„Among the Lakota people, the heyoka (heyókȟa, also spelled „haokah,“ „heyokha“) is a contrarian, jester, satirist or sacred clown. The heyoka speaks, moves and reacts in an opposite fashion to the people around them … The heyókȟa symbolize and portray many aspects of the sacred, the Wakȟáŋ. Their satire presents important questions by fooling around. They ask difficult questions, and say things others are too afraid to say. By reading between the lines, the audience is able to think about things not usually thought about, or to look at things in a different way … Principally, the heyókȟa functions both as a mirror and a teacher, using extreme behaviors to mirror others, thereby forcing them to examine their own doubts, fears, hatreds, and weaknesses. heyókȟa also have the power to heal emotional pain; such power comes from the experience of shame — they sing of shameful events in their lives, beg for food, and live as clowns. They provoke laughter in distressing situations of despair and provoke fear and chaos when people feel complacent and overly secure, to keep them from taking themselves too seriously or believing they are more powerful than they are.
In addition, sacred clowns serve an important role in shaping tribal codes. Unbound by societal constraints, heyókȟa are able to freely violate cultural taboos and critique established customs. Paradoxically, however, it is by violating these norms and taboos that they help to define the accepted boundaries, rules, and societal guidelines for ethical and moral behavior. This is because they are the only ones who can ask „Why?“ about sensitive topics and employ satire to question the specialists and carriers of sacred knowledge or those in positions of power and authority.“ (Wikipedia)