Standing on the Middle Ground
Ella Deloria’s Decolonizing Methodology
The modern questor now takes up the search,His quest the same; his methods onlychanged.
He studies records; carefully he weighs
Each point, for light upon his inquiry:
Whence came his people? Whither are they going?
What struggle have they known? What victories?
Out of his notes, he weaves an epic story.
“THE MODERN QUESTOR,” ELLA CARA DELORIA
To me it seems like a religious duty to get everything as right as I possibly
can, for future scholars. Perhaps this sounds silly; but I have an idea that
this is my work, which none other can do. You see, I represent a middle
era, in the development of my tribe. I lived the early years of my life in
the heart of the Sitting Bull country, spoke the language and heard many
myths as a child. I am related, according to the social kinship system of
my tribe, with everyone in it. Then I was sent to school. I went on and on,
and by one lucky break after another, I was a college graduate, in due time.
With my college training, coupled with my Indian background lived in the
days when it was a really Indian background, I stand on middle ground,
and know both sides. I do not say I am the best educated Indian that ever
will be; that is not so; but no matter how far a younger student should go, he could not know both sides, because that other, the Indian side, is gone.
That is why I feel as though I have a mission.
ELLA CARA DELORIA TO JOHN D. ROCKE FELLER JR. (1934)