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books about Lakota Indians
After Wounded Knee: Correspondence of Major and Surgeon John Vance Lauderdale while Serving with the Army Occupying the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, 1890-1891
Michigan State University Press, 1996
Library of Congress E83.89.L38 1996 | Dewey Decimal 973.86
The Wounded Knee Massacre of December 29, 1890, known to U.S. military historians as the last battle in "the Indian Wars," was in reality another tragic event in a larger pattern of conquest, destruction, killing, and broken promises that continue to this day.
On a cold winter's morning more than a century ago, the U.S. Seventh Cavalry attacked and killed more than 260 Lakota men, women, and children at Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota. In the aftermath, the broken, twisted bodies of the Lakota people were soon covered by a blanket of snow, as a blizzard swept through the countryside. A few days later, veteran army surgeon John Vance Lauderdale arrived for duty at the nearby Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Shocked by what he encountered, he wrote numerous letters to his closest family members detailing the events, aftermath, and daily life on the Reservation under military occupation. He also treated the wounded, both Cavalry soldiers and Lakota civilians. What distinguishes After Wounded Knee from the large body of literature already available on the massacre is Lauderdale's frank appraisals of military life and a personal observation of the tragedy, untainted by self-serving reminiscence or embellished newspaper and political reports. His sense of frustration and outrage toward the military command, especially concerning the tactics used against the Lakota, is vividly apparent in this intimate view of Lauderdale's life. His correspondence provides new insight into a familiar subject and was written at the height of the cultural struggle between the U.S. and Lakota people. Jerry Green's careful editing of this substantial collection, part of the John Vance Lauderdale Papers in the Western Americana Collection in Yale University's Beinecke Library, clarifies Lauderdale's experiences at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Birding While Indian: A Mixed-Blood Memoir
Thomas C. Gannon
The Ohio State University Press, 2023
Library of Congress E99.T34G36 2023 | Dewey Decimal 978.004975244009
Thomas C. Gannon’s Birding While Indian
spans more than fifty years of childhood walks and adult road trips to deliver, via a compendium of birds recorded and revered, the author’s life as a part-Lakota inhabitant of the Great Plains. Great Horned Owl, Sandhill Crane, Dickcissel: such species form a kind of rosary, a corrective to the rosaries that evoke Gannon’s traumatic time in an Indian boarding school in South Dakota, his mother’s devastation at racist bullying from coworkers, and the violent erasure colonialism demanded of the people and other animals indigenous to the United States.
Birding has always been Gannon’s escape and solace. He later found similar solace in literature, particularly by Native authors. He draws on both throughout this expansive, hilarious, and humane memoir. An acerbic observer—of birds, the environment, the aftershocks of history, and human nature—Gannon navigates his obsession with the ostensibly objective avocation of birding and his own mixed-blood subjectivity, searching for that elusive Snowy Owl and
his own identity. The result is a rich reflection not only on one man’s life but on the transformative power of building a deeper relationship with the natural world.
Confessions of an Iyeska
University of Utah Press, 2018
Library of Congress E99.T34 | Dewey Decimal 978.004975244009
In this autobiography, Viola Burnette braids the history of the Lakota people with the story of her own life as an Iyeska, or mixed-race Indian. Bringing together her years growing up on a reservation, her work as a lawyer and legal advocate for Native peoples, and her woman’s perspective, she draws the reader into an intelligent and intimate conversation.
The Fort Laramie treaties of 1851 and 1868 changed everything for the Sioux. When Burnette was born on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in the late 1930s, her people were still striving to make sense of how to live under the impoverished conditions created by the imposed land restrictions. Like most Native children at that time, she was forced by federal law to attend boarding school and assimilate into white culture. Her story reveals the resulting internal conflict that she and her people faced in embracing their own identity in a world where those in authority taught that speaking Lakota and being Indian were wrong. After a difficult jump into adulthood, Burnette emerged from an abusive marriage and, while raising four children, enrolled in junior college in her thirties and law school in her forties. She went on to become an advocate for women subjected to domestic violence and the first attorney general for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.
