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Witness: A Hunkpapha Historian's Strong-Heart Song of the Lakotas Hardcover – Illustrated, November 1, 2013
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During the 1920s and 1930s, Josephine Waggoner (1871–1943), a Lakota woman who had been educated at Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Virginia, grew increasingly concerned that the history and culture of her people were being lost as elders died without passing along their knowledge. A skilled writer, Waggoner set out to record the lifeways of her people and correct much of the misinformation about them spread by white writers, journalists, and scholars of the day. To accomplish this task, she traveled to several Lakota and Dakota reservations to interview chiefs, elders, traditional tribal historians, and other tribal members, including women.
Published for the first time and augmented by extensive annotations, Witness offers a rare participant’s perspective on nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Lakota and Dakota life. The first of Waggoner’s two manuscripts presented here includes extraordinary firsthand and as-told-to historical stories by tribal members, such as accounts of life in the Powder River camps and at the agencies in the 1870s, the experiences of a mixed-blood Húŋkpapȟa girl at the first off-reservation boarding school, and descriptions of traditional beliefs. The second manuscript consists of Waggoner’s sixty biographies of Lakota and Dakota chiefs and headmen based on eyewitness accounts and interviews with the men themselves. Together these singular manuscripts provide new and extensive information on the history, culture, and experiences of the Lakota and Dakota peoples.
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"This is an unprecedented addition to the field of Dakota/Lakota scholarship."—Shannon D. Smith, Nebraska History
"Emily Levine has amassed an essential text for all students, professors, scholars, and general readers interested in the history, culture, and traditions of the Oceti Sakowin Oyate, the Seven Council Fires of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nations."—Brian J. Twenter, SAIL
"This book is a pleasure to open and explore."—Bill Markley, Roundup Magazine
"In this sensitively edited and translated volume, Emily Levine performs a work of recovery mirroring that of Lakota amateur historian Josephine Waggoner (d. 1943) herself: distilling for scholars a disciplined but wide-ranging gathering of historical materials that might otherwise have been forever lost. The list of archives consulted is impressive, and the attention to Lakota expression and Waggoner's intention extremely conscientious. Well illustrated and annotated, it is a major editorial achievement."—American Historical Association
“Josephine Waggoner’s writings offer a unique perspective on the Lakota. Witness will become a widely referenced primary source. Emily Levine has meticulously examined all known collections of Waggoner’s manuscripts, sometimes comparing handwritten drafts with multiple typed copies to preserve information in full. Levine’s extensive notes are well chosen and informative. Witness will interest both specialist and popular audiences.”—Raymond J. DeMallie, Chancellors’ Professor of Anthropology and American Indian Studies at Indiana University
Published On: 2013-03-07
About the Author
- Publisher : University of Nebraska Press; Illustrated edition (November 1, 2013)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 824 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0803245645
- ISBN-13 : 978-0803245648
- Item Weight : 4.71 pounds
- Dimensions : 7.72 x 2.48 x 11.19 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,877,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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But note, this is not dry information. The text takes you into the world of the Hunkpapa Lakotas and their allies, foes and friends. It gives a beautiful insight into the lives of a proud and strong people. In addition to the historical narration, there are sixty fascinating biographies of Lakota and Dakota leaders, and a very nice selection of Lakota Winter Counts. Emily Levine did a tremendous job of editing and annotating the manuscript, taking care to keep the original text intact while ensuring readability and providing insights where the original text may have been lacking in detail. Her well-researched notes and the photos are reason enough to buy this book.
The book is huge, more than 800 pages thick, and could probably have been sold in two volumes. Yet any discomfort you may have from its weight is offset entirely when you start reading it. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Plains Indians and the western frontier, you won't regret it.
Emily Levine did an incredible job over the past decades researching and editing Josephine McCarthy Waggoner's manuscripts and other historical resources to ensure that this book and With My Own Eyes: A Lakota Woman Tells Her People's History became published.
Emily achieved her mission, "...seventy years after her death, we can belatedly give Josephine McCarthy Waggoner the respect that she is due and honor her with this edition of her life's work." Our family is eternally grateful for Emily's endeavors!