My People the Sioux

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My People the Sioux
"My People the Sioux" is a good literary work written in 1928. This book leaves an everlasting impression with some because it definitely intensifies the sympathy for the Indians. Luther Standing Bear, also known as Plenty Kill, portrays the dramatic and traumatic changes about the Sioux throughout their traditional way of life. As a young boy growing up, he experienced many of these hardships first hand between his people and the whites. This autobiography is quite valuable as it helps allow us to envision what really happened in the battling times of the Indians. Luther stated this quote, which to me, is unforgettable and very well said. It reads:

"We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, and winding streams with tangled growth, as "wild." Only to the white man was nature a "wilderness" and only to him was the land "infested" with "wild" animals and "savage" people. To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery. Not until the hairy man from the east came and with brutal frenzy heaped injustices upon us and the families we loved was it "wild" for us. When the very animals of the forest began fleeing from his approach, then it was that for us the "Wild West" began."

This quote stated by Luther is stated as if it was said today. It describes the relationship between the Indians and the white folk well. The relationship between the Indians and whites was a battle in the 1860's and it still remains to be a bit of a battle today. The Indian way of life definitely contrasts with many of the ways the white folk tend to live their lives, but with those differences we could bring forth new teachings. If we were to all respect each other in the ways we each choose to live, life and its relationships would by far be at more peace, and we could all grow wiser with each other.

Luther Standing Bear was Chief of the Oglala and the Lakota as remembered by him. But, others state that he was a Brule rather than an Oglala. He was born in the 1860's and matured to a young man through many trivial times for the Indians. He was raised within the traditional ways of the Sioux. He was taught to be a good, respectful and productive young warrior and hunter. But, as times changed, so did the ways of the Indians. Some changes were not performed by choice, but rather to the demand and force of the whites. After many battles had been fought, one battle forced much change upon the Indians; the Custer Battle. This battle forced Indians to conform to the new idea of life on the reservation.

The changes that struck the Indians were not minor ordeals. Their independent lifestyle soon was diminished. As the nature around them, including their prized buffalo, greatly changed, so did they. After many of their traditional ways of life were destroyed, they soon became quite dependent on the government for their living needs, especially for food.

Along with their living needs being greatly changed, so was their religion. The Indians were quite religious in their ways and practices. But, that of course changed when the government stepped in. They would not allow the Indians to engage in their Sun Dance ritual, which was their most important religious and social event of the year. The last spectacular Sioux Sun Dance that Luther enjoyed happened in the summer of 1879, right before he left for school in Carlisle. This dance was a religious ritual, of which they knew God was watching over them. Besides us praying out to God, Our Father, Our Lord, etc., the Indians call out to Him as God, Wakan Tanka, Big Holy, and Grandfather. This is just one more difference that we have between each other, yet it is also one more similarity we have too; we both believe in God. But, the government wanted to do away with the Indian way of life entirely. They desired for all Indians to be transformed into the...
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