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American Indian Studies

This page is a starting point for all students researching American Indian issues. This guide is created by the Labriola National American Indian Data Center.

The American Indian Oral History Collection

Thirty half-hour interviews on audiocassettes.  The tapes offer a broad account of the experience of being an Indian, from recollections of 19th century Indian-white relations and indigenous Indian Culture to the experience of today's young Indians struggling to survive in White America without sacrificing their ethnic identity.

E77.A45x 1977 Labriola


Tape 1:  The Sundance  Origin and history; the modern Sundance: ceremonial objects; religious and social significance; goals. Crow Tribe


Tape 2:  Medicine Men and Women - I  Curing practices; source of powers; an elderly man describes how his father and sister were treated; woman tells of her own experience. Cheyenne River Sioux


Tape 3:  Medicine Men and Women - II  Recollections of Big Ox, the medicine man, his band, his powers; a medicine man discusses his career. Crow Tribe; Rosebud Sioux


Tape 4:  The Buffalo Hunt - I  Techniques and procedures; jumps, herding into box canyons, use of horses, as described by informant's grandfather. Crow Tribe


Tape 5:  The Buffalo Hunt - II  Second informant also discusses hunting techniques and methods of catching meat. Crow Tribe


Tape 6:  Kinship - Crow Clan System - I  The clan system, past and present, and its functions; explanation of recent adoption ceremony; general significance. Crow Tribe


Tape 7:  Kinship - II  Discussion of clan system, clan relationships and the naming of children. Crow Tribe


Tape 8:  Kinship - III  Marriage and divorce; relationships between parent and child, husband and wife, etc.; ideal wife and husband; a happy marriage. Crow Tribe


Tape 9:  Legends  Red-eyed ducks, moles, turtles' markings; Spirit Island; Winnebushu and the beaver; the north woods giant. Chippewa Tribe


Tape 10:  The Drum Society  Jerry Martin describes the vision which led his brother to create the Drum Society, and the building of the drum and its use. Mille Lacs Chippewa


Tape 11:  Little Bighorn  Robert Yellowtail gives a fascinating account of the Battle as an actual participant described it to him.


Tape 12:  The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) - I  Congressman Reifel, an Oglala Sioux, discusses the Indian Reorganization Act from a Conservative viewpoint.


Tape 13:  The BIA - II  In contrast to #12, above, an attorney is critical of the IRA and BIA. Rosebud Sioux


Tape 14:  Indian Students  A college senior discusses her own future plans, white students' attitudes towards Indian students and the problems of Indians. Oglala Sioux


Tape 15:  Life in 1900  Eighty-four year old woman discusses her childhood, including daily activities, education and memories of growing up; Indian-white relations. Cheyenne River Sioux


Tape 16:  Religion - I  Discussion of traditional Indian religions; similarities among religions of various tribes.  The Native American Church combines the basic teachings of Christianity with ceremonies and music reflecting Indian origins.  Description of the Church and its sacramental use of peyote. Winnebago and Rosebud Sioux


Tape 17:  Religion - II  The Yuwipi Ceremony and the Ghost Dance.  They Yuwipi Ceremony is an attempt to communicate with The Great Spirit, while the Ghost Dance tries to reach the spirits of departed relatives and loved ones.  For the Sioux the Ghost Dance is intimately connected with Wounded Knee. Sioux


Tape 18:  Religion - III  The Sweat Lodge.  A  Medicine Man, Charles Kills Enemy, describes the materials used to build a sweat lodge and the similarities between a sweat lodge and a Christian church. Rosebud Sioux


Tape 19:  Religion - IV  The legend of Sweet Medicine.  John Stands-in-Timber relates the tale of the prophet who appeared before the Cheyenne in pre-European times. Northern Cheyenne


Tape 20:  Religion - V  The Sundance. History and description of the Sundance, including a discussion of the music, the reasons for fasting and the ceremonial poles and colors. Rosebud Sioux


Tape 21:  Traditional Foods  Historically, the Indian diet consisted mainly of game and fathered fruits and grains.  The informants discuss the variety of meats that were eaten and methods of preparation and preservation. Cheyenne River Sioux


Tape 22:  Traditional Social Customs  A discussion of the general tenor of the life of the ancestors of today's.  Topics include styles of dress, child-raising and catching eagles. Sisseton Sioux, Yankton Sioux


Tape 23:  Legends  An elderly woman tells three stories.


Tape 24:  Crazy Horse and Struck-by-the-Ree  The lives and deeds of two great leaders are contrasted.


Tape 25:  The Minnesota Uprising of 1862 - I  Discussion of the events leading up to the uprising, the uprising itself and its aftermath, including the trials, imprisonment and executions and the scattering of the Sioux which followed. Santee and Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux


Tape 26:  The Minnesota Uprising of 1982 - II  Descriptions of the treatment of the prisoners and their families after the uprising.  An account of the role of Chief Little Crow in the uprising and of his subsequent death and beheading. Sisseton-Wahpeton, Santee, Shakopee and Mdewakanton Sioux


Tape 27:  The City vs. The Reservation  Why people leave the reservation, why they stay and why those who leave often return; economics force the Indian off the reservation; culture and concern drive him back. Spokane, Oglala Sioux, Winnebago, Sioux


Tape 28:  Problems of the Reservation  Paul Harrison, Jr., a member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribal Council, discusses problems faced by modern Indians; welfare programs make the Indian dependent, but poor educational facilities and limited employment opportunities force the Indians onto welfare.  Inadequacies of BIA programs are discussed.


Tape 29:  Problems of the Urban Indian  George Sun, who works for a television station in Sioux City, Iowa, discusses the problems faced by Indians living in Sioux City, the attitudes of whites and the need for more communication between the races.  As one who has risen above much of what he describes, his attitudes are also self-revealing.  (Winnebago) Oscar Howe, the Indian artist, describes his experiences as a child at a federal boarding school.  Yankton Sioux


Tape 30:  Indian Schools  A woman born in 1892 and her daughter, 55 years old at the time of the interview, related their experiences at Indian boarding schools and discover that though they were 25 years apart, they shared many similar memories. Oglala Sioux

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