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Here are two excellent books that read well and can also serve as reference resouces on the subject of the Lakota and their land.

                             The Lakotas and the Black Hills by Jeffrey Ostler


               Wounded Knee: Party Politics and the Road to an American Massacre  
                                          by Heather Cox Richardson

If you want a good summary of Lakota history and an explanation of the status of their claim on their land, the Jeffrey Ostler book is for you.  The first part is the sad story of the unequal military and bargaining power of the Lakota western plains natives and the "overlanders".  The second part is the century long history of the Lakota’s attempts to recover the land. It explains the pertinant judicial cases and legislative initiatives and shows how these have evolved through generational changes in tribal leadership, legal representation and public opinion.

"Wounded Knee.." by Heather Cox Richardson overlaps one time segment of the Ostler book but there is no overlap in content. While Ostler describes the government’s response to the economic benefits of the Lakota land, Richardson focuses how the land was central to the political needs of President Harrison. Besides the need to placate the mining and ranching interests, Harrison saw the land as essential to his re-election.  

Harrison needed the electoral votes that only states could deliver. Creating two States instead of one from the Territory had the further benefit of four and not just two reliably Republican senators. To get sufficient land mass for two states, the land already given to Lakota by treaty was needed. Richardson shows the pressure and deception involved in getting this land and getting it in time to meet the Harrison’s electoral need. She shows the stress on the Lakota people was due to the land issues in that malnutrition and disease resulted from the disappearing buffalo and the diminished treaty-promised rations. Richardson shows how this led to Wounded Knee.

What is encouraging here is the evolution in public opinion. Over the years people have grown in the understanding of the plight of the Lakotas. Ostler provides a quote from the Lakota, Lone Horn (p. 67) that summarizes the attitude of his day: "This is our land yet you blame us for fighting for it."  This attitude permeated the judiciary and legislative bodies the first generation of Lakota plaintiffs faced.  Today, there is agreement that the Lakotas have been wronged and the issues surround how to address it.

Both these books are not only well written for the general reader, they can also serve as reference books.  Since the authors have culled the content to keep to their respective theses,  you want more background on a number of issues they bring up. Both are well footnoted to primary and secondary sources.

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:06 AM PST.

Also republished by Native American Netroots.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (17+ / 0-)

    "ingratiation and access . . . are not corruption." -- Justice Kennedy (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 2010)

    by inHI on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:06:33 AM PST

  •  Thanks for this (12+ / 0-)

    I've republished this to our  Native American Netroots group where it will go into the stream of 112 followers.

    Also our  Ojibwa did a review on Richardson's book  back in August.

    I've read the book also, it provided a lot of history I didn't know about before.

    Thanks for listing the other book, I'll read it next.

    •  Can Ojibwa's book review then be (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maryb2004, Limelite, 4Freedom, DaNang65

      republished to the " Readers and Booklovers" group as well?

      Do you love this place as much as I do? It's so much easier now to not miss diaries, especially if you can't follow the recent red'd list or the FP page constantly.

      I just wonder, when one posts a comment days later than the diary was published, if the group members and authors still want to come back and be inclined to comment.

    •  Thanks for the republish (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Limelite, 4Freedom

      ... and the site. It looks like a group I'd like to follow.

      The Ostler book is short... less than 200 pages.
      While I knew most of what he covered in Part 1, it was still a good read. Part 2 was really impressive because he took the legal issues and made them very easy to understand.  If you are active in these issues, you may know all of this, so I'd advise you to browse it first in a book store or check it out from a public library.  

      The Richardson book was eye opening.  I knew nothing of the electoral issues. These were years of similar turmoil. in Hawaii.  1887 was the year of what is commonly called the "Bayonette Constitition" because it describes the conditions under which King Kalakaua had to sign it.

    •  A Suggestion (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbird, DaNang65, ozarkspark

      If you haven't done so, you may want to edit tags for this diary once you post it to your group that include your Group Name.

      Isn't it great how DK4 allows for much increased exposure of diaries to readers?

      •  uh-oh. (0+ / 0-)

        somebody's getting accustomed to this face...
        (and i'm right behind them.)

        i feel the linked arms of fellowship, worldwide, today.
        and history? a few seconds ago...just a few seconds ago.

        The Addington perpwalk is the trailhead for accountability in this wound on our national psyche. [ know: Dick Cheney's "top" lawyer.] --Sachem

        by greenbird on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 12:15:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Telling Quote (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryb2004, 4Freedom, DaNang65, etbnc

    illustrates how Native Americans have so often been kicked around as political footballs.

    Creating two States instead of one from the Territory had the further benefit of four and not just two reliably Republican senators.

    While I've been lucky to visit the Pine Ridge Rez and Black Hills Nat'l. Forest area, and have a contemporary impression of Lakota life, I feel very ignorant regarding the non-white history of USA.  These seem like books I need to read.

    "ingratiation and access . . . are not corruption." -- Justice Kennedy (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 2010)

    by Limelite on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:12:17 AM PST

    •  Limelite - on the quote (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Limelite, DaNang65

      The reason for the two states was totally new to me. Richardson shows the pressure on the Army and the Indian Agencies to make it happen in time for the Republicans to benefit. It was like gerrymandering on steroids.

      The Lakota were in desperate shape. Without buffalo they had to rely on the agencies for food supplies. These were procured through politically awarded contracts and the food never arrived on time nor was the order complete and sometimes the food was not edible by the time it got there. Lakota were literally dying of malnutrition... and the only hope of better rations was signing another treaty.  Still not enough signatures were received... but the needs were such that statehood had to go forward and it did ... as we know.

      Osler brings this up to date in his Part 2, which shows the legal process.  In the beginning, there was a "we won, you lost" attitude.  Opinion has changed, but how to arrive at a just solution eludes both the Lakota and the US gov.

  •  That first book link (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom, DaNang65

    Perhaps that first web link was intended to go

    Thanks for this contribution.


    Most models are wrong, but some are useful.

    by etbnc on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:39:50 AM PST

  •  Thanks for this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Limelite, 4Freedom, DaNang65

    I remember reading Ojibwa's review of the Richardson book and thinking I should read it.  But what I really wanted was a good history and it sounds like the Ostler book might do the trick.

    I've been reading quite a bit of 17th and very early 18th century history of the Upper Mississippi River valley.  There has been many mentions of how Indians from upper Canada had moved west to escape the Iroquois and ended up along Lake Michigan, but there was a limit to how far they could go because if they crossed the Mississippi they ran into the lands of the Sioux.  And lately I've been reading about the Fox Wars and how the Fox flirted with the Iroquois because of the ongoing conflicts with the Sioux.   I had always thought that the various Sioux tribes were located much further west but I realized that they must have been in Iowa and western Minnesota at that time?  

    So the Ostler book might be a good place to start with respect to the Lakota?

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