Pekka Hämäläinen: 2020 Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize winner
In this lecture, author Pekka Hämäläinen, talks about his book: Lakota America: A New History of Indigenous Power from the Yale University Press. Lakota America is an account of the Lakota from the early 16th to the early 21st centuries, including the history of iconic figures such as Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, and Sitting Bull. The book was chosen for the 2020 Stubbendieck Great Plains Book Prize by an independent jury.
Hämäläinen is Rhodes Professor of American History at St. Catherine's College at the University of Oxford. He specializes in indigenous, colonial, imperial, environmental, and borderlands history in North America. Before Oxford, he taught at Texas A&M University and the University of California, Santa Barbara. His 2008 book, The Comanche Empire, received 12 book awards, including the 2008 Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize and the Bancroft Prize.
Special thanks to Margaret Huettl for providing a video land acknowledgement for this episode.
To listen to the podcast version of this, visit: https://anchor.fm/gp-lectures
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[00:00:00.330]Welcome to Great Plains Anywhere.
[00:00:01.920]At Paul A. Olson lecture
[00:00:03.490]from the Center for Great Plains studies
[00:00:05.170]at the university of Nebraska.
[00:00:07.410]Each year the center for great Plains studies
[00:00:09.160]presents a prize for the previous year's best book
[00:00:12.080]on the great Plains.
[00:00:13.760]The winner of the 2020 Stubbendieck great Plains
[00:00:16.310]distinguished book prize is author Pekka Hámáláinen
[00:00:19.511]for Lakota America.
[00:00:21.330]A new history of indigenous power
[00:00:23.092]from the Yale university press.
[00:00:25.415]Lakota America is an account of the Lakota
[00:00:28.910]from the early 16th to the early 21st century,
[00:00:32.176]including the history of iconic figures of Red Cloud,
[00:00:35.290]Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull.
[00:00:37.928]Hámáláinen is a Rhodes professor of American history
[00:00:41.380]at St. Catherine's college at the university of Oxford.
[00:00:44.820]He specializes in indigenous colonial Imperial environmental
[00:00:49.500]and borderlands history in North America.
[00:00:52.360]Before Oxford he's taught at Texas A&M University
[00:00:55.377]and the university of California, Santa Barbara.
[00:00:59.010]His 2008 book, the Comanche Empire received 12 book awards
[00:01:03.100]including the 2008 great Plains distinguished book prize
[00:01:06.150]in the Bancroft prize.
[00:01:08.610]On behalf of the center for great Plains studies
[00:01:10.760]I would like to begin by acknowledging
[00:01:12.520]that the university of Nebraska is a land grant institution
[00:01:15.759]with campuses and programs
[00:01:18.160]on the past present and future homelands
[00:01:20.460]of the Pawnee, Ponca, Otoe-Missouri,
[00:01:22.970]Omaha, Lakota, Dakota, Arapaho, Cheyenne
[00:01:27.670]and Cot peoples.
[00:01:28.785]As well as the relocated Ho-Chunk Iowa
[00:01:31.860]and Sac & Fox peoples.
[00:01:33.830]Please take a moment to consider the legacies
[00:01:36.050]and more than 150 years of displacement, violence,
[00:01:40.075]settlement and survival that bring us here today.
[00:01:43.880]This acknowledgement and the centering of indigenous peoples
[00:01:46.890]is a start as we move forward together
[00:01:49.400]for the next 150 years.
[00:01:52.080]My name is Katie Nieland
[00:01:52.913]and I'm the Assistant Director
[00:01:54.207]for the Center for Great Plains studies
[00:01:56.180]at the University of Nebraska.
[00:01:58.299]My name is Dijon DeLaPorte.
[00:01:59.857]I'm an events coordinator here
[00:02:01.246]at the Center for Great Plains studies
[00:02:03.700]at the University of Nebraska Lincoln.
[00:02:05.890]Well, hello, all of you over there.
[00:02:10.976]This is a wonderful event for me
[00:02:15.319]and I'm deeply honored by this recognition
[00:02:19.310]and you have honored me twice now.
[00:02:22.060]So it is quite overwhelming and you know
[00:02:26.130]my deepest gratitude to everybody involved
[00:02:30.120]and also wanna give a shout out
[00:02:32.110]to some of my friends in University of Nebraska,
[00:02:36.772]David my good friend
[00:02:39.660]and John dear friend.
[00:02:43.830]So I'm sure they will probably see this recording.
[00:02:47.944]I just wanted to start.
[00:02:50.189]Before I start the actual presentation,
[00:02:53.460]I wanted to draw attention to Lakota winter counts.
[00:02:59.969]And you see here a slide that explains
[00:03:03.382]what the Lakota winter counts are.
[00:03:08.410]And it's incredible indigenous archive.
[00:03:13.570]And I think it was actually when I realized
[00:03:18.380]you know, how robust that archive was.
[00:03:21.700]I decided to write this book.
[00:03:23.280]So the winter counts are absolutely essential to the book.
[00:03:30.915]And I probably wouldn't have written this book without them
[00:03:37.606]because they allow us to see a native history
[00:03:40.860]from a distinctly indigenous point of view.
[00:03:45.420]And I'll be showing you during the presentation
[00:03:48.590]there's gonna be many, many more winter counts.
[00:03:52.050]In 1776, two nations were born in North America.
[00:03:56.720]One was conceived in Philadelphia
[00:03:58.490]and the other in the Black Hills
[00:04:01.020]and they were separated by 1700 miles.
[00:04:04.390]Exactly a century later,
[00:04:06.050]those two nations clashed violently
[00:04:08.790]in the heart of the continent
[00:04:10.040]along the Little Bighorn river.
[00:04:12.430]It was a collision
[00:04:13.460]between two radically different expanding powers
[00:04:16.163]that had conquered the way to the West.
[00:04:19.680]And its outcome was spectacular.
[00:04:22.480]Lakotas and the Cheyenne allies,
[00:04:24.560]killed more than 200 soldiers of the seventh US cavalry.
[00:04:29.950]Remembered as Custer's Last Stand,
[00:04:32.160]the fights remains one of the most famous,
[00:04:35.670]and passionately debated battles in history.
[00:04:38.680]Its ironies and symbolic resonance are seemingly boundless.
[00:04:43.690]The worst defeat the United States suffered
[00:04:46.650]in the late 19th century Indian Wars
[00:04:49.070]on the cusp of its Centennial.
[00:04:51.460]A ferocious flamboyant Indian fighter meeting his fate
[00:04:55.490]at the hands of Indians who disposed of him routinely.
[00:05:00.290]A single death that has refused to die as a metaphor,
[00:05:03.860]signified for different ages, heroism, ignorance,
[00:05:07.190]arrogance and savagery.
[00:05:09.400]First that of Indians and later that of Custer's horn.
[00:05:15.850]The battle of The Little Bighorn
[00:05:17.300]was a moment where American history accelerated
[00:05:20.470]and turned violently.
[00:05:22.480]A perfect victory demanded a perfect retribution.
