This novel of the Dakota Sioux written by Sioux ethnologist Deloria takes protagonist Waterlily through the everyday and the extraordinary events of a Sioux woman's life.
"Exquisite evocation, in novelistic form, of the life of a female Dakota (Sioux) in the mid-nineteenth century, before whites settled the plains . . . An unself-conscious and never precious or quaint pairing of scholarship and fiction."—Kirkus Reviews. "[Deloria’s] novel is a distinguished work of literature at the same time that it is an important exercise in historical reconstruction, based on her wide and deep study of Dakota texts."—World Literature Today. "Waterlily is by one who knows the culture from within, and in its instruction about Dakota ethnography the book strikes me. . . as wonderfully fine. Day to day life of the traditional Dakota is rendered in sympathetic detail."-Arnold Krupat, Nation. "Deloria tells universal truths cast in an authentic framework of early nineteenth-century Plains Indian society. . . . the feminine point of view is genius."—Journal of the West.
A member of a prominent Yankton Sioux family, Ella Cara Deloria was born in 1889 on the Yankton Reservation and lived as a child on the Standing Rock Reservation. Her studies at Columbia University with Franz Boas resulted in three books, Dakota Texts, Dakota Grammar (a collaboration with Boas), and Speaking of Indians, as well as many other writings.