Turbulent Past

A true appreciation of Native American culture can most effectively take place through face to face interaction. Popular media have often incorrectly depicted the American Indian. Through our interactions with the Lakota Sioux people, we were able to more fully appreciate their past as well as their present. The "development" of the American Western Frontier robbed the Lakotas of their homes, their culture, and their former way of life. Only now are the Lakotas in the process of rebuilding their communities and adapting their traditional way of living to the modern scene.

The American west has a rich heritage that goes back thousands of years. We have learned that the original Native Americans deeply respected the natural world and incorporated it into nearly every aspect of their lives. European settlers considered the land "undeveloped" and rich in opportunity. The two cultures clashed. As the Europeans settled the West, the Native Americans were forced off their land into reservations. The Europeans also had a huge impact on the environment. As time went on, railroads, roadways and towns came to occupy areas that once were inhabited only by wildlife.

photo M. Noonan

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