He Sapa Woihanble

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He Sapa Woihanble

Black Hills Dream

By: Craig Howe, Editor, Lydia Whirlwind Soldier, Editor, Lanniko L. Lee, Editor

Publication date: January 2011
Subject: Native Studies

He Sapa Woihanble: Black Hills Dream presents compelling views of the Black Hills from 23 Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota poets, scholars, and essayists. They speak of the beauty and power of their land, as well as the painful history of its theft and exploitation by the United States. The Oak Lake Writers' Society is one of the few writers' societies of a Native nation. An invaluable addition to many high school and college courses, He Sapa Woihanble presents a range of views on a history that many students are keen to learn.

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Title information

He Sapa Woihanble is a collection of writings by members of the Oak Lake Writers' Society, a state-wide organization of Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota writers. In it, the writers express through eloquent prose, poetry, and personal stories their profound spiritual relationships to He Sapa, the land known to many as the Black Hills of South Dakota. They speak of the beauty and power of that land, as well as the painful history of its appropriation by the United States. The Oak Lake Writer's Society is an outgrowth of the summer retreats for aspiring tribal writers that have taken place at South Dakota State University’s Oak Lake Field Station since 1993. The primary goal of the Society is to contribute to the strengthening and preservation of Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota cultures through the development of culture-based writings. "The vision of this book, its dream, its woihanble, is to present Native perspectives on He Sapa, the spiritual center and homeland of the Oceti Sakowin, the Seven Council Fires people. The Oceti Sakowin people, collectively but incorrectly referred to as “Sioux,” are comprised of three major subdivisions: Lakotas, Nakotas, and Dakotas. He Sapa refers to a breathtakingly beautiful ecosystem of pine-covered hills, steep-walled rock canyons, countless caves, and meandering meadows that rise out of the northern Plains like an ocean island. In the Lakota language, “he” means a ridge of mountains, and “sapa” means black. From a distance, the blue and gray haze and the dark dense green colors of the pines and cedars shift subtly and settle deeply into black, thus the name. Today this area is known in English as the Black Hills of South Dakota. . . . "Our hope now is that this volume will contribute to an increased understanding of the shared histories of all citizens of South Dakota, as well as the shared histories of all the peoples and nations who know and love the Black Hills. This dream is our He Sapa Woihanble." - From the Introduction by Craig Howe and Lydia Whirlwind Soldier

Pages: 222
Language: English
Publisher: Living Justice Press
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Craig Howe, Editor

Dr. Craig Howe is director of the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies, a nonprofit research center committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of American Indian communities and issues important to them. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and is a faculty member in the Graduate Studies Department at Oglala Lakota College. He also served as deputy assistant director for cultural resources at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, and director of the D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian History at the Newberry Library in Chicago. He has developed innovative hypermedia tribal histories projects and creative museum exhibitions, taught Native studies courses in the U.S. and Canada, and authored articles and book chapters on numerous topics, including tribal histories, Native studies, museum exhibitions, and community collaborations. Howe was raised and lives on his family’s cattle ranch on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

Home Town: Oglala Sioux Reservation, Pine Ridge, South Dakota
Education: Ph.D

Lydia Whirlwind Soldier, Editor

Lydia Whirlwind Soldier is a Charter Member of the Oak Lake Writers’ Society. She is a Sicangu Lakota born in Bad Nation on the Rosebud reservation in South Dakota. She is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and has worked in education for thirty years. She has a Master’s in Education Administration from Pennsylvania State University, and is a poet, nonfiction writer, business owner, and recognized craftswoman.

In 1994, she received first place at the Northern Plains Tribal Arts exposition in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for a traditional cradleboard. Her collection of poems, Memory Songs, was published in 1999 by the Center for Western Studies in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Lanniko L. Lee, Editor

Lanniko L. Lee is a Charter Member of the Oak Lake Writers. She was born and raised along the Missouri River in what was formerly Armstrong County in South Dakota. She received her baccalaureate degree from Arcadia University, Glenside, Pennsylvania, and a Masters of Arts degree in English from the Bread Loaf School of English, Middlebury College.

Lanniko’s book reviews, articles, essays, and poetry have appeared in several publications, including The American Indian Culture and Research Journal, Paintbrush, Ikce Wicasta, Shaping Survival, One House, Many Skies, Whole Terrain, Writer’s Forum, and Country Congregations: South Dakota Stories. Lee has taught English and communication skills in South Dakota public schools and state universities. Currently, she is an independent scholar and an education consultant. She also owns and operates the Birdsong Inn and Guest House in Java, South Dakota.

Praise for He Sapa Woihanble

Susan Power
Author of The Grass Dancer and Roofwalker
"The voices of He Sapa Woihanble are a diverse and powerful chorus, offering critical testimony on one of America's most iconic sites. These authors chart an enduring relationship with sacred ground and remind us of our kinship to this exploited territory. Through oral histories, poems, legal documents, and scholarship, these voices swell with urgent grace until I am convinced the Black Hills themselves are singing."