Department of Rural Sociology
Religious beliefs have exerted substantial influence on the values of the Dakota Indians. In earlier days religious folklore infused every area of their daily lives. When the missionaries introduced Chnstianity to the tribes on the Great Plains, important changes began to take place. Values which conflicted with customary beliefs were interposed, but many of the traditional values were retained. In some cases, accommodation of conflicting values was attempted in marginal religious activities which combined elements of both the old and new religions. In other cases, the conflicts appeared insurmountable, and some individuals sought escape or succumbed to apathy.
A study of the present day values of these people requires some understanding of their traditional religion. Thus, Part II of this bulletin is designed to provide a systematic analysis of the religious background of the Dakota Indians. Here are some of the myths and legends, and the beliefs, practices, and ritual which dominated Dakota thinking at the time of initial contact with the Christian missionaries. In Part III the subsequent changes in Dakota values are discussed and analysed in historical perspective and in terms of the value conflicts which have resulted from the contact of these two different culture patterns. Statistical evidence from a study of two communities on the Pine Ridge Reservation is presented to support the cultural conflict thesis. Implications of the study are suggested in Part IV.
Dakota Indian religion, Pine Ridge Indian religion, Native American Religion, indian ghost dance, indian peyote cult
South Dakota Experiment Station, South Dakota State College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts
Malan, V. D. and Jesser, C. J., "The Dakota Indian Religion, A Study of Conflict in Values" (1959). Research Bulletins of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station (1887-2011). 473.