costs. Elders, children, differently-abled, and women of all backgrounds are fully engaged in
ceremony and all are honored for the gifts they bring.
Kunsi Keya has provided a pathway for native women from Lakota and other nations to come
and reconnect to traditional ways, a place for people of divergent backgrounds to learn and
practice respect for each other and the earth. In rural northern Vermont, this organization and
ceremony led by lesbian and bisexual women of color, provides a unique expression of cultural
diversity. Kunsi Keyas active and visible presence in the area nurtures acceptance and
understanding in the community as a whole, and many local residents have expressed
appreciation for the sound of singing and drumming wafting over the hills during Sundance.