Lakota Texts


Lakota Texts

Narratives of Lakota Life and Culture in the Twentieth Century

Translated and analyzed by Regina Pustet 

Studies in the Anthropology of North American Indians Series

504 pages
2 tables, 1 appendix


April 2021


$85.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

April 2021


$85.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Lakota Texts is a treasure trove of stories told in the original language by modern Lakota women who make their home in Denver, Colorado. Sometimes witty, often moving, and invariably engaging and fascinating, these stories are both autobiographical and cultural. The stories present personal experiences along with lessons the women have learned or were taught about Lakota history, culture, and legends. The women share aspects of their own lives, including such rituals as powwows, the sweatlodge, and rites of puberty. The women also include details of the older Lakota world and its customs, revered myths, more recent stories, and jokes.

In addition to the valuable light Lakota Texts sheds on the lives of modern Lakota women, these stories also represent a significant contribution to American Indian linguistics. Regina Pustet has meticulously transcribed and translated the stories in a detailed, interlinear format that makes the texts a rich source of information about modern Lakota language itself.

Author Bio

Regina Pustet (1963–2013) was a linguist who taught at the University of Munich. She is the author of Copulas: Universals in the Categorization of the Lexicon.


"The narratives add to the greater body of oral history and culture of the Lakota people."—Michael Smith, Nebraska History

"A delightful collection of stories."—Kimberly Field, Denver Posse of Westerners

Table of Contents

List of Tables
1. An Introduction to Lakota Language and Culture
1.1. The Lakotas and the Lakota Language
1.2. Lakota Spelling and Sounds
1.2.1. Transcription and Pronunciation
1.2.2. Phonology and Morphophonemics: Some Important Rules
1.3. Outline of Lakota Grammar
1.3.1. Sentence Structure
1.3.2. Noun Phrases
1.3.3. Postpositions and Postpositional Phrases
1.3.4. Subordinate Clauses
1.3.5. Inflection of Verbs
1.3.6. Inflection of Nouns
1.3.7. Inflection of Postpositions
1.3.8. Independent Pronouns
1.4. Alphabetical List of Grammatical Terms
1.5. Lakota Speakers
1.6. The Presentation of the Lakota Texts
2. Personal Histories
2.1. A Short Autobiography
2.2. My Roots
2.3. Growing Up on the Reservation
2.4. Wounded Knee
2.5. A Miracle
2.6. A Sweatlodge Ceremony
2.7. A Visit to South Dakota
2.8. A Scary Ride
2.9. Going to School on the Reservation
2.10. Crow Fair
2.11. Extrasensory Perception
2.12. The Invisible Passenger
2.13. A Gambling Trip
2.14. The Eagle Spirit
2.15. A Girl Turns into a Werewolf
2.16. Spiritual Healing
2.17. The Hole in the Eardrum
2.18. Denver International Airport
2.19. Scalps
2.20. Old-Time Medicine
2.21. The Flying Saucer
2.22. The Fire Ball
2.23. Spring Men
2.24. Indian Doctoring
3. The Old Ways
3.1. Life in the Old Days
3.2. Jerky
3.3. Corn
3.4. Wild Berries
3.5. Old-Time Food
3.6. Buckskin
3.7. Prairie Turnips
3.8. Puberty Rites
3.9. Tobacco
3.10. Powwows and Rodeos
3.11. Spirituality
3.12. Praying
3.13. Making Fire
3.14. How Wood Was Used
3.15. How to Make Bows and Arrows
3.16. Games
3.17. Marriage
3.18. Cocklebur (Xanthium echinatum)
3.19. Yucca (Yucca glauca)
3.20. Mushrooms
3.21. Chewing Gum
3.22. Cottonwood
3.23. Swelling Weed
3.24. Purple Cone Flower (Brauneria angustifolia)
3.25. Courtesy
4. Mythology
4.1. Iktomi Meets the Prairie Chicken and Blood Clot Boy
4.2. Iktomi Meets Two Women and Iya
4.3. The Giant Snake
4.4. Star Boy
4.5. Iktomi
4.6. The End of the World
4.7. Iktomi and the Ducks
4.8. Bean, Grass, and Fire
5. True Stories
5.1. The Deer Spirits
5.2. The Fly on the Window
5.3. How to Become a Father
5.4. The Rescued Prisoner
5.5. Coyote Woman
5.6. The Horse Thief
5.7. Adultery
6. Jokes
6.1. The Holy Man
6.2. The Turtle in the Microwave
6.3. The Wrong Answer
6.4. Red Holy Dog
7. Miscellaneous
7.1. Tanning Hides (Modern Version)
7.2. Fry Bread
7.3. Indian Christmas Tree
7.4. Twins
7.5. Three Tongue Twisters
7.6. A Love Song or Lullaby
Appendix: Analysis of Neologisms and Idioms

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