The Lakota Way: Stories and Lessons for Living (Compass)

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9780142196090: The Lakota Way: Stories and Lessons for Living (Compass)
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Joseph M. Marshall’s thoughtful, illuminating account of how the spiritual beliefs of the Lakota people can help us all lead more meaningful, ethical lives.

Rich with storytelling, history, and folklore, The Lakota Way expresses the heart of Native American philosophy and reveals the path to a fulfilling and meaningful life. Joseph Marshall is a member of the Sicunga Lakota Sioux and has dedicated his entire life to the wisdom he learned from his elders. Here he focuses on the twelve core qualities that are crucial to the Lakota way of life--bravery, fortitude, generosity, wisdom, respect, honor, perseverance, love, humility, sacrifice, truth, and compassion. Whether teaching a lesson on respect imparted by the mythical Deer Woman or the humility embodied by the legendary Lakota leader Crazy Horse, The Lakota Way offers a fresh outlook on spirituality and ethical living.

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To the Lakota Indians, virtues such as humility, sacrifice, and bravery are not just distant goals to aspire toward, they are daily expectations. "We believe we are measured by how well, or how little, we manifest virtue in our life's journey," writes Joseph Marshall, himself a Lakota. This collection of stories illustrates how generations are taught the Lakota Way of virtuous living through oral storytelling. Marshall recounts the tale of Deer Woman--a siren that lures hunters to her teepee then steals their souls. As the story goes, a grandmother warns her grandson not to be trapped by this beautiful soul-snatcher. When the grandson finally encounters Deer Woman, he is able to resist her seduction, not because he is afraid she'll steal his soul, but because he would never disobey his grandmother. For the Lakota, respect for elders is one of the most honored virtues. After each story, Marshall offers a gracefully rendered essay on the virtue it espouses and how it's applied to daily life. We are fortunate that Marshall translated these precious stories into written English. "They are our gift to the world," he explains. "They are not guarded secrets, they are markers on the road to life--the answers soaring across the open prairies of our lives on the winds of wisdom--helping us, perhaps helping you." --Gail Hudson

About the Author:

Joseph M. Marshall III, historian, educator, and storyteller, is the author of many books, including The Journey of Crazy Horse and The Lakota Way: Stories and Lessons for the Living, which was a finalist for the PEN Center USA West Award in 2002. He was raised on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation and his first language is Lakota. Marshall is a recipient of the Wyoming Humanities Award, and he has been a technical advistor and actor in television movies, including Return to Lonesome Dove. He makes his home on the Northern Plains.

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