Standing Bear’s dismay at the condition of his people, when after sixteen years’ absence he returned to the Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation, may well have served as a catalyst for the writing of this book, first published in 1933. In addition to describing the customs, manners, and traditions of the Teton Sioux, Standing Bear (as Richard N. Ellis notes in the foreword) “also offered more general comments about the importance of native cultures and values and the status of Indian people in American society.” With the assistance of Melvin R. Gilmore, curator of ethnology at the University of Michigan, and his niece and secretary, Warcaziwin, Standing Bear sought to tell the white man “just how we lived as Lakotans.” His book, generously interspersed with personal reminiscences and anecdotes, includes chapters on child rearing, social and political organization, the family, religion, and manhood. Standing Bear’s views on Indian affairs and his suggestions for the improvement of white-Indian relations are presented in the two closing chapters.
Standing Bear’s My People the Sioux (1928), edited by E. A. Brininstool, also is available in a Bison Books edition, with an introduction by Richard N. Ellis.
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