The little snakes
On my way to the Lakota reservation, I was thinking at some questions for the wise man I was going to meet with.
I was nervous. I made sure that I have everything for the interview. The cassette recorder was not that important as the tobacco for the old man. The cigarettes were a must.
Finally I arrived there. There was a rocking chair on the porch and a sort of circle with feathers was hung near the door. No, it was not a dream catcher although it looked like it. I was to find out that it was put there to send away the bad spirits. We entered in the house and I gave him the tobacco. When I asked him if we would smoke from the Ceremonial Pipe he laughed. He said I had heard and seen to many stories, the pipe is now used only at powwows (I figured he would tell me later what a powwow is ).
Suddenly he started telling me things.
“Yes, this is television, it deforms everything. The world only sees movies with us living in a nomadic style and wearing the famous feathers. Figure this: a white boy told me that I am not an Indian because I am not like what movie land created: the “real” Indian.. It is so much stereotyping involved. I admire that in this way they keep the traditional spirit alive, that everybody knows our past and our traditions but we have evolved.”
“Well, I am interested too in your past and culture, but, this time, I came here to hear it from you. So, let’s start with the beginning, shall we? Who are you, the people of this reservation, exactly?
“First of all we are Plain Indians along with Arapacho, Crow, Cheyenne and Santee tribes. We are Sioux Indians. The name Sioux is an abbreviation of the French spelling of the name Nadouessioux by which we were anciently known to our eastern Algonquian enemies. It means . Under the name “Naduesiu “, we are first mentioned by Father Paul le Jeune in the Jesuit Relation of 1640 on the...