Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Sociology and Rural Studies


The eager spread of Western society with its insatiable desire for new lands and raw materials has brought with it an exposure to cultures often diametrically opposed to western concepts and attitudes. As contact with alien cultures was made, resistance to plans for “progress” was often experienced and the “primitive” peoples were judged to be irrational savages. The westward advance of our fore-father is written across the pages of history in the bold of the American Indians. “When our ancestors landed on this continent they first fell upon their knees and then upon the aborigines.” Needless to say, the Indian people were finally conquered, put upon reservation, and for twenty years remained under the domination of the military. Since the turn of the century, the U.S government has fostered two basic policies (Pluralism and assimilation) and numerous programs in an effort to better the social and economic position of the Indians. The results of these programs have shown only slight improvements in the general position of the Indian people. In short, these programs provided the “answer” to the “Indian problem” but overlooked the pre-requisite of defining the problem objectively. Slowly we are beginning to understand the Indian people and to design our programs in terms of objectives which are within the understanding of these people. It is towards the goal in increasing our understanding of the Indian people of the Pine Ridge Reservation that this thesis is undertaken.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dakota Indians -- Socioeconomic status
Dakota Indians
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (S.D.)


Includes bibliographical references




South Dakota State University