[00:05:27.660]Sending the Indians into a spiraling decline
[00:05:30.026]and seeding the United States continental edge.
[00:05:34.000]Within a year, Custer's last stand had spawned a reckoning
[00:05:38.093]that broke the power of the Lakotas in the Northern Plains.
[00:05:43.340]The battle of The Little Bighorn fixed the Lakotas
[00:05:45.660]embodied by sitting bull and crazy Horse
[00:05:47.690]in historical memory
[00:05:49.330]and made them an object of lasting fascination
[00:05:52.750]because its meanings resonate so broadly.
[00:05:56.670]From Americans imperial hybris to the present day struggles
[00:06:00.770]between nation States and non-state actors
[00:06:03.510]and to the unpredictability of history itself.
[00:06:07.750]The Little Bighorn has both elevated
[00:06:09.870]and diminished Lakotas in the American mind.
[00:06:13.640]Like the battle of the Gettysburg,
[00:06:15.040]it's a cultural touchstone around which American identity
[00:06:19.130]and self understanding revolve.
[00:06:21.880]And yet quite stunningly, the Lacotas story
[00:06:25.190]lacks a comprehensive study.
[00:06:27.832]There are hundreds of super groups on Lakota history
[00:06:32.080]but most of them take The Little Bighorn
[00:06:34.350]as a guiding coordinate, chasing the immediate events.
[00:06:38.300]Essentially the military buildup leading up to it.
[00:06:42.561]Through a quick rear view look, Lakotas enter the scene
[00:06:45.940]fully formed as fierce horse mounting warriors
[00:06:49.040]whose palpable confidence gave way some clarity pause
[00:06:52.730]a premonition of the carnage on The Little Bighorn,
[00:06:56.060]three generations later.
[00:06:58.980]The Lakotas in my imagination
[00:07:01.790]are props that bookend America's westward expansion
[00:07:05.840]present at its promised field inception
[00:07:08.548]and it's morally prevalent Denali.
[00:07:12.920]Now, I have tried to detach the Lakota story
[00:07:15.550]from the mainstream historical coordinates
[00:07:18.030]which have reduced them to a foil of the American condition.
[00:07:22.730]I've tried to portray the Lakotas as essential
[00:07:25.160]and enduring protagonist
[00:07:26.690]who contended to be the range of colonial powers
[00:07:29.710]from the 17th century onward.
[00:07:31.980]Derrius, diverting, frustrating and boosting.
[00:07:34.660]They are their ambitions.
[00:07:36.840]They emerge as superbly flexible people
[00:07:39.380]who reinvented themselves time and again,
[00:07:41.845]each a precarious attempt to carve out
[00:07:45.020]a safe place in a world where European new commerce
[00:07:48.071]had become a permanent presence.
[00:07:51.450]And perhaps most strikingly,
[00:07:52.549]they emerged as Supreme warriors
[00:07:54.393]who routinely exude violence
[00:07:57.010]relying on diplomacy, persuasion
[00:07:59.300]and sheer charm to secure what they needed
[00:08:02.456]only to revert to naked force if necessary.
[00:08:06.760]When the overconfident Custer
[00:08:08.159]rode into The Little Bighorn Valley on that day,
[00:08:11.360]Lakotas had already faced thousands Imperial challenges.
[00:08:15.790]They knew exactly what to do with him.
[00:08:19.605]Two centuries earlier,
[00:08:21.500]Lakotas had been obscure Buffalo hunters
[00:08:24.270]at the edge of a bustling new world
[00:08:26.286]of native Americans and European colonists
[00:08:29.122]that emerged in the Eastern Woodlands.
[00:08:32.284]They had no guns and no metal weapons
[00:08:34.547]and they carried little political clouds.
[00:08:37.340]All of which spelled danger.
[00:08:39.910]The odds of survival were slim for people
[00:08:42.300]who lacked access to Europeans and they knew technologies.
[00:08:47.900]That crisis set off what may be
[00:08:49.760]the most improbable expansion in American history.
[00:08:53.410]Lakotas left the ancient homelands in the East
[00:08:56.180]and reinvented themselves as horse people
[00:08:59.350]in the vast continental grasslands.
[00:09:02.570]That was the Genesis for what I call
[00:09:04.900]Lakota America and expansive and constantly transmuting
[00:09:08.325]indigenous regime that commanded human fates
[00:09:11.729]in the North American interior for generations.
[00:09:15.390]Just as there was Spanish, French and British Americas,
[00:09:19.570]it was Lakota America.
[00:09:21.480]Serving domain of the Lakota people
[00:09:23.420]a domain they would protect.
[00:09:25.120]And if necessary, expand.
[00:09:29.850]I do not want to essentialize the Lakotas
[00:09:32.660]nor do I want to make them consistent.
[00:09:34.879]Lakota America takes its cue from Iktomi
[00:09:38.310]a shape-shifting spider trickster
[00:09:40.862]who embodies what may be the defining attributes
[00:09:43.490]of the Lakota people.
[00:09:44.680]Their stunning ability to adapt and change
[00:09:48.170]and to assume a new mindset.
[00:09:50.950]Lakotas came in close contact
[00:09:52.610]with the US government in the 1850s.
[00:09:55.550]They were in the midst of what was perhaps
[00:09:57.898]the most remarkable and least known
[00:10:00.605]of the self reinventors.
[00:10:03.890]By 1876 that transfiguration was complete
[00:10:07.700]and reached its symbolic combination
[00:10:10.270]in the battle of The little Bighorn.
[00:10:12.810]Cluster failed to see that change
[00:10:15.100]and led his men into certain death.
[00:10:18.190]He was not brought down by a mirror Alliance of Indians.
[00:10:22.510]He was brought down by the Lakota empire.
[00:10:26.410]In the mid 17th century,
[00:10:28.322]New France sailed around the St. Lawrence Valley
[00:10:32.500]was the most promising
[00:10:33.940]of North American colonial enterprises.
[00:10:36.740]The French way of welcoming native villages
[00:10:38.623]that dotted the great lakes region
[00:10:40.830]because they treated Indians as human beings
[00:10:43.339]because they married native women becoming kin.
[00:10:46.270]And because David generous and traded guns, powder and iron.
[00:10:51.230]The trade had spawn a middle ground
[00:10:53.440]where the French and various native nations
[00:10:55.774]coexisted and forged an Alliance
[00:10:59.400]becoming more powerful in the process.
[00:11:03.076]This was a catastrophe for the Oceti Sakowin
[00:11:06.047]the Sioux Alliance of seven council fires
[00:11:09.080]who understood themselves as relatives
[00:11:11.520]and were bound to one another and the universe
[00:11:14.670]by a life giving presence, Wakan.
[00:11:19.090]Moving East to West, you can see here
[00:11:21.350]the seven council fires.
[00:11:23.430]Four Dakota ones,
[00:11:24.499]two Nakota ones and one Lakota fire
[00:11:28.210]with the seven Oyates or people.
