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Sacred Language

The Nature of Supernatural Discourse in Lakota
by William K. Powers
Published by LAKOTA BOOKS © 2013

New Arrival

1 Incomprehensible Terms
2 Oglala Song Terminology
3 Song Texts
4 Containing the Sacred
5 Sacred Numbers
6 Naming the Sacred
7 Shamans and Priests
Appendix A Phonological Key
Appendix B Glossary
Notes, Bibliography, Index

23 illustrations, four tables, 247 pp. $34.95
Order from directly from LAKOTA BOOKS,
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Grass Dance of the Spirit Lake Dakota by Louis Garcia (with Mark Diedrich). Forward by Raymond J. DeMallie. Fort Totten, ND : Cankdeska Cikana Community College Publishing. 189 pp. Handsomely illustrated with historic photos, maps, diagrams; endnotes, bibliography, and index.
$ 24.95

Forty years of research has resulted in Louis Garcia’s Grass Dance of the Spirit Lake Dakota, truly an ambitious study that will affect not only the history of the dance and its attendant cultural significance, but will allow contemporary followers of the powwow to view modern adaptations of the Grass Dance with a different sense of understanding and pride.

Grass Dance may very well be the best historic work ever done on the Dakota form of the dance, and is particularly useful in also understanding Lakota and other tribal variations. It puts various, well-known ceremonies among Plains tribes into a cohesive cultural framework that explains the interrelationships between the Grass Dance Society, Whip Owners, Pipe Owners, Announcers, Singers, Women Singers, Dog Feast, Wounded Warrior, and Dropped Article, among others, all events that have heretofore been studied as are usually discussed as independent ceremonies. To date many of the aspects of the Grass Dance still appear in modern powwows. Garcia gives the powwow new meaning.

Garcia states in Chapter One “The Grass dance was a sacred ritual that was part of a long and complex ceremony performed by warrior societies among various tribes of the plains.” (13) Twenty chapters are discussed by living Dakotas as well as historic references. Each chapter is highlighted by translations of Dakota songs and related ceremonial objects. Appendices cover the Kahomni Dance, The Lone Buffalo Club, Spirit Lake Warrior Societies, the Sun Dance and Sham Battle, Raven-skin Bustle (Crow Belts). The work is ethnography at its best.

All chapters call for an intimate examination of the sacred nature of Dakota ritual: song, the drum, ceremonial objects, prayers, regalia, and sacred knowledge. It is through Garcia’s long-time involvement with the Dakota that their culture comes alive in a cohesive and meaningful way. I was particularly impressed with his chapter on Spirit Lake dance halls complete with architectural description, duties of the owners, locations of old “round houses,” and types of songs sung at special events such as Club songs, Donation songs, New Year’s songs and others. All songs are translated and many chapters include glossaries of pertinent words and phrases (many with etymologies)...a real gift for Dakota and Lakota language scholars and students.

In sum, Grass Dance will appeal to anthropologists, historians, musicologists, and linguists interest in the Dakota and Lakota language and culture. Louis Garcia is to be congratulated for this significant contribution.

Wopida tanka, Louie!
William K. Powers

December 25, 2014



The Siouan Languages by Thaddeus C. Grimm. Newton, KS: Mennonite Press. 2012. 85pp. Bibliography, linguistic map, tables.
$ 24.95

This book summarizes the current status of all known Siouan Languages and their dialects. Catawban is included as it is the closest distant relative to Siouan. The book concentrates on phonology and lexicology rather than grammar. Glottochronology, also called lexico-statistic dating, was used to determine the time depths between languages. These time references are correlated with archeological evidence.

The author hold a doctorate in Chemical Engineering. He became interested in Siouan Languages as a teenager in St. Louis, Missouri in the mid-1950s. He has presented academic papers before the Annual Siouan Caddoan Language Conference between 1997 and 2006

This is a remarkable book for advanced scholars in linguistics and lexico-statistical methodology.






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