Book Club

Our Book Club is an opportunity for interested persons to come together to review and discuss the book assigned to each month. The book selections revolve around learning from those authors that offer a viewpoint through their books that will bring healing or understanding of issues that impact our mission to reverse institutional or individual racism. The Book Club is an opportunity for participants to express any lessons they may have learned, and can come together to talk about the books and the reading experience.

The Book Club typically meets on the 4th Monday of each month at the Rapid City Public Library, 610 Quincy Street (Rapid City). The evening begins at 5:30pm with a shared snacks.

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Deloria looks at medicine men, their powers, and the Earth's relation to the cosmos. In his final work, Deloria takes us into the realm of the spiritual and reveals through eyewitness accounts the immense power of medicine men. The World We Used to Live In, a fascinating collection of anecdotes from tribes across the country, explores everything from healing miracles and sacred rituals to Navajos who could move the sun. In this compelling work, which draws upon a lifetime of scholarship, Deloria shows us how ancient powers fit into our modern understanding of science and the cosmos, and how future generations may draw strength from the old ways.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vine Victor Deloria Jr. (March 26, 1933 – November 13, 2005) was a Native American author, theologian, historian, and activist. From 1964 to 1967, he had served as executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, increasing tribal membership from 19 to 156. Beginning in 1977, he was a board member of the National Museum of the American Indian, which now has buildings in both New York City and Washington, DC. He was influential in the development of what scientific critics called American Indian creationism, but which American Indians referred to as defenses against scientific racism.

Vine Deloria Jr. was born in Martin, South Dakota, near the Oglala Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He was the son of Barbara Sloat (née Eastburn) and Vine Victor Deloria Sr. His father studied English and Christian theology and became an Episcopal archdeacon and missionary on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. His father transferred his and his children's tribal membership from the Yankton Sioux to Standing Rock.

Deloria was first educated at reservation schools, then graduated from Kent School in 1951. He graduated from Iowa State University in 1958 with a degree in general science. Deloria served in the Marines from 1954 through 1956.

Originally planning to be a minister like his father, Deloria in 1963 earned a theology degree from the Lutheran School of Theology, then located in Rock Island, Illinois. In the late 1960s, he returned to graduate study and earned a law degree from University of Colorado Law School in 1970.

July 22, 2019 and August 26 at 5:30pm


Oceti Sakowin Essential Understanding and Standards

Rapid City Community Conversations hosted a series of Book Clubs focused on gaining a better appreciation of the Oceti Sakowin Standards. Interested participants, specifically educators tasked with teaching the standards, were encouraged to join us each month. As the series comes to a close, we still encourage everyone to take the time to read the series on your own.

ABOUT THE SOUTH DAKOTA OFFICE OF INDIAN EDUCATION OCETI SAKOWIN PROJECT: The 2007 Indian Education Act mandated the development of course content for curriculum and coursework in South Dakota American Indian history and culture. As a result of this mandate, the South Dakota Office of Indian Education pursued funding in order to begin the development of materials. In 2008, the Indian Land Tenure Foundation awarded a grant to the South Dakota Office of Indian Education to begin the Oceti Sakowin Project. For the past three years, many talented and passionate educators worked together to develop the Oceti Sakowin Core Concepts. The following document, The Essential Understandings and Standards, was developed by a smaller work group over the final year of the project. The project was completed in July 2011. Although much time and energy was put into the project, it is just the beginning and a small step towards the work that needs to be done in creating curriculum and course work in the history and culture of the Oceti Sakowin. Since the Oceti Sakowin culture is based in oral tradition, there are other versions of the history and culture that are also correct. The goal of this project was to give school districts in South Dakota some basic knowledge about the Oceti Sakowin.

“The hope is that citizens who are well educated about the Oceti Sakowin history and culture will be more likely to make better decisions in the arena of Indian issues and to get along better with one another”, (Dr. Craig Howe 2010).


MY INDIAN BOYHOOD by Luther Standing Bear: Although the traditional Sioux nation was in its last days when Luther Standing Bear was born in the 1860s, he was raised in the ancestral manner to be a successful hunter and warrior and a respectful and productive member of Sioux society. Known as Plenty Kill, young Standing Bear belonged to the Western Sioux tribe that inhabited present-day North and South Dakota. In this book, he describes the home life and education of Indian children. Like other boys, he played with toy bows and arrows in the tipi before learning to make and use them and became schooled in the ways of animals and in the properties of plants and herbs. His life would be very different from that of his ancestors, but he was not denied the excitement of killing his first buffalo before leaving to attend the Carlisle Indian School.

