Standing in the Light
A Lakota Way of Seeing
“An inside view of the Lakota world—of the meaning of Lakota song and dance, of their history, of what it is to be Lakota in America today. . . . A lasting personal tribute to the Lakota way of living.”—Whole Earth Review.
“A unique, in-depth presentation on Lakota music and the profession of singer, a useful contemporary Oglala representation of the core of their culture, and a version of the involvement of the American Indian Movement on Pine Ridge Reservation, told by a man who was affiliated but not a principal leader. . . . This is a subjective statement, well and persuasively written.”—Choice.
Severt Young Bear stood in the light—in the center ring at powwows and other gatherings of Lakota people. As founder and, for many years, lead singer of the Porcupine Singers, a traditional singing and drumming group, he also stood, figuratively, in the light of understanding the cherished Lakota heritage.
Young Bear’s own life in Brotherhood Community, Porcupine District of the Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation, is the linchpin of this narrative, which ranges across the landscape of Dakota culture, from the significance of names to the search for modern Lakota identity, from Lakota oral traditions to powwows and giveaways, from child-rearing practices to humor and leadership. “Music is at the center of Lakota life,” says Young Bear; he describes in rich detail the origins and varieties of Lakota song and dance.
Severt Young Bear performed with the Porcupine Singers throughout North America, taught at Oglala Lakota College, and served on the Oglala Sioux tribal council. He was music and dance consultant for the films Dances with Wolves and Thunder Heart. This book is the fruit of his long friendship and collaboration with R. D. Theisz, a fellow Porcupine Singer and professor of communications and education at Black Hills State University.
209 pp ~ illustrated — ©1994