Life’s Journey – Zuya: Oral Teaching from RosebudFeb 25th, 2013 | By jantoine | Category: 24-3: The Science of Place, Media Reviews
By Albert White Hat, Sr.
The University of Utah Press (2012)
Review by Dr. Jurgita Antoine
This ethnographic autobiography focuses on Lakota culture as lived and experienced by the author. Albert White Hat tells about his childhood and family, his education, and Lakota language and music. He also explains the divisions of Lakota tribes, as well as their social rules and laws, and speaks about Lakota spirituality and ceremonies. White Hat’s stories illustrate the relationships that exist in the Lakota world.
Life’s Journey – Zuya: Oral Teachings from Rosebud is an informative text, rich in ethnographic detail. It is also notable for its style and form. White Hat’s narrative maintains his voice and style of speaking throughout the book as well as the structural patterns of Lakota oral tradition—such as repetition of stories or sayings with added details, avoidance of names or dates to emphasize relationships, and references to context that is expected to be known to the reader. Since White Hat is a fluent speaker of Lakota, his interpretations of Lakota concepts and cultural phenomena are grounded in Lakota language and philosophy. The author’s main goal is to reveal the still-existing importance of relationships in Lakota society. But the book also documents the author’s relationship with Lakota culture, history, philosophy, language, and spirituality. Life’s Journey – Zuya: Oral Teachings from Rosebud is a modern Lakota oral tradition, told in English and written down. As such, it is an important cornerstone in the studies of American Indian autobiography, oral narratives, and discourse.
Jurgita Antoine, Ph.D. is a project director at Lakota Documentaries at Sinte Gleska University.