Lakota Lifeways: Continuity and Change in a Colonial Encounter

  • J. Marshall Beier

Abstract

I begin this chapter knowing that I am about to violate at least the spirit of the commitments I have laid out for myself in the preceding chapters. Still working through a pre-conversational moment, I find that I am obliged to engage in at least some small measure of (re)presentation in making the case for real engagement with Indigenous people’s voices. With the aim of minimizing the violences of this exercise, however, I have chosen not to rely on participant-observation in support of my claims, placing the primary emphasis instead on autoethnographic accounts and narratives—that is, Indigenous people’s own texts about themselves. Pratt uses the term “autoethnography” to indicate a form of self-representation by colonized subjects that, because it engages with the ethnographic texts of the colonizer, is distinct from what is sometimes called the “authentic” voice (Pratt 1992: 7–8). But, reflecting the circumstance that the autoethnographic voices of interest here are somewhat more complicated by virtue of their connection to oral literatures, my usage falls somewhere between the two. While each of the autoethnographies drawn upon herein must certainly have been influenced by the exigencies of life in what Pratt calls the “contact zone” of the colonial encounter, the more communal nature of oral literatures suggests that textual revisionism is likely to move more glacially and less idiosyncratically than might be the case where single-author-ized written forms are concerned.

Keywords

Europe Assimilation Gall Sine Hunt 

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Notes

  1. 33.
    Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer, December 20, 1890, cited in Venables (1990: 37). It is worth noting that the author of this casual call for genocide who was the editor of the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer was none other than L. Frank Baum who would later write The Wizard of Oz.Google Scholar

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© J. Marshall Beier 2005

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  • J. Marshall Beier

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