[00:11:32.653]Having moved forward North Westwood
[00:11:35.570]from their ancestral lands
[00:11:36.900]in the central Mississippi Valley,
[00:11:38.880]the Sioux people had settled on a transition song
[00:11:41.910]where the Eastern Woodlands and the Western grasslands
[00:11:44.830]overlapped offering unusually lavish plant and animal life.
[00:11:51.290]The Lakotas, the Western most council fire
[00:11:53.930]had pushed fast settling towards the Minnesota Valley.
[00:11:58.570]But the French Indian Alliance had turned the Sioux domain
[00:12:01.920]into a really fine place.
[00:12:04.513]The Alliance underwrote a dramatic expansion of far trade
[00:12:09.070]which thrusted a convoted revolution into the West
[00:12:12.562]turning the Oceti Sakowins Eastern border into a war zone.
[00:12:17.400]It was the kind of war the Sioux had never seen.
[00:12:20.830]Trapped on the wrong side of a technological frontier
[00:12:24.630]they (mumbles) an iron with stone and flesh.
[00:12:29.470]They tried desperately to gain access to French gun markets
[00:12:34.650]but the United native rivals would not allow it
[00:12:37.440]denouncing them, isolating them, killing them.
[00:12:41.100]Looking East and North from their homelands
[00:12:45.690]around the dead Wakan spirit Lake,
[00:12:47.600]the Sioux faced 10 hostile nations.
[00:12:50.164]The underlying problem was that the Sioux
[00:12:53.070]had no relationship with the governor of New France
[00:12:56.639]who was a father to his native allies
[00:12:59.900]and whose generosity and affection
[00:13:01.555]made the enemies of the Sioux so
[00:13:06.880]A young Dakota chief told
[00:13:08.900]governor Frontenac in Montreal in 1695
[00:13:12.767]"All the nations have a father who gives them his protection
[00:13:17.110]and has iron
[00:13:18.390]but I am a bastard searching for a father."
[00:13:23.540]One solution to the crisis came from the American Southwest
[00:13:26.950]in the shape of another technological frontier.
[00:13:30.110]In 1680, the Pueblo Indians had rebelled
[00:13:32.680]against their Spanish masters in Mexico
[00:13:35.230]banishing them from the Rio Grande Valley.
[00:13:38.530]The Pueblo farmers had little use for the horses
[00:13:40.820]the Spaniards had left behind
[00:13:43.120]and they sold them to the bordering nomads
[00:13:45.490]who then traded the animals across the interior.
[00:13:49.320]The horse frontier with the Lakotas
[00:13:51.210]in the early 1700s on the Western edge of the Sioux country.
[00:13:57.760]It was a transcending event.
[00:13:59.820]See how this winter count is almost saturated with horses.
[00:14:05.860]The Lakotas were in awe of the creature
[00:14:08.180]of its tremendous power and its keenness
[00:14:10.670]to obey all commands.
[00:14:12.520]They call it a sacred dog and they wanted more of them
[00:14:16.750]which meant turning to the West.
[00:14:21.650]Besides sacred dogs
[00:14:23.270]the West abounded with other magnificent things.
[00:14:26.370]Most notably bison herds
[00:14:28.600]would seem to grow bigger and bigger to the West.
[00:14:32.245]The lands West of the Minnesota Valley pulled
[00:14:35.580]the Lakotas in.
[00:14:36.920]Triggering the first of the three great self reinventions.
[00:14:42.780]Then they became horse people.
[00:14:45.450]The change was so momentous
[00:14:47.090]that the Lakotas seemed to think that history itself
[00:14:50.240]had began a new.
[00:14:52.070]Many Lakota winter counts began in the early 18th century
[00:14:58.230]Pushed by French neglect and pulled by Western promises,
[00:15:01.830]the Lakotas launched a concerted expansion.
[00:15:05.230]America's first sweeping westward it's batch.
[00:15:09.900]It was an expansion that in many ways
[00:15:12.050]shouldn't have been possible.
[00:15:14.710]The odds were horribly stacked against the smallest nation
[00:15:18.020]that was sparked to punch into the unknown.
[00:15:21.120]Drawn by horses and bison in the West,
[00:15:23.460]Lakotas went pulling away
[00:15:24.931]from the continental trade corridors
[00:15:27.600]entering a strange new world in the Western Plains
[00:15:33.009]that were not free for the taking.
[00:15:34.120]Going at it alone,
[00:15:35.610]Lakotas clashed with several people.
[00:15:38.765]Omohas, Ochos, Iowas, Promques and others
[00:15:41.150]who saw them as invaders.
[00:15:44.856]The rivalries became Peerless lasting both generations.
[00:15:49.060]There are North America's longest Wars.
[00:15:52.450]Lakotas soon found themselves in a debilitating political
[00:15:55.660]and commercial league bowl, surrounded by enemies
[00:15:58.650]and cut off from the colonial trade circuits.
[00:16:02.650]But the Lakotas had two distinctive advantages
[00:16:06.860]in the escalating wars or with the great Western grasslands.
[00:16:10.630]One was the capacity for reinvention, shape-shifting.
[00:16:16.700]The other was geography.
[00:16:20.120]Stepped ahead of them like the rungs of a ladder
[00:16:23.610]like eight major rivers that up flow the vast prairies
[00:16:27.360]on the north to south
[00:16:29.040]providing a feasible frame for expansion.
[00:16:32.910]The Lakotas curved out a Western domain
[00:16:36.060]one valley at a time,
[00:16:37.980]each a crucial addition to their resource base.
[00:16:41.810]The gamble paid off handsomely and the Lakotas reached
[00:16:45.370]what they call the muddy water.
[00:16:46.980]The mighty Missouri, the largest and lushest
[00:16:48.810]of the eight Prairie valleys in the mid 18th century.
[00:16:53.720]The Sioux world had bought
[00:16:55.510]more than 300 miles into the West.
[00:16:59.280]Dozens of native villages squeezed there
[00:17:01.630]by Lakota pressure dotted the valleys
[00:17:03.680]along the middle section, like uneven make strong.
[00:17:07.770]It was the greatest concentration
[00:17:09.590]of humans and material wealth in the heart of the continent.
[00:17:14.720]As many as 50,000 people may have lived
[00:17:17.840]in grand Riverside villages
[00:17:19.580]that abounded with squash or sticks and human energy.
[00:17:23.970]Missouri exerted irresistible poll on the Lakotas
[00:17:27.650]who desperately needed horses and carbohydrates
[00:17:30.036]for their rapidly growing population.
[00:17:34.060]But the Missouri village is a rigorous Mandas and Hidatsas
[00:17:37.570]were troubled by this new Congress
[00:17:39.943]who had big needs but little to offer.
[00:17:43.280]For them the mystery was home and sacred,
[00:17:46.340]a place where all their history had happened
[00:17:49.760]and they were determined to keep the Lakotas out.
[00:17:54.290]Repulsed, Lakotas relied on force
[00:17:57.126]but they absorbed more damage than they inflicted.
