Religious Change Among the Oglala Lakota of Pine Ridge Reservation
Danford, Sabra E.
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The focus of my SIP at the start was the influence of the boarding schools on the Pine Ridge Reservation. As I was able to get out into the community more often and experience Oglala life as it is now through the Sun Dance, Pow-wows, and other activities, I decided I would like to include all of these things into my SIP. I was able to do this by looking at Lakota religion and culture on a diachronic scale. All aspects of life have changed dramatically from pre-reservation time until now. Religion has been altered. Christianity was introduced, changing Oglala life, but not erasing it even though it may have tried. Change can have many meanings. Change can be good or bad, encouraging or discouraging, even right or wrong. It is hard to determine if religious change on Pine Ridge has been necessarily bad or good. William Powers points out that though Oglala religion has changed dramatically, it still retains a sense of continuity. Christianity and Oglala religion are very different religions, yet the Oglala have kept their own while incorporating aspects of a new one. Just as one would not get rid of a child only to adopt and replace her with a new one, the Oglala did not replace their own religion with Christianity.