Edited by Akim D. Reinhardt
University of Nebraska Press (2015)
Review by Patrick Lee
Welcome to the Oglala Nation is a comprehensive and accurate account of the Oglala people—our history, traditions, culture, and struggles to survive politically in a system that was designed to colonize the Oglala into an assimilated American community. Despite the volumes of historical primary and secondary source documents, the editor, Akim D. Reinhardt, manages to include virtually every aspect of Lakota history and culture that describes the plight of the Oglala as they existed and continue to exist in the 21st century.
Federal Indian policy has left lasting impacts on the political structure of the Oglala, and those polices are examined in a historical fashion which exposes the reader to the past and present exploits of the United States government. The author also illuminates the internal conflicts of tribal government, which are demonstrated with accurate accounts of tribal council sessions and through personal interviews of key players at the tribal government level.
The huge land losses suffered by the Oglala are described in detail and are supported with primary sources such as Congressional acts. The documents are printed verbatim with a summary and explanation. The consequences of these acts include the confiscation of the Black Hills in 1877, the 1910 removal of Bennett County from the diminished Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, which is the genesis of the present-day constitution and by-laws of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Intertribal disputes, rivalries, and conflicts are also examined and analyzed.
Reinhardt covers more Lakota history and culture in one book than any other collective publication I have seen or read. It is a very thorough, accurate, and powerful collection of primary source documents. Most importantly, his sources of historical information are supported with documents, thereby making it relevant to the subject of Oglala history and culture. The publication is a very useful teaching tool and a valuable source of information for interested readers.
Patrick Lee, J.D. (Oglala Lakota), is a faculty member at Oglala Lakota College and author of Tribal Laws, Treaties and Government: A Lakota Perspective.