DAKOTA TEXTS by Ella Deloria: Ella Deloria, one of the first Native students of linguistics and ethnography in the United States, grew up on the Standing Rock Reservation on the northern Great Plains and was trained by Franz Boas at Columbia University. Dakota Texts presents a rich array of Sioux mythology and folklore in its original language and in translation. Originally published in 1932 by the American Ethnological Society, this work is a landmark contribution to the study of the Sioux tribes.

LAKOTA MYTH by James R. Walker: James R. Walker was a physician to the Pine Ridge Sioux from 1896 to 1914. His accounts of this time, taken from his personal papers, reveal much about Lakota life and culture. This third volume of previously unpublished material from the Walker collection presents his work on Lakota myth and legend. This edition includes classic examples of Lakota oral literature, narratives that were known only to a few Oglala holy men, and Walker's own literary cycle based on all he had learned about Lakota myth. Lakota Myth is an indispensable source for students of comparative literature, religion, and mythology, as well as those interested in Lakota culture.

LAND OF THE SPOTTED EAGLE by Luther Standing Bear: When Standing Bear returned to the Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation after sixteen years' absence, his dismay at the condition of his people may well have served as a catalyst for the writing of this book, first published in 1933. In addition to describing the customs, manners, and traditions of the Teton Sioux, Standing Bear also offered general comments about the importance of Native cultures and values and the status of Indian peoples in American society. With the assistance of Melvin R. Gilmore, curator of ethnology at the University of Michigan, and Warcaziwin, Standing Bear’s niece and secretary, Standing Bear sought to tell the white man “just how” they “lived as Lakotans.”

Land of the Spotted Eagle is generously interspersed with personal reminiscences and anecdotes, including chapters on child rearing, social and political organization, family, religion, and manhood. Standing Bear's views on Indian affairs and his suggestions for the improvement of white-Indian relations are presented in the two closing chapters.

SPEAKING OF INDIANS, by Ella Deloria: Beginning with a general discussion of American Indian origins, language families, and culture areas, Deloria then focuses on her own people, the Dakotas, and the intricate kinship system that governed all aspects of their life. She writes, “Exacting and unrelenting obedience to kinship demands made the Dakotas a most kind, unselfish people, always acutely aware of those about them and innately courteous.”

Deloria goes on to show the painful transition to reservations and how the holdover of the kinship system worked against Indians trying to follow white notions of progress and success. Her ideas about what both races must do to participate fully in American life are as cogent now as when they were first written.

Originally published in 1944, “Speaking of Indians” is an important source of information about Dakota culture and a classic in its elegant clarity of insight.

MY PEOPLE, THE SIOUX by Luther Standing Bear: When it was first published in 1928, Luther Standing Bear's autobiographical account of his tribe and tribesmen was hailed by Van Wyck Brooks as “one of the most engaging and veracious we have ever had.” It remains a landmark in Indian literature, among the first books about Indians written from the Indian point of view by an Indian. Luther Standing Bear (1868 – 1939) was an Oglala Lakota chief notable in American history as a Native American author, educator, philosopher, and actor of the twentieth century. Standing Bear fought to preserve Lakota heritage and sovereignty and was at the forefront of a Progressive movement to change government policy toward Native Americans. Standing Bear was one of a small group of Lakota leaders of his generation, such as Gertrude Bonnin, and Charles Eastman, who were born and raised in the oral traditions of their culture, educated in white culture, and wrote significant historical accounts of their people and history in English. Luther’s experiences in early life, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Wild Westing with Buffalo Bill, and life on government reservations present a unique view of a Native American during the Progressive Era in American history. Standing Bear’s commentaries on Native American culture and wisdom educated the American public, deepened public awareness, and created popular support to change government policies toward Native American peoples. Luther Standing Bear helped create the popular twentieth-century image that Native American culture is holistic and respectful of nature; his classic commentaries appear in college-level reading lists in anthropology, literature, history, and philosophy, and constitute a legacy and treasury of Native American wisdom.

WATERLILY by Ella Cara Deloria: When Blue Bird and her grandmother leave their family’s camp to gather beans for the long, threatening winter, they inadvertently avoid the horrible fate that befalls the rest of the family. Luckily, the two women are adopted by a nearby Dakota community and are eventually integrated into their kinship circles. Ella Cara Deloria’s tale follows Blue Bird and her daughter, Waterlily, through the intricate kinship practices that created unity among her people. Participants will share a potluck meal as part of the event, please bring a dish to share. We look forward to seeing you.

SONS OF THE WIND: SACRED STORIES OF THE LAKOTA by D.M. Dooling: The Sons of the Wind presents the mythology and sacred spirits of the Lakota. Based on information given to Dr. James Walker a century ago by Lakota Holy Men, this compilation includes the cycle of creation, the appearance of spirits and animals, the making of the four directions, and the coming of the Real People.