Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. vii

Illustrations

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p. viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

From the very beginning this project has been blessed with incredible support from those who believed in its significance. It has also been a lengthy project, years in the making, and I owe many for their kindness and support. ...

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Introduction: Daunkotapi! (We Are Dakota!)

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pp. 1-22

This work of Indigenous history is a profound departure from standard historical texts, and this departure is significant precisely because it marks a turning away from colonized interpretations of our past toward a decolonized tribal history. To the profession and field that has successfully colonized our past, maintaining hegemony over Indigenous historical discourse through the privileging of largely non-Indigenous written sources...

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1. Okiciyaka Unyanpi (Oral Tradition)

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pp. 23-36

Within Dakota culture, history is an interpretation of the past that becomes active only when a relationship has been developed between a storyteller and a listener. For thousands of years, stories deemed significant enough to perpetuate have been handed down orally through the generations, always reliant on the generosity and veracity of the storyteller and the eagerness and capacities of the listener. ...

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2. Owotanna Wohdakapo (Tell It Straight)

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pp. 37-50

Imagine a scholar sitting before a room full of elders from the culture he has been studying after his first book on them has just been published. Imagine him having to be accountable for his methodology, his translations, his editing, his terminology, his analysis, his interpretation, and his use of their stories. ...

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3. De Iapi Unk';upi (We Were Given This Language)

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pp. 51-67

This mission statement of the Pezihutazizi Wahohpi Wohdakapi Unspe, the Dakota-language immersion preschool of the Upper Sioux Community, was written in September 1999, one month before the school opened its doors.1 Recognizing the crisis in language existing among the Dakota, the establishment of the school was viewed as a means of revitalizing the Dakota langauge, culture, and worldview by attempting to produce a new generation of fluent speakers. ...

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4. Dena Nah'un Waun (These I Heard Growing Up)

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pp. 68-91

Of all the stories Unkanna relayed during this 1992 visit, this first narrative is perhaps the most significant because it lays the groundwork for many of the other stories and reveals much about our oral tradition and how we, as Dakota people, were instructed to conduct ourselves. Unkanna begins by describing his childhood and from whom he received his teachings, essentially laying out his credentials. ...

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5. Taku Ociciyake Wacin (I Want to Tell You Something)

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pp. 92-101

While initially these stories were collected to provide a Wahpetunwan Dakota historical perspective on specific events transmitted within the oral tradition, what became apparent within the first few stories recited was that the history presented from this perspective was also tremendously important for the information it provided about the meaning of being Dakota. ...

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6. Toked Imacage (How I Grew Up)

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pp. 102-125

The following narratives are more personal in nature, relaying information about a variety of topics but all told in the broader context of Unkanna Eli Taylor's life. Thus, as with the last account, he begins with a discussion of his own childhood, though this time providing new details. He discusses the importance of song in his life, offering a couple examples of childhood songs that stayed in his memory. ...

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7. Dakotak Hena Wicawada (I Believe in Those Dakota Ways)

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pp. 126-136

In the last chapter, Unkanna Eli Taylor covers a variety of topics that offer additional insight into the Dakota mind and worldview. While they differ greatly in form and content, they are presented in their original order1 and demonstrate a conversational flow. This section offers a brief glimpse into Unkanna's personal past and allows us to understand more clearly how his experiences shaped his sense of identity and belief systems. ...

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8. Wahokunkiyapi (They Provide Guidance)

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pp. 141-168

Among Dakota people it is common knowledge that scientifically unexplainable events occur frequently and that some individuals are gifted in their abilities to facilitate these occurrences themselves or to interact with spirtual entities who participate in them. No attempt is made to explain them in scientific terms or to verify their occurrence, rather they are accepted as mysterious and left to the realm of those things never completely understood. ...

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9. Taku Wakan (That Which Is Mysterious)

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pp. 169-183

In transmitting these stories from our oral tradition, Unkanna Eli Taylor carefully and consciously conveyed the legitimacy and authority of Dakota oral tradition while at the same time emphasizing the centrality of the stories in the shaping of our historical consciousness. In doing this Unkanna demonstrated that Dakota perceptions of history fundamentally challenge much of what Western academic historians consider standard procedures for historical inquiry and acceptable products of research. ...

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10. Akicitapi (They Are Warriors)

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pp. 184-196

The narratives contained within this chapter were grouped together because they all deal with some aspect of war but demonstrate a definite range in content, format, and style. The first story begins with a brief discussion of languages and the establishment of the U.S.-Canadian border. Then as he talks about love of land, Unkanna relays his thoughts about the thirty-eight Dakota men who were hanged in Mankato, Minnesota, in the winter of 1862. ...

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11. Wicotawacin Yuwaste (It Makes for Good Thoughts)

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pp. 197-203

Historical consciousness is very closely related to feelings of self-worth and pride and is greatly affected by historical interpretation. A problem faced by many First Nations people is the discrepancy between how Indigenous history is interpreted in written texts, most often written by the colonizers and oppressors of Indigenous people, and how Indigenous history is interpreted within our oral traditions. ...

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12. Toked Kapi Oyakapi (Commentary)

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pp. 204-220

This next section is more conversational in nature. Unkanna is expressing some of his concerns about the future, beginning with a discussion over the possibility of a future war and who would fight to protect the people and the land here in North America. His views are clearly indicative of the deep connection to the land felt by Indigenous Peoples, in contrast to those considered by First Nations people to be newcomers or those with connections to other parts of the world. ...

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13. Taku Toktokca Iwohdakapi (A Discussion of Different Things)

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pp. 221-235

This chapter first includes answers to questions we posed to Unkanna Eli Taylor on our last day of recording and follows a more standard interview format. At this point in time he had accomplished his goal of working through the list of topics he set out for himself in the beginning, and it was our turn to pursue a few questions of our choosing in the bit of remaining time. ...

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Conclusion: Oyate Nipi Kte (The People Shall Live)

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pp. 236-241

Over breakfast our first morning in Sioux Valley, Unkanna Eli Taylor commented that he wanted the Wasicu to realize we were human. Somehow, he hoped by sharing who we were as Dakota people, by sharing his stories with others, our common humanity would be recognized. He cited this as a reason for wanting his stories recorded and disseminated to a larger audience. ...

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Appendix A: Explanation of Dakota Orthography

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pp. 243-245

The Dakota orthography adopted by the Dakota/English Dictionary Project (DEDP) and used for his work is loosely based on the one developed by Stephen Riggs in his A Dakota-English Dictionary, though with some distinctions. The dedp knew the Riggs orthography needed revision, but we struggled with which symbols we should continue to use, which symbols should be eliminated, and which ones should be added. ...

Appendix B: Upper Sioux Community Resolution

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pp. 246-247

Notes

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pp. 249-261

Works Cited

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pp. 263-269

Source Acknowledgments

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p. 271

Index

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pp. 273-277