Contents

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pp. ix-x

Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

Orthographic and Pronunciation Key

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pp. xiii-xiv

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Introduction

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pp. xv-xviii

My mother told me a story when I began to record her. She told me about Winúhcala (Old Woman) Standing Soldier, a woman who lived near where my mother came to draw water from a hand pump each day. They both lived in a small town in Nebraska near the reservation...

PART 1: Turtle Lung Woman (Kheglezela Chaguwi)

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pp. 1-4

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1. Beading by Moonlight

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pp. 5-14

In the life of the Lakota ‘‘oyáte,’’ the Lakota people, before 1868, the ‘‘oyáte’’ lived a certain way. ‘‘Heha makhóche kį, yąké kį héchųse yąké eš tąya wichóni,’’ back then, the land was as it is now, but the people lived a different way. They lived content and pleased with everything around them. They were grateful for everything they had...

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2. Khagi Wichasa, Crow Men

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pp. 15-24

Turtle Lung Woman told me a story about the Khąǧí wicháša. She said that there were ‘‘Lakhóta oyáte wą wichóthi,’’ that our people made camp in a certain place. It was summer and this particular group decided it was time to seek a better place to camp. There was scarce game in the area and the people were hungry...

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3. Turtle Lung Woman

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pp. 25-32

When my grandmother Turtle Lung Woman was small the people believed in extraordinary things. The medicine men and women were able to make miraculous things happen. As with all Lakota ‘‘wakhayeža,’’ or ‘‘sacred beings,’’ which is the name for children, she grew up believing in the mystical, in the magical stories of how things came to be...

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4. Stones and Turtle Shells

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pp. 33-42

A dream came to her. It came at night, like an owl. It was a clear dream. She saw it the way an owl sees at night. She gained power from it. The power she gained was not that of a man. Hers was a gentle strength. The way an owl flies at night, its soft feathers moving without sound. She saw wisdom in her dream...

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5. Wakiyela, The Mourning Dove

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pp. 43-54

Turtle Lung Woman had certain animals she kept, including some turtles, a small bird, a few dogs, and many horses. She kept some of these animals for her enjoyment and companionship. The horses and dogs she kept for practical purposes. They were useful in her household. She kept the turtles for reasons only she knew...

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6. Ite Siyakhiya's Wives

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pp. 55-62

My grandfather Ité Sįyakhiya, Paints His Face with Clay, had many wives. Atall, handsome man, he took pride in fathering many children. He was like other Lakota men who took pride in certain things. They measured their worth in how many horses they stole, how many wives they had, and, always, in killing the enemy...

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7. Lakota Code of Conduct -- Part 1

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pp. 63-72

I stayed close to Turtle Lung Woman when my mother was busy. I not only observed her closely, ‘‘oíye nawáhų,’’ I listened carefully to everything she said. She told me, ‘‘Líla ehani, apao áchą,’’ a long time ago, as the light appeared at dawn, she awakened from sleep and prayed. She greeted the rising sun with prayer...

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8. Lakota Code of Conduct -- Part 2

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pp. 73-78

Turtle Lung Woman told me many things, including how I was to live and conduct myself according to the Lakota code of conduct. She knew the laws and lived them, so in many ways, it was easy to learn from her. She spoke to me, told me stories, and through her own actions she demonstrated how I was to live...

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9. Thathaka Nazi, Standing Buffalo

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pp. 79-84

Thathaka Nážį, whose name meant ‘‘buffalo that is standing,’’ or Standing Buffalo, was my father. He was Turtle Lung Woman’s firstborn. He was born in the year 1870. What I remember about my father was how my grandmother treated him when she saw him. Their encounters were those of a doting parent and a beloved child...

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10. Matho Cha Wigni Iya, Bear Goes in the Wood

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pp. 85-94

‘‘Kaká,’’ meaning ‘‘grandfather,’’ Mathó Cha Wígni Iyá, whose name means ‘‘bear who goes into the wood,’’ or Bear Goes in theWood, as he was called in the military, served as a scout in the army. ‘‘Kítąla akíchita étkiya ouye,’’ his ways tended to reflect the influence the military had on him. He leaned toward a soldier’s life...

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11. "Akhe Ikto," Again, Iktomi, the Trickster

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pp. 95-102

When Turtle Lung Woman, my grandmother, wanted to tell me a story about Iktó, she would say, ‘‘Akhé Iktó echá,’’ meaning, ‘‘That Iktó, he was at it again!’’ She always began her stories this way. I learned to listen well, for it was in these stories that I learned how not to act. If I listened well and didn’t do what Iktó did...

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12. "Blihe'ic'iya Wa'u," With Dauntless Courage, I Live

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pp. 103-106

Turtle Lung Woman knew the old ways because she was born at a time when things were still steeped in the old ways. They were changing but at a slower rate than when I was born. I was born in 1920, by then she was sixty-nine years old, and the world was changing daily...

PART 2: Lone Woman (Wiya Isnala)

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pp. 107-110

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13. Raised on Canned Milk

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pp. 111-120

‘‘Líla ehąni,’’ a long time ago, it was thought that certain spirits were appeased only when a woman became pregnant. They plagued her throughout her childbearing years. They made her bleed each new moon until she became pregnant, then they left her alone for a while. When she became pregnant, she gathered wood...

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14. "Wichicalala," Small Girl

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pp. 121-128

Our Lakota word for a young girl was ‘‘wichicala.’’ ‘‘Wi ’’ means ‘‘woman,’’ and ‘‘chįcá’’ signifies ‘‘her child.’’ A young girl was considered a ‘‘woman’s child.’’ Indeed she was under the mother’s care until she reached puberty. ‘‘Iše wiyą iyéchel khuwáb,’’ my grandmother Turtle LungWoman said, ‘‘A young girl...

