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Ruling Pine Ridge: Oglala Lakota Politics from the IRA to Wounded Knee (Plains Histories) Hardcover – March 15, 2007
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"Reinhardt furnishes revealing portraits of Gerald One Feather, Dick Wilson, Russell Means; he offers a telling indictment of Pine Ridge's economy. He is one of the few historians who understand the distinction D'Arcy McNickle made decades ago between loss and defeat. He and the late Vine Deloria, Jr., would have welcomed this volume because of its thorough research and, above all, its unflinching honesty. Writing in 1970 Deloria called for historians to 'bring historical consciousness to the whole Indian story.' Ruling Pine Ridge achieves that goal. It will be required reading for all who care about not only the indigenous past but as well its connection to the problems of the present and the challenges of the twenty-first century."
"Akim D. Reinhardt taps the currents of Native American life....[his] work is essential for anyone seeking insight and understanding of the subterranean currents in Lakota societies from the IRA to AIM." -- William L. Hewitt "Nebraska History"
From the Inside Flap
Incorporating previously overlooked materials including tribal council records, oral histories, and reservation newspapers, Ruling Pine Ridge explores the political history of South Dakota's Oglala Lakota reservation during the mid-twentieth century. Akim D. Reinhardt examines the reservation's transition from the direct colonialism of the pre1934 era to the indirect colonial policies of the controversial Indian Reorganization Act (IRA). The new federal approach to Indian politics was evident in the advent of the tribal council governing system, which is still in place today on Pine Ridge and on many other reservations. While the structure of the reservation's governing body changed dramatically to reflect mainstream American cultural values, certain political equations on the reservation changed very little. In particular, despite promises to the contrary, the new reservation government's authority was still severely constrained by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In addition, the new governing format led to an aggravation of social divisions on the reservation.
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After the Wounded Knee Tragedy of 1890, scholars and popular historians seem to lose interest in the Lakota.
They're still here, and the Pine Ridge Reservation, where the Oglala reside, has become infamous as one of the poorest places in the world's wealthiest nation.
Akim Reinhardt has written an in-depth look at the political history of the Oglala in the 20th Century.
As an outsidider looking in, one hates to judge the Oglala or dictate solutions to internal problems, but even the most casual observer can see that the current tribal government is dysfunctional and clearly in need of a new constitution.
Reinhardt provides valuable insight into how the reservation became what it is today. It's a valuable resource for anyone interested in reforming the current government.
There was only one area where Ruling Pine Ridge left a little doubt; by describing the "reign of terror" period between WK II, the murder of two FBI agents in 1975, and the subsequent conviction of Leonard Peltier where Professor Reinhardt sourced Ward Churchill and Peter Matthiessen. Although arguably inaccurate to use these two sources alone, in deference to Professor Reinhardt it was used only as an anecdotal reference to demonstrate there was ongoing tension after WK II.
Ruling Pine Ridge is a must-read and an important resource for anyone seeking an in-depth and intellectual understanding of the dynamics between federal authority and Indian affairs on the Reservations.