[00:18:01.280]The villages fought
[00:18:02.210]with the state of the art guns
[00:18:05.070]secured from British traders in Canada
[00:18:07.500]killing Lakotas from the safety of the Palisades villages.
[00:18:11.730]The West was turning into a dead end for Lakotas.
[00:18:16.847]In mid 1700s emerged as a dark period
[00:18:19.550]in their winter counts.
[00:18:21.190]Mounted gun-wielding enemies stormed their camps,
[00:18:24.314]winning joining men in fighting enemies,
[00:18:27.100]warriors defecating next to their lodges
[00:18:30.045]caught in their hands, too afraid to venture out.
[00:18:34.080]It was a war point.
[00:18:35.840]The great mystery was crazy.
[00:18:37.560]Declares an Oglala winter count.
[00:18:41.080]Lakotas had one great advantage in the struggle
[00:18:43.700]over the Missouri.
[00:18:45.625]They were members
[00:18:47.070]of the great Sioux Alliance
[00:18:48.920]around which continental and commercial diplomatic circles
[00:18:53.200]had began to converge.
[00:18:55.173]Alarmed by the virulence of the Pontiac's war
[00:18:57.417]in the great lakes,
[00:18:58.800]British officials adopted the old friends system of gifts,
[00:19:02.290]diplomacy and shaped.
[00:19:04.820]Guns started falling into the West
[00:19:07.060]in unprecedented quantities,
[00:19:08.880]reaching the Dakota villages along the Mississippi.
[00:19:12.000]Dakotas also welcomed traders and guns
[00:19:14.770]from the South where St. Louis had emerged as a focal point
[00:19:18.600]of the interior trade.
[00:19:21.210]What belonged to Dakotas belonged to Lakotas.
[00:19:24.750]Goods did not flow automatically from East to West,
[00:19:28.200]but familiar ideas of sharing obliged the Sioux people
[00:19:31.870]to take care of.
[00:19:33.310]North America's two great technological frontiers
[00:19:36.210]had converged on Lakotas
[00:19:38.120]making them the first native nation
[00:19:40.040]to fight on horseback with substantial fire power.
[00:19:44.580]In the early 1770s, Oglalas attacked a Mandan village
[00:19:49.530]some 200 miles North of Oglala County.
[00:19:54.560]They burned the Mandans out
[00:20:00.248]The stacking of that Mandan village was a turning point
[00:20:04.010]that marked the beginning of a long Lakota ascensing
[00:20:08.210]along the Missouri.
[00:20:09.990]Lakotas raided almost all upper Missouri villages
[00:20:13.040]which began falling in strucking rapidity.
[00:20:19.420]the villages suffered massive losses in 1781
[00:20:22.950]when a small pox epidemic
[00:20:24.950]raged up and down the Missouri Valley.
[00:20:33.047]The epidemic shocked blockers,
[00:20:33.880]but it nearly destroyed the villagers
[00:20:35.760]who confined villages became death traps.
[00:20:39.390]Erigoros may have lost more than 75% of the people
[00:20:42.647]and they abandoned, or but seven of their 32 villages.
[00:20:46.820]The carnage left the villagers reeling
[00:20:49.717]and they fled far to the North
[00:20:51.800]a 200 mile expanse of the Missouri
[00:20:55.510]now laid vacant in front of the Lacodas
[00:20:58.750]They pushed in.
[00:21:00.230]It was the single most important expansion
[00:21:02.540]in the history of the Oceti Sakowin.
[00:21:04.780]The moment when the long struggle to secure horses
[00:21:07.790]guns and military powder
[00:21:09.690]translated into unqualified and reassuring success.
[00:21:13.880]Soon several Lakota villages stretched out
[00:21:16.500]along the Missouri and its Western (mumbles).
[00:21:19.740]Lakotas had shifted in shape for the second time
[00:21:23.050]making the Missouri Valley, the center of their world
[00:21:26.460]and reinventing themselves as river people.
[00:21:30.300]Lakotas had carved a vast river in domain
[00:21:34.290]in a long and often brutal war.
[00:21:36.520]But they were not some blind conquering machine
[00:21:39.370]bent on subjugation.
[00:21:41.380]They were capable of shifting from violence and war
[00:21:43.905]to diplomacy and peace fluidly and swiftly.
[00:21:47.950]And now they set out to harness the Missouri's
[00:21:52.895]two great resources.
[00:21:53.877]The expanding upriver trade from St. Louis
[00:21:56.710]and the weakened but still wealthy native villages.
[00:22:00.930]These commercial impulses
[00:22:02.239]clashed with the geopolitical ambitions
[00:22:06.661]officials who agonized
[00:22:09.040]over imperial challenges from the North.
[00:22:12.030]please traders had entrenched themselves
[00:22:15.290]on the Mandans deflecting the upper Missouri fair trade
[00:22:18.050]towards Canada from its southbound
[00:22:21.237]Desperate to secure the lucrative trade,
[00:22:24.690]Spanish officials began branding trade licenses
[00:22:27.334]to the far reaches of the Missouri.
[00:22:30.800]There, they calculated the virus could be contained
[00:22:34.240]and there they imagined would be a water ride
[00:22:37.220]to the Pacific coast.
[00:22:38.367]The key to an everlasting Spanish hamper
[00:22:42.880]in the heart of North America.
[00:22:45.990]It was not to be.
[00:22:47.802]Captain de Franco's Spanish traders
[00:22:49.600]were about to crash into a Lakota barrier
[00:22:52.040]they did not know existed.
[00:22:54.510]In 1793 an enterprising trader Jack Dick Lees embarked
[00:22:59.870]up river in for Mandan and country.
[00:23:02.340]He didn't get far.
[00:23:04.020]He was stopped
[00:23:06.491]300 miles shy from his destination by Lakotas
[00:23:09.750]who promptly confiscated most of his goods.
[00:23:11.666]Over this prompt prompted confiscated
[00:23:12.499]most of his goods.
[00:23:13.332]Dick Lee's inception was more than a warning.
[00:23:17.920]It was policy.
[00:23:19.520]St. Louis traders were determined to push fur
[00:23:22.030]up river to maximize their client base
[00:23:24.930]and drive out the radius rivals.
[00:23:27.540]Lakotas however were determined to prevent the traders
[00:23:30.660]from moving past them.
[00:23:32.410]They wanted to cut off their native rivals
[00:23:34.619]and reserve the book of the critical goods.
[00:23:37.420]Guns, powder, lead for themselves.
[00:23:40.510]It was a scene that was repeated over and over again
[00:23:44.050]along the Missouri where Lakotas now ruled supreme
[00:23:48.150]policing the river they now considered theirs.
[00:23:51.920]By 1800 Lakota dominance in the upper Missouri
[00:23:55.270]was an accepted fact.
[00:23:57.287]The Mandan village is still loomed large in Spanish plans
[00:24:00.643]but what preoccupied the Spanish merchants most
[00:24:03.718]was how to move upriver without alienating Lakotas.
[00:24:07.983]They resigned to pay tolls for access.
