Stories of the Sioux / Edition 2

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Luther Standing Bear, a Lakota Sioux born in the 1860s, heard these legends in his youth, when his people were being moved to reservations. In haunting mood and imagery, they celebrate the old nomadic life of the Sioux, when buffalo were plentiful and all nature fed the spirit. The twenty stories honor not only the buffalo but also the dog, the horse, the eagle, and the wolf as workaday helpers and agents of divine intervention; the wisdom of the medicine man; and the heroism and resourcefulness of individual men and women.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Lakota writer, activist, actor, and performer Luther Standing Bear, born in the 1860s, is a remarkable historical figure. Born the year of the treaty that would confine his people in reservations, his traditional boyhood ended when he was sent at eleven to the federal Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania. He would eventually craft his personal story into astonishing narratives (My Indian Boyhood, My People the Sioux), grounding his experiences in his memories of his Lakota upbringing. This collection is therefore a piece of history republished. An introduction by Frances Washburn offers background by detailing the author's life and placing the stories in the context of his original intent in publishing them back in 1934. The stories themselves are strong and vibrant, the narrative voice rich and affectionate. The story arcs honor places and people, and tell of experiences including loss and sorrow, connections with animals, the endurance of warriors, kindness, escape from an unwanted marriage, and more. One, "Buffalo Brothers," is especially touching as it is a first person narrative. All convey the delicate balance that was involved at the time in carrying deeply felt stories to an audience unfamiliar with them, with the explicit purpose of demonstrating to that audience the humanity of the tellers. The irony of course is that the subtleties of this outreach were largely lost on audiences of 1934 and have remained misunderstood to varying degrees since. Given that issues of cultural appropriation and rhetorical sovereignty are very much extant today, these stories remain both significant and poignant.
Library Journal
Standing Bear told his own story as well as that of his people, the Lakota Indians, with the release of these volumes in the early 1930s, some of the first books to tell his people's history from their point of view. Born a chief's son in 1860, Standing Bear witnessed the Pine Ridge Reservation uprising, was well educated, toured Europe with Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, and became an early champion of Indian rights. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803293359
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 82
  • Sales rank: 673,608
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Luther Standing Bear is the author of Land of the Spotted Eagle, My People the Sioux, and My Indian Boyhood (all available in Bison Books editions).
Frances Washburn is an assistant professor of American Indian studies and English at the University of Arizona and the author of Elsie’s Business (Nebraska 2006).

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Read an Excerpt

Stories of the Sioux

By Luther Standing Bear

University of Nebraska Press

Copyright © 2006 University of Nebraska Press
All right reserved.



Everyone tells stories every day. Even the question "How was school today?" is an invitation from a parent to a child to tell a tale. Most of our stories are about mundane, everyday events and are meant to convey information or serve a social function by demonstrating interest in another person's life. But some stories, those told by master storytellers, also delight, entertain, and enlighten. Luther Standing Bear could tell such stories.

Born into the Brulé, or Sicangu, Sioux tribe, Luther Standing Bear's arrival in life coincided with the Treaty of Ft. Laramie, which would eventually result in the confinement of Sioux people to reservations. He lived his childhood in that transitional time between the freedom of the Sicangu nomadic lifestyle and the curtailment of the Sicangu as wards of the federal government. There was no time for years of slow and gradually increasing contact, no time for Standing Bear and his people to absorb what was useful from the white, alien culture and to reject what was not. Change came over a period of only a few years with the pointing of guns and waving of Bibles. In 1879, at the age of eleven, Standing Bear found himself enrolled in Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania.

His experience was similar to that of other American Indian children, who were suddenly ripped fromtheir homes and placed in a foreign environment that expected them to immediately begin speaking another language and living another culture. Standing Bear recalls dismay, anger, and sadness over a forced haircut but surprise and joy over new shoes. He came back to the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota in 1884, vowing never to return to Carlisle.


Excerpted from Stories of the Sioux by Luther Standing Bear Copyright © 2006 by University of Nebraska Press. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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