Oral Teachings from Rosebud
Albert White Hat Sr.
Compiled and edited by John Cunningham
“Our people are very lucky to be here,” says Albert White Hat Sr. He has lived through a time when Indians were sent to boarding schools and were not permitted to practice their own rituals. Although the Lakota people can practice their beliefs openly once again, things have changed and old ways have been forgotten. As a teacher at Sinte Gleska University in South Dakota, White Hat seeks to preserve the link the Lakota people have with their past. In Life’s Journey—Zuya, White Hat has collected and translated the stories of medicine men, retaining the simplicity of their language so as not to interpret their words through a Western lens. This is Zuya, oral history that is lived and handed down over the generations.
White Hat also shares stories from his own experience. Using anecdotes he shows not only how the Lakota lifestyle has been altered but also how Lakota words have begun to take on new meanings that lack their original connotations and generate a different picture of Lakota philosophy. Language, interwoven with history, tells the people where they came from and who they are. By gathering the traditions and ceremonies in a single volume, with the history of how they evolved, he has secured the meaning of these practices for future generations. Filled with warmth and humor, Life’s Journey—Zuya is an enjoyable and enlightening read.
Born and raised on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, Albert White Hat Sr. has lived there his entire life, teaching in the Lakota Studies Department at Sinte Gleska University for more than 25 years. As the grandson of Chief Hollow Horn Bear and member of the Aske Glu wipi i tiospaye, he continues to promote education and awareness for his people in the 21st century while maintaining a traditional way of life. Life’s Journey—Zuya is his second book, following Reading and Writing the Lakota Language (The University of Utah Press, 1999).
John Cunningham lives in Boulder, Colorado, with his wife, Cindy, and his daughter, Catherine. He is an avid hiker and is happiest outdoors.
Table of Contents:
1. I Grew Up in the ’40s
2. I Want to Bring You Up to Date
3. Our Origin Story
4. The Tioṡpaye System
5. Gender Roles, Courtship, Marriage
6. Lakota Songs and Music
7. Introduction to Our Ceremonies
8. Ceremony and Culture
9. The Buffalo Calf Pipe
10. Care and Use of the Pipe
11. The Sun Dance
12. Our Inipi Origin Story and Practice
13. Origins of a Gift
14. The Contrary
15. My First Ceremony
Appendix A: Family Member and Relative Terms
Appendix B: Working with Our Healers
Suggested Reading/Listening List
Praise and Reviews:
"Significant...both as a religious study and a historical study. It is much more accessible than most other books on this topic."
—Tom Grayson Colonnese, University of Washington
"Immeasurably valuable. Its narrative text is anecdotal in style and presentation, it puts you within the locale or setting very directly, and the sounds, sights, conversation, and activities are experienced intimately. I feel and sense Lakota people and others have been waiting for this book. I personally have. With his talent and indigenous sense of scholarship, Albert has composed a book that will go a long way to setting the record straight on indigenous knowledge as a whole."
—Simon Ortiz, Arizona State University