[00:24:12.050]Lakotas had turn one of a North America
[00:24:15.080]straight commercial arteries
[00:24:16.800]into actually boot yielding machine.
[00:24:19.020]They could reap massive profits
[00:24:20.880]by simply allowing people and goods pass by.
[00:24:24.860]Moreover, while exploiting the colonial river traffic,
[00:24:28.188]Lakotas also reduced the Missouri villages
[00:24:30.930]to virtual vessels.
[00:24:32.940]They blended raiding and extortion
[00:24:35.410]with diplomacy and trade
[00:24:36.840]into a flexible economy of violence
[00:24:39.220]that rendered the villages weak, needy and compliant.
[00:24:43.130]A French observer thought that the Lakotas
[00:24:45.810]had reduced their radars to a certain kind of serve
[00:24:49.110]who called the waits for them
[00:24:50.530]and who as they say takes for them the place of women.
[00:24:55.100]To further boost their bargaining power,
[00:24:57.050]Lakotas use naked force to create artificial demand
[00:25:00.360]for the exports.
[00:25:03.530]Well, more than the Arikaras,
[00:25:05.390]they isolated them from the bison
[00:25:07.205]and forced them to buy meat from them.
[00:25:10.320]As a result, huge amounts of precious corn
[00:25:13.920]poured into Lakota villages allowing them to enjoy
[00:25:17.610]one of the best diets on the continent.
[00:25:20.790]3,000 Arikaras had become Lakotas wards.
[00:25:24.470]Their economies and they very large skin molded
[00:25:27.200]to accommodate the new masters of the (mumbles)
[00:25:32.810]In the spring of 1803
[00:25:34.620]United States bought Louisiana from France
[00:25:37.790]and in the fall of 1804,
[00:25:39.747]the Lewis and Clark expedition crest all but blindly
[00:25:43.107]into the expanding Lakota America.
[00:25:47.120]It was not because of lack of preparation,
[00:25:49.711]rather a failure to see, learn and adapt.
[00:25:53.850]Had the Americans approached Lakotas
[00:25:55.580]as traders and generous allies,
[00:25:57.550]things may have turned out differently.
[00:26:00.150]Instead however, they came to Lakota as conquerors
[00:26:03.026]determined to reduce them to boards of a man
[00:26:06.949]they had never heard of.
[00:26:08.810]they came with vessels full of goods but refused
[00:26:11.410]to share their wealth
[00:26:13.040]with the masters of the Missouri.
[00:26:15.890]Lakotas not only send these arrogant nothings
[00:26:18.520]on their way, they startled them upriver
[00:26:20.850]asserting themselves in their rage
[00:26:23.450]and undoing their efforts for the Arikaras on the orbits.
[00:26:27.240]They follow the copes of discovery
[00:26:29.300]all the way to the winter camp.
[00:26:31.950]Among the Mandans,
[00:26:33.307]Lewis and Clark had traversed the Missouri valley
[00:26:36.900]one imperial expansion too late
[00:26:40.020]and they found it hard to accept.
[00:26:43.340]Clark's heart seeps through in his compiled observation,
[00:26:47.620]observations on the Missouri Indians.
[00:26:50.171]He announced the Lakotas as the violent
[00:26:51.880]miss grounds of the Savage range race
[00:26:55.696]grace and must ever remain the pirates
[00:26:57.463]of the Missouri.
[00:27:00.260]Rather than opportunistic pirates however,
[00:27:02.480]Lakotas were deep protectors
[00:27:04.830]of a newly established indigenous Germany
[00:27:07.513]Lewis and Clark had been cut to size
[00:27:10.087]by what I call the Lakota meridian,
[00:27:13.510]a long integrated corridor of power
[00:27:16.330]in the heart of the continent.
[00:27:17.845]Lewis and Clark had muddled through the Lakota meridian
[00:27:21.820]as also runs.
[00:27:24.610]Lakota's treatment of Lewis and Clark set a pattern.
[00:27:28.840]For several decades afterwards,
[00:27:30.710]Lakotas kept policing the Missouri
[00:27:33.720]sometimes plundering American boats
[00:27:35.910]that refused to share their goods.
[00:27:38.810]Sometimes joining US soldiers
[00:27:40.890]in punishing the errant subordinates.
[00:27:44.050]Placating the pirates of the Missouri
[00:27:46.610]became the new normal
[00:27:48.020]and necessary evil that had to be factored in
[00:27:49.948]as a built in cost so that American interior trade
[00:27:54.637]would reach its full potential.
[00:27:58.440]By the 1830s Americans were firmly on Lakota orbit.
[00:28:02.990]They built numerous trading posts for them.
[00:28:06.000]This is the biggest fort here on the Missouri.
[00:28:09.456]They sold guns to them delivered by steam boats.
[00:28:13.610]They vaccinated them against smallpox
[00:28:15.620]while ignoring their rivals.
[00:28:17.890]They openly admired their military progress
[00:28:20.420]and they even praised their looks and clothing.
[00:28:25.020]The Lakota Sloan Missouri attack
[00:28:26.800]was the most formative period in their history.
[00:28:30.330]It was there that they assumed their sacred form
[00:28:35.577]as the seven oyates or people.
[00:28:36.410]Splitting up and linking up along the Missouri.
[00:28:39.990]Articulating a distinctive intermesh
[00:28:43.071]of the sublime and the practical in the Lakota way of being,
[00:28:46.840]Slow Buffalo, a prominent chief announced,
[00:28:50.557]"We are seven bands.
[00:28:52.049]And from now on, we will scatter all over the world.
[00:28:56.057]The mysterious one Wakan Tanka has given us this place.
[00:29:00.320]And now it is up to us to expand ourselves.
[00:29:03.960]We will name every person and everything."
[00:29:08.020]A blend of humility and confidence,
[00:29:10.040]Slow Buffalo's message captures
[00:29:11.941]how the Lakotas play about to embark
[00:29:14.320]on a new face in their history.
[00:29:17.440]In the 1830s and 40s,
[00:29:19.420]Lakotas make their second concerted push into the West.
[00:29:23.160]This time from the Missouri Valley
[00:29:25.190]their home for more than half a century.
[00:29:27.940]It was the face that centered to a remarkable degree
[00:29:30.910]on a single point Paha Sapa- The Black Hills
[00:29:33.917]the heart of everything there is.
[00:29:36.583]Lakotas had frequented Paha Sapa
[00:29:39.297]from the Missouri homelands
[00:29:41.390]since the late 18th century.
[00:29:43.500]John bites spiritual privacy,
[00:29:45.520]it's moist hot out to do to microclimate
[00:29:50.458]and it's massive herds of bison and wild horses.
[00:29:52.410]Now Lakota's respond to Paha Sapa as irresistible poll.
[00:29:57.430]Once again, basic geography seemed to draw them in.
[00:30:03.010]From the Missouri's west bank,
[00:30:05.320]eight trade tributaries pointed wet spot Black fingers
[00:30:08.970]towards the (mumbles)
[00:30:11.994]but there was a catch.
