Cover image for Grandpa was a cowboy & an Indian and other stories
Grandpa was a cowboy & an Indian and other stories
Sneve, Virginia Driving Hawk.
Publication Information:
Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
ix, 116 pages ; 21 cm
1. Generations. The medicine bag -- The twelve moons -- Clean hands -- The Slim Butte ghost -- Jimmy Yellow Hawk -- Grandpa was a cowboy and an Indian ; 2. Long ago. The first Christmas -- Fool soldiers ; 3. Legends. Sun gazer -- Takoza said "goo" -- The Tribe of the Burnt Thigh -- The white buffalo calf woman -- The speck in the sky -- Badlands bones -- The flower nation -- All the time in the world.

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"'Grandpa,' I quietly asked, 'how come when you talk about the past, you say you were a cowboy and an Indian?' I sensed the regret in his short laugh when he answered, 'Cause I was both and both ways are gone forever.'"

With great imagination and vigor, award-winning Lakota storyteller Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve treats readers to a collection of her best stories. She first spins tales of Lakota and Dakota generations today, of what the youngest can learn from their elders, if they choose to listen. The second group of stories, set in the turbulent and tragic years of the nineteenth century, teaches the need for understanding across cultures. The collection ends with spellbinding ancient Sioux tales about the birth of the universe, the deeds of legendary beings, and an unforgettable story about Old Woman, whose quill work maps out the end of the world.

Author Notes

Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve is the author of twenty books and numerous short stories and essays about Native American life and culture. Her memoir Completing the Circle (Nebraska 1995) won the North American Indian Prose Award, and she is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Sneve, a Lakota storyteller raised on a Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota, blends history and folklore in this brief collection. In part one, "Generations," children, gently guided by loving parents and grandparents, are schooled in Native American traditions: a girl is taught the meaning of the seasons, a boy is challenged to capture an elusive white stallion, and a grandfather tells of his life as both cowboy and Indian. In the second segment, "Long Ago," set in the late 1800s, boarding-school children celebrate their first Christmas, and young warriors rescue white women and children held captive by a rival tribe. The final group of tales, "Legends," brings together Sioux creation stories, including the flight of the eagle, the origin of sunflowers, and the formation of the Badlands. Most of these stories, particularly in the first and last sections, are based on strong oral traditions and would be perfect for reading aloud. With deceptively simple language and effective imagery, the tales will bring Native American traditions and values to twenty-first-century readers. Candace Smith