Bead on an Anthill


Bead on an Anthill

A Lakota Childhood

Delphine Red Shirt

146 pages


February 1999


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March 2016


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About the Book

Bead on an Anthill is the story of a Lakota girl’s experiences growing up in Nebraska and on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the 1960s and 1970s. Raised in a home without books, Delphine Red Shirt relied on family and friends as her "books" and wove their stories into her own. Like her ancestors, she felt a powerful connection to the openness of the Plains. She participated in coming-of-age ceremonies and learned the special rules for stringing beads together and the messages conveyed by hairstyles. At the same time, Red Shirt became increasingly aware of the distance between her world and that of her ancestors.
Ringing with insight and honesty, this memoir gives voice to an emerging generation of Lakota women who attempt to navigate the difficult paths of a bicultural world.

Author Bio

Delphine Red Shirt is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and represents her tribe as a nongovernmental representative at the United Nations.


"Delphine Red Shirt has done a very admirable job of interweaving the past and present, the old ways and new ways, and has captured the often poignant struggle to strike a middle ground between these two often conflicting worlds. This story derives a great deal of strength from its detail and honesty."—Joseph Starita, author of The Dull Knifes of Pine Ridge

"Delphine Red Shirt gently explores her childhood caught between traditional and evolving Lakota ways. She movingly recalls how her family’s support enabled her to thrive despite the tragedy and poverty of reservation life."—Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, author of Completing the Circle