Wayaka: An Ancient Story of Survival

Feb 15th, 2009 | By | Category: 20-3: Tribal Athletes Fight for Their Place, Media Reviews

WAYAKA COVERBy Kim E. Ramseyer
Terrami Publishing (2007)

Review by Michael W. Simpson

This review has been difficult to write. The book is about a young Lakota boy in the 1700s, the son of an outcast Lakota man and a non-Lakota slave struggling to join the camp circle. I am not Lakota and not versed in all of the ways of life discussed in the book.

The author is not Lakota. She apparently has read much about Lakota and other Native peoples and had some experiences in South Dakota. (To her credit, she included a bibliography.)

I admire the author for her interest in Native foods and for trying to understand the different world view of Indigenous people v. Europeans. Many wise Native leaders are encouraging this path as we stand on the verge of making the Earth unlivable for us all.

However, I cannot recommend the book for purchase. The purpose of the book is to promote Earth stewardship among school children. What I see is the same old appropriation of the “ancient Indian” by environmentalists. Good purposes and intentions do not make actions worthy.

Michael W. Simpson, J.D., M.Ed., is an educator, social justice advocate, and scholar living in Tucson, AZ. He can be reached via email: mwsjd85@aol.co.

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