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Singing for a Spirit: A Portrait of the Dakota Sioux

Artist - Author: 
Vine Deloria Jr.
Filled with true stories, legends, and descriptions of traditional Dakota Sioux life, this book is a unique record of a people whose existence was engulfed and forever changed by the westward expansion of the United States. It is also the story of the Deloria family. Vine Deloria's grandfather, Chief Tipi Sapa (Philip Joseph Deloria) provided the detailed portrait of the Yankton band of the Dakota Nation that is the centrepiece of this book. In 1917 this great nineteenth-century leader told the story of the Yankton people to a non-Indian informant. In addition to describing spiritual beliefs, rituals, and traditions of all kinds, he recounted the stories and songs that bound the community together. Vine Deloria has expanded Tipi Sapa's stories and descriptions with material handed down in his family. In his introductory chapter, he revisits ancestral territory, telling the life stories of his grandfather and his great-grandfather Saswe (Francois des Laurier), a medicine man whose vision experience would have profound effects on his descendants. Both men played prominent roles in the religious life of the Yankton and Standing Rock Sioux. The Deloria family stories help us understand the revolutionary changes the Sioux were experiencing during this period, and they offer a sometimes wrenching contrast to Tipi Sapa's descriptions of a distinctive way of life that was already lost to the onrush of history.
history / politics
Native American