Bead on an Anthill: A Lakota Childhood

Overview

This is the story of a Lakota girl's experiences growing up in Nebraska and on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the 1960s and 1970s. Raised in a home without books, she took family and friends as her "books"; their stories are woven into hers. Like her ancestors, Delphine Red Shirt felt a powerful connection to the openness of the plains. She participated in coming-of-age ceremonies and learned the special rules for stringing beads together and the messages conveyed by hairstyles. At the same time, Red Shirt became ...
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Overview

This is the story of a Lakota girl's experiences growing up in Nebraska and on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the 1960s and 1970s. Raised in a home without books, she took family and friends as her "books"; their stories are woven into hers. Like her ancestors, Delphine Red Shirt felt a powerful connection to the openness of the plains. She participated in coming-of-age ceremonies and learned the special rules for stringing beads together and the messages conveyed by hairstyles. At the same time, Red Shirt became increasingly aware of the distance between her world and that of her ancestors.
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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
YA-Delphine Red Shirt, a Lakota woman, grew up on the plains of Nebraska and the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in the 1960s and 1970s. Here she evokes the poetic imagery of her native language to describe the customs of her people. Her aunt teaches her the traditional art of stringing beads together and she and her childhood friends learn to follow ants home to find the stray beads embedded in their anthills. At the age of seven, she performs ancestral dances in a heavy outfit of buckskin and beads, and suffers from the heat. Red Shirt adeptly interweaves the story of her childhood with the cultural history of her tribe in a personal narrative that is part memoir and part anthropology. YAs will appreciate this woman's tale as she successfully navigates her childhood, cherishing her traditions but also learning to embrace a world in which Lakota is not the native tongue.-Pat Bangs, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve

"Delphine Red Shirt gently explores her childhood caught between traditional and evolving Lakota ways. She movingly recalls how her family’s support enabled her to thrive despite the tragedy and poverty of reservation life."—Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, author of Completing the Circle
Joseph Starita

"Delphine Red Shirt has done a very admirable job of interweaving the past and present, the old ways and new ways, and has captured the often poignant struggle to strike a middle ground between these two often conflicting worlds. This story derives a great deal of strength from its detail and honesty."—Joseph Starita, author of The Dull Knifes of Pine Ridge
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803289765
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/1999
  • Pages: 162
  • Sales rank: 643,281
  • Product dimensions: 0.35 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 5.25 (d)

Meet the Author


Delphine Red Shirt is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and represents her tribe as a nongovernmental representative at the United Nations.
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