Borne out under the far-reaching effects of the government-enforced restructuring of her people, Burnette’s inspiring narrative of strength and determination makes clear the importance of understanding history from a Native standpoint.
“I am an Iyeska and I am assimilated, but on my own terms. I choose when, where, and how I use the knowledge and skills I have learned. As long as we continue to teach our children and grandchildren the language, values, and traditions of the Lakota people, we will survive.”—from the book
God's Country, Uncle Sam's Land: Faith and Conflict in the American West
Todd M. Kerstetter
University of Illinois Press, 2005
Library of Congress BR545.K47 2006 | Dewey Decimal 277.808
While many studies of religion in the West have focused on the region's diversity, freedom, and individualism, Todd M. Kerstetter brings together the three most glaring exceptions to those rules to explore the boundaries of tolerance as enforced by society and the U.S. government.
God's Country, Uncle Sam's Land analyzes Mormon history from the Utah Expedition and Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857 through subsequent decades of federal legislative and judicial actions aimed at ending polygamy and limiting church power. It also focuses on the Lakota Ghost Dancers and the Wounded Knee Massacre in South Dakota (1890), and the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas (1993). In sharp contrast to the mythic image of the West as the "Land of the Free," these three tragic episodes reveal the West as a cultural battleground--in the words of one reporter, "a collision of guns, God, and government." Asking important questions about what happens when groups with a deep trust in their differing inner truths meet, Kerstetter exposes the religious motivations behind government policies that worked to alter Mormonism and extinguish Native American beliefs.
Interpreting the Legacy: John Neihardt and Black Elk Speaks
University Press of Colorado, 2020
Library of Congress E99.O3B4835 2003 | Dewey Decimal 978.0049752
Ambitious and provocative, Interpreting the Legacy: John Neihardt and Black Elk Speaks
is a new study of the classic spiritual text that is sure to spark debate. Neihardt's work has recently been critiqued by scholars who maintain that the author filtered and corrupted Black Elk's teachings through a European spiritual and political lens. In this book, Brian Holloway offers a rather different view, making a convincing case that Neihardt quite consciously attempted to use his literary craftsmanship to provide the reader with direct and immediate access to the teachings of the Oglala elder.
Using Neihardt's original handwritten notes and early manuscript drafts, Holloway demonstrates the poet's careful and deliberate re-creation of Black Elk's spiritual world in order to induce a transcendent experience in the reader. Through exhaustive research into Neihardt's biographical materials, published philosophical and metaphysical writings, and volumes of taped lectures, Holloway examines the sources of the book's production as well as the reactions to and the implications of his literary portrayal of the spiritual world of the Oglala.
Restoring Neihardt's reputation as a faithful witness to Black Elk's sacred landscape, Interpreting the Legacy: John Neihardt and Black Elk Speaks will be of interest to Neihardt scholars and students of literature, religious studies, and Native American studies.
Lakota Hoops: Life and Basketball on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
Rutgers University Press, 2020
Library of Congress E98.G2K54 2020 | Dewey Decimal 978.004975244
For over 150 years the Lakota have tenaciously defended their culture and land against white miners, settlers, missionaries, and the U.S. Army, and paid the price. Their economy is in shambles and they face serious social issues, but their culture and outlook remain vibrant. Basketball has a role to play in the way that people on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation configure their hopes for a better future, and for pride in their community.
In Lakota Hoops, anthropologist Alan Klein trains his experienced eye on the ways that Lakota traditions find a seamless expression in the sport. In a variety of way such as weaving time-honored religious practices into the game or extending the warrior spirit of Crazy Horse to the players on the court, basketball has become a preferred way of finding continuity with the past. But the game is also well suited to the present and has become the largest regular gathering for all Lakota, promoting national pride as well as a venue for the community to creatively and aggressively confront white bigotry when needed.
Richly researched and filled with interviews with Pine Ridge residents, including both male and female players, Lakota Hoops offers a compelling look at the highs and lows of a community that has made basketball its own.
