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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THE WORLD WE USED TO LIVE IN by Vine Deloria Jr.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Indigenous naturopathic doctor Nicole Redvers pairs evidence-based research with traditional healing modalities, addressing modern health problems and medical processes.

Modern medical science has finally caught up to what traditional healing systems have known for centuries. Many traditional healing techniques and medicines are often assumed to be archaic, outdated, or unscientific compared to modern Western medicine. Nicole Redvers, a naturopathic physician and member of the Deninu K'ue First Nation, analyzes modern Western medical practices using evidence-informed Indigenous healing practices and traditions from around the world--from sweat lodges and fermented foods to Ayurvedic doshas and meditation. Organized around various sciences, such as physics, genetics, and microbiology, the book explains the connection between traditional medicine and current research around epigenetics and quantum physics, for example, and includes over 600 citations. Redvers, who has traveled and worked with Indigenous groups around the world, shares the knowledge and teachings of health and wellness that have been passed down through the generations, tying this knowledge with current scientific advances. Knowing that the science backs up the traditional practice allows us to have earlier and more specific interventions that integrate age-old techniques with the advances in modern medicine and technology.

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Nicole Redvers is the first licensed practicing naturopathic doctor in North America who is Dene (a member of the Deninu K’ue First Nation Band). After growing up in Canada’s isolated north, she pursued an advanced Western medical education in the south and has had the privilege of developing relationships with strong elders and medicine people. She has traveled the globe, studying traditional medicine systems in various countries and working with Indigenous patients, helping to bridge the gap between traditional and modern medical systems. In addition, Redvers developed Northern Canada’s only integrative medicine clinic from the ground up. She also co-founded and chairs a non-profit group, the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation (AIWF), whose purpose is to revitalize traditional wellness services in the Canadian north and to focus on the preservation of Traditional Medicines. Her foundation was awarded one million dollars as a Laureate of the 2017 Arctic Inspiration Prize to work with homeless people and those most at risk in the northern part of Canada.

September 23, 2019 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).

THE BOOKS:

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.