All My Relatives: Exploring Lakota Ontology, Belief, and Ritual by David C. Posthumus
By David C. Posthumus. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2018. vii + 266 pp. Illustrations, maps, notes, references, index. $55.00, cloth.
In All My Relatives, author David Posthumus explores Lakota belief, ritual, and ontology through the Indigenous perspectives of Ella Deloria, Vine Deloria Jr., Albert White Hat, and other academic sources relating to Lakota spirituality. Posthumus digs deep into Lakota culture and history, bridging these perspectives with the philosophies and symbolism of Lakota ethnography. He draws upon Lakota mythology, ceremony, visions, and ritual in his reevaluation of animism and the role it plays within Lakota relational ontology. Posthumus utilizes Lakota historical texts, field interviews with Lakota elders, and documented lived experiences of the Lakota to discover and define Lakota phenomenology. Vine Deloria Jr. states, "Indians consider their own individual experiences, the accumulated wisdom of the community that has been gathered by previous generations, their dreams, visions and prophecies, and any information's received from birds, animals, and plants as data that must be arranged, evaluated and understood as a unified body of knowledge" (66). It is this vast body of Lakota knowledge from which the author draws upon for the inspiration and background of this superb read.
Posthumus's inclusion of Lakota narratives and perspectives gives the reader a look into the culture, spirituality, and beliefs of the Siouan people from a nonwesternized theoretical framework. By inviting the reader to view it from a Native lens, Posthumus adds richness and integrity to the background and history of the Lakota people. Posthumus states, "Both subjective and collective experience, along with practical adaptability, are at the very core of Lakota and other tribal worldviews" (33). All My Relatives provides us with a look into the core beliefs and practices of the Lakota people from an ontological view as well as an ethnographic one. Posthumus's firm grasp of Lakota history and culture adds clarity and historical significance to text, which is vital to understanding the Lakota people, their beliefs, and their rituals.
Black Hills State University