Early in the twentieth century, a Sioux woman named Zitkala-Ša published these fourteen Native legends that she had learned during her own childhood on the Yankton Reservation. Her writing talent, developed during her education back east, was put to good use in recording from oral tradition the exploits of Iktomi the trickster, Eya the glutton, the Dragon Fly, and other magical and mysterious figures, human and animal, known to the Sioux. Until her death in 1938, Zitkala-Ša stood between two cultures as preserver and translator.
Zitkala-Ša (1876–1938), also known as Gertrude Bonnin, was a Sioux writer, teacher, musician, and activist who founded the National Council of American Indians in 1926. She is the author of American Indian Stories and Dreams and Thunder: Stories, Poems, and “The Sun Dance Opera,” both available in Bison Books editions. Agnes M. Picotte is a teacher at the Red Cloud Indian School and has contributed to many volumes, including Ella Deloria’s Waterlily, available in a Bison Books edition. Angel De Cora (1871–1919) was a Winnebago painter and illustrator. An activist for Native American rights, she also established and taught in the first “Native Indian” art department at Carlisle Indian School.