"Our people are very lucky to be here," says Albert White Hat Sr. He has lived through a time when Indians were under government control, were sent to boarding schools, and were not permitted to practice their own rituals. Now, although the Lakota people can practice their beliefs openly once again, things have changed, old ways have been forgotten. As a teacher at Sinte Gleska Tribal College in South Dakota, White Hat seeks to preserve the link the Lakota people have with their past. In Life's Journey-Zuya, White Hat has collected and translated the stories of medicine men, retaining the simplicity of their language so as not to interpret their words through a Western lens. This is Zuya, oral history that is lived and handed down over the generations. In addition to the stories from the medicine men, White Hat shares stories from his own experience. Through anecdotes he shows not only how the Lakota lifestyle has been altered but also how Lakota words have begun to take on new meanings-meanings that lack their original connotations and generate a different picture of Lakota philosophy. White Hat notes that the language, interwoven with history, tells the people where they came from and who they are. By setting the traditions and ceremonies down on paper, with the history of how they evolved, he has secured the meaning of these practices for current and future generations. Written with warmth and humor, Life's Journey-Zuya will be an enjoyable and enlightening read for the Lakota, the scholar, and the general public alike.
Born and raised on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, Albert White Hat Sr. has lived there his entire life, teaching in the Lakota Studies Department at Sinte Gleska University for more than 25 years. As the grandson of Chief Hollow Horn Bear and member of the Aske Glu wipi i tiospaye, he continues to promote education and awareness for his people in the 21st century while maintaining a traditional way of life. Life's Journey--Zuya is his second book, following Reading and Writing the Lakota Language (The University of Utah Press, 1999). John Cunningham lives in Boulder, Colorado, with his wife, Cindy, and his daughter, Catherine. He is an avid hiker and is happiest outdoors.