Lakota Culture, World Economy

By Kathleen Ann Pickering | Go to book overview

1
A History and Overview
of the Lakota Economy

Looking at both the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations is like getting to know two sisters. To outsiders, the similarities between the reservations are remarkable. To those living on the reservations, however, it is the differences between Pine Ridge and Rosebud that tend to dominate conversation. When Lakotas are asked about their economic attitudes and experiences in general, the responses of men and women from the Pine Ridge and the Rosebud Reservations highly correspond. When asked to compare their experiences and attitudes with those of their sister reservation, however, Lakotas frequently emphasize differences, as if the two reservations were worlds apart. A similar relationship exists among Lakotas from different villages within the same reservation. For example, when asked about the economic conditions on the reservation as a whole, people from Pine Ridge Village and from Wanbli have similar concerns and observations. But these same men and women highlight distinctive characteristics when asked to compare the two communities specifically.

The social and economic connections between the two reservations are strong. Many Lakotas have land, relatives, and personal histories that span both, and marriage between enrolled members of Pine Ridge and Rosebud is extremely common. Job opportunities often determine which reservation a family ultimately chooses to live on.

Each reservation harbors special perceptions of the other that are shared in jokes and stories. People in Rosebud often mention being afraid of Pine Ridgers, finding them more violent, radical, and aggressive. The perception in Rosebud is that Rosebud’s men are more “gainfully employed” than those in Pine Ridge and that Pine Ridge’s women are more “gainfully employed” than Pine Ridge’s men. Pine Ridge residents often note that Lakotas in Rosebud have given up more of their traditional practices to accommodate non-Indians and their economic interests. People in Rosebud feel that Pine Ridge is more culturally intact, with more native-language speakers and more households adhering to Lakota traditions in their daily lives. At the same time, people in Pine Ridge think

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Lakota Culture, World Economy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - A History and Overview of the Lakota Economy 1
  • 2 - Culture in Market Production 14
  • 3 - Alternative Economic Activities 44
  • 4 - The Household and Consumption 62
  • 5 - Economic Aspects of Lakota Social Identity 83
  • 6 - The Political Economy of Need 119
  • Conclusion 142
  • Appendix 1 - Summary of Formal Interview Participants 147
  • Appendix 2 - Number of People Interviewed, by Community 149
  • Bibliography 151
  • Index 163
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