Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What I'm Reading Wednesday

So this is one of the changes I was talking about in my last post. I want to do little segments on here that make my blog a bit more interesting, and keep me motivated to update it regularly. This first segment I've come up with is What I'm Reading Wednesday. On Wednesdays, I'll talk about a book that I'm currently reading, or just finished. It'll essentially be a book review, and my opinion on whether or not you should read it. Now, that the boring stuff is out of the way, let's get on with the fun. :)

I'm currently reading The Lakota Way: Stories and Lessons for Living by Joseph M. Marshall III, a Lakota Indian. If you've kept up with this blog at all, then you know that I spent 10 days on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota back in May 2010. Pine Ridge is home to the Oglala Lakota Sioux Indians, and the author of this book is half Oglala (that's from his dad's side; he's also half Sicangu Lakota, most of whom live on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, also in South Dakota). My parents got me this book for Christmas, and I'm so glad they did. I've taken this book everywhere with me, and anytime I've had a spare moment, I've read it. That includes a trip to Walmart when lines at the checkout lanes were ridiculously long.

This book is full of Lakota stories that talk about the twelve virtues that the Lakota, and most other Native American tribes, hold fast to--humility, perseverance, respect, honor, love, sacrifice, truth, compassion, bravery, fortitude, generosity, and wisdom. Marshall also includes personal stories from his life in each chapter, as well as examples from Lakota history. He uses those examples to show how the Lakota have used the virtues to survive everything that the American government threw at them in the 1800s.

Ever since my trip to Pine Ridge, I've grown very fond of Native Americans, and I've wanted to learn more about them and their culture. I've got a special place in my heart for the Oglala Lakota, since that is the tribe I worked with. I am in awe of their quiet strength, and the way they have kept their culture despite the American government's efforts to rid them of it. They are such a strong and proud people, and I feel honored to have had the opportunity to spend time with them. I'm also glad I got this book. It has helped me learn a little more about a culture I love, and it's given me even more respect for the Lakota. I hope that I am able to take the lessons in this book and apply them to my own life now. The trip to the reservation changed my life, and I think this book will too.

In case you didn't get it, I highly recommend this book to everyone. Go read it and learn a little more about a group of people who are so amazing and worth knowing more about.