Montana author writes about Dakota Nation
Heritage is not determined by culture or bloodline or the percentage thereof. Rather, heritage is a part of identity and to acquire it means to know it, to be aware of all it entails, its history, its culture, whether practiced to any degree or not. Those words from "Lakota Lore: A Compendium of Thoughts and Knowledge of the Dakota Nation," provide the impetus that spurred Mark Lewing to write this treatise on the mighty Sioux Nation.
His background in the outdoors early on led him into an intrigue with Native Americans and their way of life. In 1969 he married his late wife, Alyce, who told him she had Native American heritage but wasn’t sure what it was. When both children of this union married spouses with Native American heritage, and especially after discovering that all five had Oglala Lakota bloodlines, Mark determined that they and their children should know about their rich heritage.
Lakota Lore explores the heritage and culture of the Dakota Nation with emphasis on the Lakota branch of the tribe, the largest of the three. Seven chapters deal with spiritual beliefs and legend, genealogy and daily community life. They give the background on how the Dakota Nation developed into the greatest fighting force on the northern plains, the only Native American presence significant enough to back down the United States of America.
While the book does provide historical information, the Indian Wars and the reformation years are only referred to peripherally. Movies and literature available today, a 20-page color picture section, plus an extensive bibliography, further expand on the subject to prove that this compendium offers a very complete treatise on the culture. Top grades have already been earned by two granddaughters writing Lakota Lore based book reports. Lewing holds a University of Montana Bachelor’s Degree in Forestry.