Traditional Lakota Songs By Ben Black Bear Jr.

I really wanted to enjoy reading this, but I must admit my dismay. First of all, the limited page count didn’t justify the purchase price. Second, some of these “songs” are just 3 sentences of half-finished sentences that read more like rhymes and poems than actual “songs” as it claims. Third, now I want to be clear that I am not trying to “define” Lakota culture as that exclusive privilege is obviously for the Lakota themselves, but I do not find WW2 stories about fighting Germans from the 1950s – 1960s to have any significant value for people living in modern times. In 22 years, World War 2 will have been a century old conflict. Regardless, songs about fighting Germans is nationalism and patriotism. While some may find it nice to have nationalistic and patriotic book about Lakota in the US, it fails to explain what this has to do with a people’s traditions or traditional songs. What does this have to do with Lakota values? How does it apply to the Lakota people? What am I supposed to be taking away from this that expresses the unique viewpoints and perspectives of Lakota people? What do these songs signify about Lakota traditions and values? I’m sorry, but nothing like that is expressed in this pamphlet (I can’t even call it a book). It just reads as some weird, sentimental boomer making a book and being too uncomfortable to express their real viewpoints to share for public consumption.

Also, I cannot help but compare this to previous Native American / Indigenous People’s religious prayers and cultural stories. In particular, the “Songs of the Tewa” published by Herbet Joseph Spiden, where the opening explains the lengthy history of the culture of matriarchy that existed among a multitude of Indigenous civilizations, but how some of the songs questions Spirits and Reality can credibly be interpreted as Pre-Columbian agnostic viewpoints by ancient Tewa peoples. Both of those were just small snippets of the overwhelmingly interesting level of information in that book, which is something this one severely lacks.

In short, there is just nothing interesting, curious, or fascinating to learn from this book. It’s the worst thing a book can be: it’s boring.

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