Lakota Culture, World Economy

By Kathleen Ann Pickering | Go to book overview

5
Economic Aspects of
Lakota Social Identity

The continual creation of the modern Lakota economy is inextricably bound up with the formation of Lakota social identities. Social identities draw on forms of difference, such as gender, race, and class, which are crucial to understanding who has access to economic resources and opportunities and how economic returns are redistributed within and among households and communities (H. Moore 1992:135). Social identities based on ascriptive characteristics or “naturalized” cultural conventions form the basis of power relations and institutionalized inequalities locally, regionally, and nationally.

Within Lakota households, gender identities have economic implications in terms of negotiating strengths, expectations, and access to resources. Among households, the pseudobiological, pseudoethnic identities of full-bloods and mixed-bloods are connected to sometimes serious conflicts over the political and economic future of the Lakotas. “Official” markers of identity, such as tribal membership, also have an impact on economic access and opportunity. Racial identities, used by many in South Dakota to define the relations between Indians and non-Indians, have far-reaching economic consequences for the Lakotas. Finally, the problem of alcoholism provides one example of how negative social identity and frustrated economic potential are intertwined within the reservation periphery of the world economy.


Gender

Viewed from the perspective of the household, women might appear to be more prominent in Lakota society. Many Lakota households consist only of women with children. According to the 1990 U.S. census, 33 percent of households in Pine Ridge and 35 percent in Rosebud had female household heads with no husband. Teenage mothers, mature unmarried mothers, divorced women, and grandmothers are all involved in the care of young children. Because women are frequently solely responsible for

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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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