[00:30:13.860]The Western Plains were already occupied.
[00:30:17.520]People and their animals could not survive in the plains
[00:30:20.080]without secure access to river valleys
[00:30:23.210]or farming or trapping
[00:30:24.870]and much of the hunting and gathering
[00:30:26.570]took place on the banks
[00:30:29.084]and nearly all those riparian stones were already taken.
[00:30:34.630]This meant once again war.
[00:30:36.960]Now against other horse nations.
[00:30:41.386]Entrenched in the black Hills,
[00:30:42.219]Lakotas were surrounded by numerous enemies
[00:30:44.360]that matched them in the (mumbles) warfare.
[00:30:46.333]They met the challenge their customary way.
[00:30:50.120]They shifted shape.
[00:30:51.680]Building on their Missouri Valley power politics,
[00:30:54.260]they transformed into an NPO power
[00:30:56.291]that could coordinate decision-making on a national level
[00:31:00.320]and implement large scale mobilization.
[00:31:03.427]They created more centralized political institutions
[00:31:06.419]moving power from local banks to tribal councils
[00:31:09.864]and to a select group of praiseworthy men
[00:31:13.070]who executed council decisions.
[00:31:15.900]On a national level, the Sundance became an annual event
[00:31:20.160]reaffirming Lakotas sense of themselves
[00:31:23.250]as a single kindred.
[00:31:25.700]Such unifying reforms made possible
[00:31:27.760]and ambitious coordinated
[00:31:29.570]and yet flexible Lakota foreign policy.
[00:31:33.010]This is how Lakota dominance looked like on the ground.
[00:31:36.430]Lakotas raided nomadic rivals
[00:31:38.350]far to the North, West and South
[00:31:40.500]stealing horses and humans
[00:31:42.290]and keeping them out of their hunting branches.
[00:31:45.471]So as a buy, they mobile four parties,
[00:31:48.250]get Pawnees, Otoes, Ponca
[00:31:50.241]And Omahas under siege.
[00:31:52.660]Raiding them for horse corn (mumbles)
[00:31:54.360]In their own villages, Lakota winning process
[00:31:59.110]tens of thousands of Buffalo ropes a year
[00:32:01.394]for American markets, securing ammunitions, clothing
[00:32:05.250]and luxuries for their communities, thus safeguarding
[00:32:08.441]the military might and the prestige of the Lakota nation.
[00:32:12.701]All seven Lakotas say, (mumbles)
[00:32:14.551]keeping people and power movable
[00:32:16.560]and channeling both wherever they will need.
[00:32:22.540]They made them appear.
[00:32:24.440]This made them appear far more formidable
[00:32:28.120]than they actually were
[00:32:29.460]allowing them to dominate
[00:32:30.920]an oversized portion of the continent.
[00:32:33.850]Lakotas strength did not rest on territorial control
[00:32:38.160]but on a horse powered capacity to connect and exploit
[00:32:42.048]key strategic nodes, radio valleys
[00:32:45.730]prime hunting grounds, corn yielding native villages,
[00:32:49.150]American trading posts and Paha Sapa by itself.
[00:32:52.194]Lakotas controlled resources without controlling people
[00:32:56.980]ranging widely but ruling likely,
[00:32:59.730]they move constantly through space.
[00:33:01.840]Seeking trade, tributes, plunder, pastures.
[00:33:04.350]This was a malleable forever transmuting regime
[00:33:09.730]call it a kinetic empire built on mobile power politics
[00:33:13.660]rather than institutionalized control.
[00:33:16.502]It could be understood as an action-based regime
[00:33:19.741]whose power rested on sustained repetition
[00:33:22.720]of specific foreign political arts.
[00:33:24.788]Short and long range rates
[00:33:27.990]should be with extraction and diplomatic missions
[00:33:31.897]which gave it a fecal on and off again, nature.
[00:33:34.962]It could be all over the map one moment
[00:33:38.198]and nowhere to be seen the next.
[00:33:41.580]The Americans never saw it.
[00:33:44.340]By the mid 19th century Americans and Lakotas
[00:33:46.577]two expanding people had co-existed peacefully
[00:33:50.470]in the West for decades.
[00:33:52.510]Not even gold would split them apart.
[00:33:55.820]When California suddenly became
[00:33:57.740]the richest place on earth in 1848,
[00:34:01.460]the US government invited Lakotas and other Plains nations
[00:34:05.140]to talk at Fort Laramie to secure access to California gold.
[00:34:09.820]Lakotas arrived well prepared.
[00:34:12.126]Fully aware of the people's opposition
[00:34:14.794]as the masters of the Western Plains,
[00:34:17.250]they negotiated hard in exchange for rights of way
[00:34:23.236]along the Platte Valley.
[00:34:25.226]US agents offered them a reservation North of the Platte
[00:34:26.059]but Lakotas playing the central Plains all the way South
[00:34:28.750]to the Arkansas Valley.
[00:34:30.620]Much of it's still a county domain.
[00:34:33.552]They did so by the right of Congress.
[00:34:37.967]"These lands once belonged to the (mumbles) and the Crows,"
[00:34:41.100]Oglala chief Black hawk explained
[00:34:43.237]"but we weed those nations out of them.
[00:34:45.701]In this we did."
[00:34:47.080]He explained what the white men do
[00:34:49.570]when they want the lands of India.
[00:34:51.732]This led to appease the most powerful native nation
[00:34:55.509]in North America.
[00:34:57.410]USA agents yielded.
[00:34:59.910]The 1851 Horse Creek treaty recognized Lakota title
[00:35:03.760]to nearly hundred thousand square miles
[00:35:05.930]North of the North Platte.
[00:35:08.220]But Lakota chief insisted that the domain would be defined
[00:35:11.680]by the needs of the heart
[00:35:14.780]and by action on the ground, not some lines on a map.
[00:35:18.060]They made clear that whenever necessary,
[00:35:21.160]they expansion would continue.
[00:35:24.060]Terrified of losing access to the distant gold
[00:35:27.440]US officials stimplicate.
[00:35:30.120]Lakotas had affirmed the age of money in the great Plains
[00:35:33.483]and their ride to expand their domain if necessary.
[00:35:38.460]Now it could have been a feasible framework
[00:35:41.370]for continuing co existence, had not Lieutenant Grattan
[00:35:45.059]punch United States into a war with the Lakotas
[00:35:49.480]over a call.
[00:35:52.020]Lakotas killed Grattan at least
[00:35:53.853]and his 29 men not far from Fort Laramie.
[00:35:57.430]The US government felt compelled to (mumbles)
[00:36:00.670]In came the superbly experienced General William Harney
[00:36:04.200]who deliberate what many policymakers wanted,
[00:36:07.120]a massacre and a lesson.
[00:36:09.740]At least 86 Lakotas died.
[00:36:11.684]After that, Lakotas kept the Americans at arms length.