Life's Journey—Zuya: Oral Teachings from Rosebud
Albert White Hat Sr
University of Utah Press, 2012
Library of Congress E99.T34W489 2012 | Dewey Decimal 978.004975244
“Our people are very lucky to be here,” says Albert White Hat Sr. He has lived through a time when Indians were sent to boarding schools and were not permitted to practice their own rituals. Although the Lakota people can practice their beliefs openly once again, things have changed and old ways have been forgotten. As a teacher at Sinte Gleska University in South Dakota, White Hat seeks to preserve the link the Lakota people have with their past. In Life’s Journey—Zuya, White Hat has collected and translated the stories of medicine men, retaining the simplicity of their language so as not to interpret their words through a Western lens. This is Zuya, oral history that is lived and handed down over the generations.
White Hat also shares stories from his own experience. Using anecdotes he shows not only how the Lakota lifestyle has been altered but also how Lakota words have begun to take on new meanings that lack their original connotations and generate a different picture of Lakota philosophy. Language, interwoven with history, tells the people where they came from and who they are. By gathering the traditions and ceremonies in a single volume, with the history of how they evolved, he has secured the meaning of these practices for futre generations. Filled with warmth and humor, Life’s Journey—Zuya is an enjoyable and enlightening read.
Not without Our Consent: Lakota Resistance to Termination, 1950-59
Edward Charles Valandra
University of Illinois Press, 2006
Library of Congress KIH4937.4.V35 2006 | Dewey Decimal 342.730872
In a 1953 effort to end the authority of local Native American governments, Congress passed Public Law 83-280. Allowing states to apply their criminal and civil laws to Native American country, the law provided an unparalleled opportunity for the state of South Dakota to crush burgeoning Lakota nationalism.
Edward Valandra's Not Without Our Consent documents the tenacious and formidable Lakota resistance to attempts at applying this law. In unprecedented depth, it follows their struggle through the 1950s when, against all odds, their resistance succeeded in the amendment of PL 83-280 to include Native consent as a prerequisite to state jurisdiction. The various House and Senate bills discussed in the manuscript are reproduced in five appendices.
The Politics of Hallowed Ground: Wounded Knee and the Struggle for Indian Sovereignty
Mario Gonzalez and Elizabeth Cook-Lynn
University of Illinois Press, 1999
Library of Congress E99.T34G65 1999 | Dewey Decimal 973.86
This book is the powerful story of the ongoing struggle of indigenous
Americans in the twentieth century United States and of its shift in focus
from traditional battlefield and massacre sites to federal courtrooms
and the halls of Congress.
The Politics of Hallowed Ground includes excerpts from the diary
kept by Mario Gonzalez, the attorney for the Sioux Nation in its struggle
for recognition of the Wounded Knee Massacre site as a national monument.
Gonzalez's personal record of the struggle is coupled with commentary
by Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, a Native American writer who places the work in
its historical context. Together, the two voices will draw the reader
into far more than the continuing struggle of the Sioux people to achieve
The book covers Sioux history from before the Wounded Knee tragedy to
modern times, through the Sioux Nation's long and often rancorous dialogue
with the U.S. government over control of South Dakota's Black Hills, traditional
Sioux lands recognized by treaty in 1877 and never forfeited or sold.
After reading a 13-year-old survivor's narrative of what happened at Wounded
Knee and the list of the dead and wounded, readers will find it difficult
not to share the Sioux perspective.
"Provocative and compelling with its raw incisive written commentary
by a man who is trained as a lawyer but still views his world through
tribal lenses." -- Leonard R. Bruguier, Director of the Institute
of American Indian Studies, University of South Dakota
"By far the most moving, most compelling book I have read about
the Sioux and their ongoing struggle to come to grips with history. Gonzalez
and Cook-Lynn let us see the gut-wrenching realities that people who work
to make a difference face." - Robert Allen Warrior, author of Tribal
Secrets: Recovering American Indian Intellectual Traditions