Standing in the Light: A Lakota Way of Seeing

Overview

For most of his adult life Severt Young Bear stood in the light - in the center ring at powwows and other gatherings of Lakota people. As founder and for many years lead singer of the Porcupine Singers, a traditional singing and drumming group, he also stood, figuratively, in the light of understanding of the cherished Lakota heritage. Young Bear's own life in Brotherhood Community, Porcupine District of the Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation, is the linchpin of this narrative, which ranges across the landscape of ...
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Overview

For most of his adult life Severt Young Bear stood in the light - in the center ring at powwows and other gatherings of Lakota people. As founder and for many years lead singer of the Porcupine Singers, a traditional singing and drumming group, he also stood, figuratively, in the light of understanding of the cherished Lakota heritage. Young Bear's own life in Brotherhood Community, Porcupine District of the Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation, is the linchpin of this narrative, which ranges across the landscape of Lakota culture, from the significance of names to the search for modern Lakota identity, from Lakota oral traditions to powwows and giveaways, from child-rearing practices to humor and leadership. "Music is at the center of Lakota life," says Young Bear; he describes in rich detail the origins and varieties of Lakota song and dance. A descendant of chiefs and of Wounded Knee survivors, he recounts his role in Wounded Knee II in 1973 and his association with the AIM Song. A highly respected musician, teacher, and elder, Severt Young Bear performed with the Porcupine Singers throughout the United States and in Canada, taught at the Oglala Lakota College, and served on the Oglala Sioux tribal council and other tribal boards. He was much sought after as a lecturer and was music and dance consultant for the films Dances with Wolves and Thunder Heart. This book is the fruit of his long friendship and collaboration with R. D. Theisz, a fellow Porcupine Singer and professor of communications and education at Black Hills State University. Says Theisz, "We're trying to write this book so that Lakota people and our nonIndian friends can find better understanding . . . so that those people waiting in the darkperhaps we have a little of them in all of us - can approach the light."
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Young Bear's family history encompasses not only his own ancestry but a whole rich world of Lakota oral tradition, etymology, singing and dancing, and identity.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803299122
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1996
  • Series: American Indian Lives Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 209
  • Sales rank: 507,007
  • Product dimensions: 6.03 (w) x 8.99 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: Two Minds Working as One
Brief History of the Sioux
Pt. I Grandfather Rode through Smoke: Names Tell Stories 2
Pt. II Butterflies from the Mouth of an Elk: The Oral Tradition 16
Etymologies: Words Full of Meaning 17
Sio Paha: The Medicine Hill 19
Plenty Wolf's Journey 22
The Double Woman 24
Elk Power and the Dream Flute 25
The Great Migration 27
He Sapa: The Black Mountains 28
Lakota Public Speaking 33
Pt. III The Singing Rooster in the Black Hills: Lakota Singing and Dancing 38
Making Songs 49
The History of Lakota Song and Dance 53
Giving and Feeding 57
The History of Porcupine Singers 63
Songs to Pray and Honor 78
Dancing behind Drawn Curtains: Social Dance Songs 86
Dancing for Money: Contests 93
Pt. IV Running on the Edge: The Search for Modern Lakota Identity 106
Identity: Knowing All of Yourself 106
Slow Thinkers and Silent Eaters: Lakota Leadership 113
Growing Up Lakota: Child Rearing, Health, and Education 121
The Hard Things in Life: Limits and Commitment 126
Tiole: Looking for a Home 132
Agony and Renewal: Wounded Knee I and II; AIM 138
Lakota Humor 168
The Four Circles 175
Postscript 180
Pronunciation Guide 181
Selected Bibliography 183
Index 187
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2000

    Lakota Culture (as seen from the inside out)

    In 1993 my 11 year old son and I had the priviledge of meeting Severt Young Bear Sr. at the yearly cross-cultural forum of International Brotherhood Days. Held each July at the Young Bear Dance Grounds just east of Porcupine, SD., Brotherhood Days is founded on the vision of Mr. Young Bear in hopes of fostering respect and understanding of Lakota culture among both native and non-native peoples. During the eight day forum Severt talked often of the colaborative work with his friend Dr. Ronnie Theiz and the resulting book, 'Standing in the Light, a Lakota Way of Seeing.' Severt hoped that this book would serve as a milepost on the long road for those that wished to better understand Lakota culture. Like Brotherhood Days which teaches the Lakota world view from the cultural experiences of respected elders and the expertise of noted authorities, 'Standing in the Light,' also is drawn upon the collective experiences of a man, Severt Young Bear, that is widley regarded as a respected elder and noted authority. 'Standing in the Light' touches on the importance of tradition, music, dance and song in past and contempory Lakota culture. As a self styled student of Lakota culture I value this book as among the most important in my collection. Highly reccommended.

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