[00:36:16.130]Moderate leaders kept collecting treaty annuities
[00:36:18.660]at government agencies concealing the fact
[00:36:20.841]that the vast majority of Lakotas were now militants.
[00:36:24.760]Lakotas continued the expansion
[00:36:26.630]hiding their empire in plain sight.
[00:36:29.750]Bison herd, the foundation of their power and sovereignty
[00:36:33.000]was now their main concern.
[00:36:35.107]The herds had started to fail
[00:36:37.030]under swelling overland traffic and droughts.
[00:36:40.540]Tightening day old Alliance with the Cheyenne and Arapaho,
[00:36:45.450]Lakotas set out to control
[00:36:47.050]the remaining viable hunting grounds
[00:36:49.290]that centered in the powder river country
[00:36:51.800]in the Western high plane.
[00:36:54.170]The result was a decades long war
[00:36:57.200]with the Crows, shawnees, Flatheads, Blackfeet,
[00:37:00.923]Assiniboine, and others.
[00:37:04.000]This Buffalo imperialism may have stemmed
[00:37:06.390]from a sense of vulnerability
[00:37:08.710]but it was transformed by Lakotas into a territorial giant.
[00:37:13.150]The vast domain their empire was an archipelago
[00:37:16.200]of reversed highlands and winds
[00:37:18.993]and they needed every part of it intact.
[00:37:22.640]But each offered a specific source of food,
[00:37:25.370]refuge and sacred power.
[00:37:28.400]Restarting in far away agencies,
[00:37:30.680]US officials did not understand this nor did they know
[00:37:33.840]how thoroughly Lakotas now dominated the great interior.
[00:37:39.734]with the Lakotas had been a necessary compromise
[00:37:44.110]for the US government
[00:37:46.570]which did not seem to have the stomach for a war,
[00:37:51.200]while people who were all over the map.
[00:37:55.400]But the American civil war changed everything.
[00:37:59.230]The 1862 Lakota uprising in Minnesota,
[00:38:01.923]triggered a sprawling war with the union army
[00:38:06.240]whose generals now labeled all Sioux nations as enemies.
[00:38:09.750]For Lakotas it became the first fight with the white man
[00:38:14.570]when general Alfred Sally attacked them
[00:38:17.270]deep in the Northern Plains at the Killdeer Mountain.
[00:38:21.210]And when the civil war ended
[00:38:22.830]the US government quickly determined
[00:38:25.060]that they had to be two reconstructions.
[00:38:27.990]One to reform the Confederate South
[00:38:30.380]and the other to pacify the indigenous West.
[00:38:33.950]From US perspective, the type of sovereign native nations
[00:38:37.410]was over more pointedly,
[00:38:40.080]the time of Lakota rule in the West was over.
[00:38:44.150]The United States had emerged
[00:38:45.130]from the civil war as an empire
[00:38:47.700]and its officials now meant to govern
[00:38:49.635]not negotiate with Indians.
[00:38:53.380]This was the context for the Powder River War
[00:38:55.810]and the so-called Fetterman massacre.
[00:38:58.130]The United States worst defeat going it's long Indian Wars.
[00:39:02.610]Lakotas had repeatedly warned the Americans
[00:39:05.230]that they wouldn't allow any military forts in their lands.
[00:39:09.020]And when the army ignored the mandate
[00:39:11.400]and started building Fort in the Powder River country,
[00:39:14.240]the Lakota empire snapped into action.
[00:39:19.230]Galvanized by Red Cloud
[00:39:20.790]who had announced that killing Americans
[00:39:22.558]had become as valuable as killing native enemies,
[00:39:26.060]Lakotas eliminated being (mumbles)
[00:39:27.970]army swiftly and clinically
[00:39:31.620]Red Cloud held off signing a peace treaty
[00:39:34.730]until army dismantled it's last fort
[00:39:37.290]in the Powder River country.
[00:39:39.630]United States had lost a war
[00:39:42.169]and 1868 treaty of Fort Laramie.
[00:39:46.642]In addition to the great Sioux reservation itself,
[00:39:50.870]article 11, recognized Lakota hunting rights
[00:39:54.880]all the way South to the Republican Valley
[00:39:57.982]and article 16 gave them a massive unceded territory
[00:40:01.590]without specifying it's known (mumbles)
[00:40:03.930]effectively leaving the door open
[00:40:06.078]for Lakota expansion all the way into Canada
[00:40:09.064]which they promptly date.
[00:40:11.910]This newest version of the Lakota America
[00:40:15.410]was a colossal creation
[00:40:17.370]covering nearly 400,000 square miles.
[00:40:21.170]The empire received traders
[00:40:22.800]both Canadian and Americans from all directions
[00:40:25.670]and it commanded a vast trading domain
[00:40:28.090]that yielded massive forces.
[00:40:29.710]These also blocked railways construction
[00:40:33.256]and bikes detention United States
[00:40:35.710]westward expansion in its tracks.
[00:40:40.530]Contemporary Americans did not have maps like this.
[00:40:43.610]Nothing indigenous power systems
[00:40:46.340]were simply beyond their comprehension
[00:40:48.840]because they still saw Indians as primitive people
[00:40:53.180]capable of large scale geopolitical maneuvering.
[00:40:57.010]United States army misread the situation
[00:41:00.380]with devastating consequences.
[00:41:02.196]In 1874, Custer led the Black Hills expedition to Paha Sapa
[00:41:08.220]in order to build a new military fort
[00:41:10.400]to protect railway construction
[00:41:13.310]but the expedition found traces of gold
[00:41:17.020]triggering a rush
[00:41:18.570]and Paha Sapa was soon teaming with perspectors.
[00:41:23.000]One empire had invaded the vital center of the other
[00:41:26.670]forcing a grotesque imbalance.
[00:41:29.550]Lakotas and Americans
[00:41:31.360]had co existed in the Northern Plains for decades,
[00:41:34.040]but from now on,
[00:41:35.020]they found it overwhelmingly difficult.
[00:41:39.710]Thousands of Lakotas already lived at agencies
[00:41:42.950]pushed there by shrinking bison herds
[00:41:45.180]and drawn by government annuity.
[00:41:47.919]This is a Red Cloud agency in Northwest Nebraska
[00:41:52.143]and the US agents believed
[00:41:54.410]that they had managed to separate
[00:41:56.600]the hostiles from the friendlies breaking the solidarity
[00:42:00.180]of the Lakota people.
[00:42:01.830]They had not.
[00:42:03.570]Lakota leaders sent runners to
[00:42:05.750]call golden warriors from all agencies
[00:42:08.770]and the hostile friend that economy melted away
[00:42:11.820]as the outboard but divided Lakota nations
[00:42:14.530]snapped into collective action.
[00:42:17.000]Behind it emerged once more the Lakota empire.
[00:42:21.423]Lakotas had shifted shape
[00:42:24.220]executing a massive national mobilization
[00:42:27.510]but the Americans had missed it.
[00:42:29.970]Custer and his seven were already doomed.
[00:42:36.420]desks in the Roseburg Creek
[00:42:38.830]and Sitting Bull gave flesh
[00:42:40.760]predicting a galvanizing victory.
