Putting Things in Order

To understand Lakota songs, which mean so much to us, I think we should identify songs as those before reservation days and those after reservation days. I call 1880 the dividing line because the whole social structure of Lakota life changed by 1880. When we look at the history of our songs and dances, it documents our changing way of life after 1880.

Before the reservation days, respect and honor existed and there was always an order in life no matter what. After the reservation policy came in, the whole social system changed and Lakota people — especially the warriors — started losing their identity.

No one before 1880 would go out in public without knowing the proper order for ceremonial songs in sequence. Ceremonial events were wakangliotake, the gathering of sacred things, and involved respect and order. Those are all traditions we need to put back in order.

—from Standing in the Light by Severt Young Bear

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~ by Jay Taber on November 21, 2007.

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