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15. Horses of Many Colors

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pp. 129-134

The colors one sees on the plains, ‘‘makhóche kį,’’ on the earth, are unchanging with the seasons. The hills are the same color except in early spring when we say ‘‘pheží šá,’’ ‘‘the grass is red.’’ The things that change color are the things that are alive. The things that move upon the land, like the wind on the buffalo...

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16. Whispers

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pp. 135-140

I started at the school they called Number Sixteen when I was six years old. I went to what was called primary school at the day school operated by the federal government. It was not a boarding school, so all of the children came in the morning and went home in the late afternoon...

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17. The Grasses They Grew – Part 1

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pp. 141-150

I did not go to school for the full year. My school year began in December, right before Christmas, and continued through the end of the school year in June. I remember in the mid-1920s how it was in my family. In early June, my father and other families began preparing to leave the reservation to find work in the farm fields in Nebraska...

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18. The Grasses They Grew – Part 2

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pp. 151-158

My father and mother went into Nebraska in those days so that they could buy food to live through the long winters. When I was younger, there was no other way to survive. They did this to live. They worked and saved their pay. On Saturday they bought food in large quantities. They shopped at a store in Tháhca...

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19. Canvas Moccasins

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pp. 159-164

When I was a young girl, what I noticed about the women of my mother’s generation was the long dresses they wore. These dresses extended down to their ankles. Their dresses had long sleeves and high collars that came up to the neck as well. They covered every part of themselves. That was how I saw them dress...

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20. My Father Was a Dancing Man

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pp. 165-172

My father, Thathaka Nážį, ‘‘wachí wicháša hécha,’’ he was a dancing man. As long as I remember, he danced the Omáha Dance, which the Lakotas learned from the Omaha people. This dance had great significance for the person performing, like many things among the Lakotas. This was because no one did anything on a whim...

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21. My Father's Dreadful Dream

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pp. 173-178

When I was five years old, ‘‘atéwaye kį hé wíhąble wą thehíka yuhá,’’ my father, Thathaka Nážį, had a dreadful dream. The word ‘‘thehíka,’’ meaning ‘‘difficult,’’ was something that only the strong can bear. My father was a solid man, but the dream he had filled him with dread, and for a long time he tried to deny...

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22. Kettle Dance

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pp. 179-182

Thathaka Nážį,myfather, was told thatWakiyą would leave him alone if he sacrificed a ‘‘šukala,’’ a young dog, less than ten weeks old.Ašukala is a ‘‘wahóši,’’ or ‘‘messenger,’’ and exits the world through the west to tell Wakiyą that Thathaka Nážį has had a dream and grows sick from it. It was said that Wakiyą is the patron of increase...

PART 3: Death

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pp. 183-186

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23. Rations

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pp. 187-192

I remember in the 1930s, at every new moon, the government gave us rations that were surplus government food. It was after the treaties were made between our people and the government that issues of food, clothing, blankets, and other things, like farm implements and seeds, were given to us in return...

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24. "Taya Wablake," Clear Eyes

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pp. 193-200

I had five brothers, and my oldest brother was Zįtkála Ská, White Bird. He would sometimes help Turtle Lung Woman and Kaká Bear Goes in the Wood, when he was alive. He had a Model T Ford, so he would take them wherever they wanted to go. ‘‘Wicháyuha,’’ he took care of them. They sat in the back...

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25. "Apetu ki hel," On a Given Day, I Became a Woman

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pp. 201-210

One day, I was getting ready for school. I was in sixth grade at the ‘‘day school.’’ We called it the day school because it was different from the boarding school where other children were sent. My family kept me home, and I attended the day school...

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26. Buffalo Ceremony

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pp. 211-216

In the 1930s, a round dance hall was built near Porcupine Creek, right below where the water tower is near the school. It was built in an area situated between the bends of the meandering creek. The trees along the creek sheltered it from the strong winds. A natural spring nearby provided drinking water...

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27. Mata, A Cheyenne Woman

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pp. 217-224

‘‘Hųká eyá kį hé bluhá wą héhą,’’ this ceremony that they call the Hųká Lowapi, or Making a Relative Ceremony, when I had it, it was done this way. It happened after the Išnáthi Awíchalową, the song they sing for one who lives alone, the ceremony for a young girl when she becomes a woman. I had it when I experienced...

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28. "Phezuta," Peyote

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pp. 225-230

In the winter when the ceremony began it was dark. In the summer they sat down at dusk, ‘‘kítąla apa chą,’’ when it was still light out. We called them ‘‘meetings.’’ The meetings were held in someone’s home, usually in a room large enough to allow twenty or so people in, including children. The house...

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29. "Thawicuku," Marriage

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pp. 231-236

My oldest brother’s Lakota name was Zįtkála Ská, White Bird. He brought home a young woman to meet my mother and father. Her name was Jessie Ghost Bear. She was from the Sand Hills area, where the Ghost Bears lived. He wanted her to be his wife. Since he was ‘‘thokápha,’’ the eldest...

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30. Brooks Horse

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pp. 237-240

I went to school until I was eighteen. Then I was married and I stopped going to school. The man I married was a ‘‘khoškálaka,’’ a young man who owned many things. He owned many acres of land. I was married for three years when he left me...

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Epilogue

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pp. 241-242

My mother, Wiyą Išnála, Turtle Lung Woman’s granddaughter, lived for another fifty-eight years beyond this story. After Jessica died in 1941, she gave birth to nine children between the years 1943 and 1961. This story ends in 1941 because that is the time period she chose to share with me...