Lakota Culture, World Economy

By Kathleen Ann Pickering | Go to book overview

2
Culture in Market Production

Because of the peripheral position of the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations within the U.S. economy, Lakotas have difficulty finding access to market-based forms of production. Wage work positions, small business ownership, and commodity agricultural enterprises are at a premium, and unemployment and underemployment rates are high.

The demands of the world economy are readily felt in the wage labor jobs that are available. With virtually no bargaining power, Lakota wage workers face difficult working conditions with limited opportunities for advancement and constant pressures to leave their reservation communities to find better economic options. Lakota culture plays a crucial role in the way the workplace is experienced and tolerated. The ability to leave negative wage work conditions or survive unpredictable layoffs or termination turns in large part on the cultural values and local social networks that forma safety net for Lakota communities.

The tensions felt between local Lakota concerns and the demands of the world economy are most evident for those working in Lakota nonprofit organizations. Communities expect nonprofit organizations to provide services that reflect Lakota cultural values. Requirements imposed by the federal government on entities seeking charitable contributions, however, often interfere with the ability of nonprofit organizations to employ Lakota approaches for the good of Lakota people.

Lakota small businesses are few and far between. The world economy encourages Lakota enterprises to mirror the characteristics of other businesses in mainstream society to be competitive. At the same time, the local community expects Lakota businesses to behave in a manner that distinguishes them from the mainstream businesses well known for mistreating and exploiting Lakota customers. Integrating Lakota values into business operations has created special pressures as well as unique responses from Lakota entrepreneurs who have undertaken the challenge.

-14-

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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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