Filled with true stories, legends, and descriptions of traditional Dakota Sioux life, this book is a unique record of a people whose existence was engulfed and forever changed by the westward expansion of the United States.
It is also the story of the Deloria family. Vine Deloria, Jr.’s grandfather, Chief Tipi Sapa (Philip Joseph Deloria) provided the detailed portrait on the Yankton band of the Dakota Nation that is the centerpiece of this book.
Drawing both on his own experiences and on memories passed down by other elders of the Yankton band, Tipi Sapa describes Yankton Dakota spiritual beliefs, rituals and traditions, and recounts the stories and songs that bound the community together.
Deloria has expanded Tipi Sapa’s stories and descriptions with other material handed down in his family. The Deloria family stories help us understand the revolutionary changes the Sioux were experiencing during this period, and they offer a sometimes wrenching contrast to Tipi Sapa’s descriptions of a distinctive way of life that was already lost to the onrush of history.