Nature is the dominant environment for the Sioux. They calculate time according to events in nature: Months are named "the Moon of Popping Cherries," for example, or "the Moon when the Ponies Get Fat." Black Elk defines the state of goodness as that time when "the two-leggeds and the four-leggeds lived together like relatives"; now, he says, the whites "have made little islands for us and other little islands for the four-leggeds, and always these little islands are becoming smaller, for around them surges the gnawing flood of the Wasichu [white]; and it is dirty with lies and greed." He thus sees himself and his tribe as creatures of nature and harmony with nature as the ideal state — a state that is in opposition to white civilization. The traditional Sioux way of life created interdependence between man and nature. Respect for the cycle of the seasons and animal life was necessary in order to secure food, clothing, and shelter.
This is the end of the preview. Sign up
access the rest of the document.