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Ruling Pine Ridge

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Reinhardt furnishes revealing portraits of Gerald One Feather, Dick Wilson, Russell Means; he offers a telling indictment of Pine Ridges economy. He is one of the few historians who understands the distinction DArcy McNickle made decades ago between loss and defeat. He and the late Vine Deloria, Jr. would have welcomed this volume because of its thorough research and, above all, its unflinching honesty. Writing in 1970 Deloria called for historians to bring historical consciousness to the whole Indian story. ""Ruling Pine Ridge"" achieves that goal. It will be required reading for all who care about not only the indigenous past but as well its connection to the problems of the present and the challenges of the 21st century. Peter Iverson, author of ""Din: A History of the Navajos"". Incorporating previously overlooked materials, including tribal council records, oral histories, and reservation newspapers, ""Ruling Pine Ridge"" explores the political history of South Dakotas Oglala Lakota reservation during the mid-twentieth century. Akim D. Reinhardt examines the reservations transition from the direct colonialism of the pre-1934 era to the indirect colonial policies of the controversial Indian Reorganization Act (IRA). The new federal approach to Indian politics was evident in the advent of the tribal council governing system, which is still in place today on Pine Ridge and on many other reservations. While the structure of the reservations governing body changed dramatically to reflect mainstream American cultural values, certain political equations on the reservation changed very little. In particular, despite promises to the contrary, the new reservation governments authority was still severely constrained by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In addition, the new governing format led to an aggravation of social divisions on the reservation. Reinhardt then examines the period of 1968-1973, showing that many of the political players on the reservation had changed, and although the tribal council system was well established by this point, deep dissatisfaction with the IRA government persisted on Pine Ridge. This longstanding unhappiness came to a head in 1973, with the occupation and siege of Wounded Knee. Reinhardt demonstrates that the siege is best understood not as a political stunt of the American Indian Movement (AIM), but as a spontaneous, grassroots protest that was at least forty years in the making.
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About the Author

Akim D. Reinhardt is an associate professor of History at Towson University in Maryland. His work has also appeared in American Indian Quarterly, the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, and La Pensee.


"A seminal study... academically impressive, substantively informative, and thoughtfully insightful." --Midwest Book Review [Reinhardt's] use of indigenous source material, along with a bevy of other quality data, enables him to provide an organic perspective on forty years of Lakota history, politics, and sovereignty not otherwise obtainable. --Journal of American History "Ruling Pine Ridge reads strong, having captured the essence of OIA/BIA internal colonist control over Pine Ridge throughout most of the twentieth century. In this respect, it is an important historical resource for understanding contemporary political struggles of American Indian reservations and Native Americans." --James V. Fenelon, Great Plains Quarterly, Summer 2008 "A work of impeccable and detailed scholarly research (some of which had never been previously accessed by historians), that should be a part of every university library's Native American Studies reference collection, Ruling Pine Ridge is a seminal study that is an academically impressive, substantively informative, and thoughtfully insightful." --Internet Bookwatch, Sept. 2007 "Akim D. Reinhardt taps the currents of Native American life...[his] work is essential for anyone seeking insight and understanding of the subterranean currents in Lakota societies from the IRA to AIM." --William L. Hewitt, Nebraska History, Winter 2007 "[Ruling Pine Ridge] is a narrative that restores historical agency to Oglala people. By discussing historical events in their local context and listening to Indian voices, the author convincingly demonstrates that the 1973 siege at Wounded Knee stemmed from longstanding tribal discontent with its dysfunctional IRA government." --Kenneth Philip, American Historical Review, June 2008 "Reinhardt is skilled at drawing personal stories from his sources, weaving them into his narrative, and combining them with other data to support his thesis. Overall, the book is thoroughly researched and carefully and convincingly argued. Unlike many academic writers, Reinhardt also tells a good story, taking us inside events as they unfolded on the Pine Ridge reservation...Ruling Pine Ridge makes a valuable contribution to Americaan Indian Studies, one with both theoretical and practical relevance. Through his rigorous political history of Pine Ridge, Reinhardt exposes the historical foundation of reservation politics throughout the United States." --Julie Davis, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, Autumn 2007, Vol. 105, No. 4

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