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Ghost Dancers at Wounded Knee: Mother Nature is all-powerful

Ghost Dancers at Wounded Knee: Mother Nature is all-powerful
Photo: Cadzi Cody (Cotsiogo), Eastern Shoshone painter of traditional Shoshone life on buffalo and elk hides; C.1885
Mother Nature is all-powerful, and eternity is on her side. What are the inventions of man, the lofty cities which he raises on the borders of the desert, the terrible weapons that he uses to realize and defend his conquests? Nothing but a little heaped-up dust which the great natural forces always tend to restore to its primeval form. Forsake the citadel for a few years, abandon the canon or machine gun for a few months in the prairie, and soon grass and brambles will have overgrown the stones, and rust corroded the hard steel. In How many former times have vast solitudes been peopled by cities! Of them today remain no more than the ruins, and the ruins themselves finally disappear back into the eternally virgin earth. Of what importance are the men who pass? The Spirit has only to blow on them and they will be no more! Then the sons of the Earth will repossess the Earth. And the past time will begin over again as the new time!

(Ghost Dancers at Wounded Knee, South Dakota)
Recommended Reading:

'Lakota Myth'
By James R. Walker (Author), Elaine A. Jahner (Editor), Raymond J. DeMallie (Introduction)

Purchase Book:



James R. Walker was a physician to the Pine Ridge Sioux from 1896 to 1914. His accounts of this time, taken from his personal papers, reveal much about Lakota life and culture. This third volume of previously unpublished material from the Walker collection presents his work on Lakota myth and legend. This edition includes classic examples of Lakota oral literature, narratives that were known only to a few Oglala holy men, and Walker's own literary cycle based on all he had learned about Lakota myth. Lakota Myth is an indispensable source for students of comparative literature, religion, and mythology, as well as those interested in Lakota culture.

'A primary source of research and serious study. . . . Ethnology at its best.'

(American Indian Culture and Research Journal)

'One of the major publications of American Indian myth.'

(Reviews in Anthropology)

'[Elaine Jahner] is sensitive to the analysis of texts, sensitive to meanings hidden between the cracks of texts and correspondences, and sensitive and generous to the scholars—Sioux and non-Indian alike—who preceded her in collecting and analyzing the myths and cultural detail of the Teton Dakota Sioux.'

(Pacific Historical Review)

'An immensely interesting and provocative addition to the literature of the Plains Indians.'

(North Dakota History)
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