Many families share stories about their relatives. Some stories have been passed down for generations.
In Ernie LaPointe’s family, those stories are about Sitting Bull, the famous Sioux chief and warrior. LaPointe learned the stories from his mother. Now he is sharing them in a book, “Sitting Bull: His Life and Legacy.”
“It’s an oral history,” LaPointe said.
LaPointe said most information about Sitting Bull is shared by white historians. He wants people to see him through Lakota eyes.
“In Lakota culture, we are all related."
Some Standing Rock Sioux members are not sure of LaPointe's relationship to Sitting Bull, so LaPointe sent in a lock of Sitting Bull's hair for DNA testing. (The hair was given to him by the Smithsonian Museum.) LaPointe saidthat during Sitting Bull's time, such rifts might be solved by banishment. That is impractical in today’s society. He is hoping that all tribal members will make peace.
“We know we are related physically and mentally, but we also have to be related spiritually,” LaPointe said. “We have to reconnect spiritually to come back together and work to be a family again.”
Once the DNA test is done, LaPointe hopes to solve another mystery: whether Sitting Bull’s remains are on the Standing Rock reservation. If they are, the family will follow Lakota burial practices.
“If it’s not him, that is good, because no one will know where he’s at,” LaPointe said
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