Photo: Oglala Lakota Chief Luther Standing Bear is notable in American history as one of the first Native American authors, educators, philosophers, and actors of the twentieth century.
'Conversation was never begun at once, nor in a hurried manner. No one was quick with a question, no matter how important, and no one was pressed for an answer. A pause giving time for thought was the truly courteous way of beginning and conducting a conversation. Silence was meaningful with the Lakota, and his granting a space of silence to the speech-maker and his own moment of silence before talking was done in the practice of true politeness and regard for the rule that, "thought comes before speech.'
(Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Sioux Chief)
'Land of the Spotted Eagle'
By Luther Standing Bear (Author), Joseph Marshall (Introduction)
When Standing Bear returned to the Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation after sixteen years' absence, his dismay at the condition of his people 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 also offered general comments about the importance of Native cultures and values and the status of Indian peoples in American society. With the assistance of Melvin R. Gilmore, curator of ethnology at the University of Michigan, and Warcaziwin, Standing Bear’s niece and secretary, Standing Bear sought to tell the white man “just how” they “lived as Lakotans.”
Land of the Spotted Eagle is generously interspersed with personal reminiscences and anecdotes, including chapters on child rearing, social and political organization, 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.