This essay explores the connections between traditional culture and communication practices of the Lakota. Data were gathered through observation, interviews with elders, and archival analysis conducted primarily with the Sicangu Lakota of the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota with additional data from the Oglala Lakota of Pine Ridge and Dakota of Lake Traverse Reservations. The central principle of Lakota philosophy that emerged from the research was the concept of mitakuye oyasin (translated as “we are all related” or “all my relatives”). From the core principle of mitakuye oyasin another cultural principle emerged— respect. Based on those cultural principles, the Lakota developed an extensive value system including the prevalent values of bravery, generosity, fortitude, and wisdom. This value system affected the growth of their kinship system and related cultural communication practices such as avoidances, use of silence, and minimal eye contact.


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pp. 341-362
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