[00:42:44.070]The Lakotas and the Cheyenne and the Arapaho allies
[00:42:46.600]moved up the Little Bighorn.
[00:42:48.232]As battles go,
[00:42:50.170]the Little Bighorn was face-to-face
[00:42:53.890]uncontrollable, and largely improvised
[00:42:56.690]because the Lakotas and their allies
[00:42:58.764]they were simply better at it
[00:43:02.130]and then you went to.
[00:43:03.360]Custer and his men reacted
[00:43:05.450]to native maneuvers rather than executing they all.
[00:43:09.329]And it was Crazy Horse not Custar
[00:43:12.386]who executed a single tactical maneuver
[00:43:14.760]riding nearly a mile downstream with a band of soldiers
[00:43:18.010]out finding the enemy and reducing them sitting ducks.
[00:43:23.560]What happened was not this.
[00:43:27.260]It was more like this.
[00:43:30.780]Thank you very much.
[00:43:32.320]Can you share a little bit on what you learned
[00:43:34.853]while researching the Lakota people that surprised you?
[00:43:38.450]I think the most surprising thing
[00:43:42.530]was how central the Lakotas
[00:43:45.540]and the Oceti Sakowinss sewer lines.
[00:43:51.175]So, you know, in the 1600, 1700s
[00:43:55.630]they were already a central protagonist there
[00:43:58.230]at that time living in the Western
[00:44:01.825]of the great lakes.
[00:44:05.900]And, they were absolutely essential
[00:44:09.809]political and diplomatic actors in that region already.
[00:44:16.922]I mean, usually we kind of think
[00:44:20.500]that the Lakota and the Sioux
[00:44:24.570]kind of just explode on the scene
[00:44:27.015]during the Indian Wars in the late 19th century,
[00:44:32.170]but their dominance goes much, much further back
[00:44:38.611]which kind of explains much better
[00:44:42.521]you know, in a way why the Lakotas
[00:44:44.480]were able to humiliate a United States army.
[00:44:47.630]So, you know, over and over again,
[00:44:50.130]it was because you know they had had
[00:44:53.564]generations and generations of experience
[00:44:57.700]how to deal with colonial powers
[00:45:00.270]and how to cut them in size.
[00:45:02.450]And the United States, they had competed
[00:45:05.627]with the British, with the French, with the Spanish
[00:45:07.892]diminishing them and the United States
[00:45:11.650]it's just one more
[00:45:17.540]to educate and if necessary, punish and subjugate.
[00:45:23.260]What do you hope that people take away from this book?
[00:45:27.514]That's a good question.
[00:45:31.647]I think the most important thing
[00:45:33.200]is that the sort of the resilience of the Lakota people
[00:45:36.930]and the creativity of the Lakota people, the ability
[00:45:41.814]to adopt a new mindset
[00:45:54.160]innovatively move from war to diplomacy and back again
[00:45:58.980]you know, I mean,
[00:45:59.813]their foreign policy and they had a foreign policy.
[00:46:04.770]That's the critical thing.
[00:46:06.020]It's, not sort of foreign policy,
[00:46:08.900]is not research for colonial powers.
[00:46:10.310]Like I would've said very robust
[00:46:12.600]and systematic foreign policy
[00:46:14.440]which is very subtle, very nimble
[00:46:17.677]and allowing them to wrong foot a colonial power.
[00:46:22.880]or United States a government agency, again, and again.
[00:46:29.480]That's one of the creativity and resiliency and adaptability
[00:46:33.965]which we just, you know, basically
[00:46:37.985]the Americans could not read the Lakota system
[00:46:44.310]and that's why they were always kind of wrong footage
[00:46:48.510]and a couple of steps behind the Lakotas all the way.
[00:46:52.760]All the way to the Little Bighorn.
[00:46:54.560]Do you share how someone with your background
[00:46:58.300]a finished professor
[00:46:59.570]that works at the university of Oxford
[00:47:01.243]became fascinated with Northern native American culture
[00:47:05.864]enough that, you know it's become part of your life's work?
[00:47:10.030]It is my life work.
[00:47:11.210]I, you know, I have to say
[00:47:12.535]it's because I came to Nebraska and there was John Wandra
[00:47:20.080]there was David showed up
[00:47:23.680]and they took me under their wing
[00:47:29.421]and they introduced me to this
[00:47:32.188]called new Indian history.
[00:47:34.090]I had never heard of it.
[00:47:37.764]And so they introduced me to that,
[00:47:40.843]that really exciting revolution in the field.
[00:47:47.130]And I had been, I was caught immediately by it
[00:47:51.290]and I'm still at it and will probably you know
[00:47:55.150]be at at until the end of my days.
[00:47:58.410]How have the Lakota people responded to your book?
[00:48:07.237]I would say it's mixed
[00:48:11.320]you know, a lot of people have appreciate it
[00:48:15.280]and some people are more critical.
[00:48:21.869]There's been criticism
[00:48:23.100]about the use of empire in Lakota context.
[00:48:28.890]That's something I perhaps
[00:48:33.940]should have explained more clearly in the book.
[00:48:39.600]What I mean by Lakotas
[00:48:42.353]as empire builders,
[00:48:46.814]and so basically Lakotas built an empire
[00:48:53.510]just divide colonialism.
[00:48:56.060]And that's the big lesson lesson, I think.
[00:49:02.017]And they had to do that
[00:49:04.030]because the United States power and dominance
[00:49:10.871]was so well
[00:49:11.704]that the Lakotas needed to reinvent themselves
[00:49:14.380]as an Imperial people to fight off and survive.
[00:49:20.010]And that should have been more clear in the book,
[00:49:24.680]but, you know this is how it goes.
[00:49:29.813]This is a scholarship, you know, it's one step at a time,
[00:49:32.270]you know there's criticism then you react
[00:49:34.520]and modify your interpretations.
[00:49:40.030]In the next book about this I'm writing now,
[00:49:42.900]Lakotas will make an appearance that incorporate that stuff.
[00:49:49.520]If people wanna find out more about your work,
[00:49:51.550]where should they go?
[00:49:53.060]Well, I've written two books now
[00:49:57.962]and I co authored a textbook American history textbook
[00:50:03.350]but then there's quite a few articles about my work.
[00:50:10.690]Dr. Pekka Hámáláinen
[00:50:12.660]Thank you for joining us today.
[00:50:13.940]And we appreciate your sharing your knowledge on this topic.
[00:50:18.315]Thank you so much for having me.
[00:50:20.150]This was a blast.
[00:50:23.360]We'd like to thank Dr. Hámáláinen
[00:50:25.130]for speaking with us
[00:50:26.100]for this final Olson talk of the semester.
[00:50:28.990]We'll be back in January, 2021
[00:50:31.110]with more Great Plains anywhere.
[00:50:33.520]Find all of our short, great Plains talks and interviews
[00:50:36.460]as videos and podcasts at go.unl.edu/gp lectures.
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