Objectifying the past - Lakota responses to western historiography

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article discusses an emergent indigenous counter-discourse. on Lakota (Sioux) Indian history. This discourse challenges the widely accepted narrative of Lakota history that sets their date of arrival in the-Black Hills of South Dakota in the 18th century. Modern Lakota historians maintain that the Lakotas have always been in the sacred Black Hills and that the conventional narrative of the Lakota past serves to legitimize their displacement. From a perspective inspired by the writings of Michel Foucault this article argues that, although this discourse can be seen as reflecting an attempt to regain a privileged position of defining Lakota history and identity, if also reproduces the very logic of modern 'grand narratives'. Lakota oral tradition, however, is based on a fundamentally different logic from modern historiography, and it is here, the article suggests, that a more fundamental form of resistance is maintained.


  • Mikael Kurkiala
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social and Economic Geography


  • discourse, Lakota history, Lakota Indians, resistance, representations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-460
JournalCritique of Anthropology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch