Voices From Pejuhutazizi
Dakota Stories and Storytellers
Authors Teresa Peterson and Walter LaBatte Jr.
Minnesota Historical Society Press (January 18, 2022)
A rich trove of stories told by five generations of a Dakota family.
Through five generations at Pejuhutazizi (the place where they dig the yellow medicine), Teresa Peterson's family members have listened to and told stories: stories of events, migrations, and relationships in Dakota history, and stories that carry Dakota culture through tales, legends, and myths.
In the 1910s, Waŋbdiṡka (Fred Pearsall) made notes on stories he heard from Dakota elders, including his mother-in-law, at the Upper Sioux Community in Mni Sota Makoce—Minnesota. In the 1950s, when he wrote them down in a letter to his daughters, his young grandson Waṡicuŋhdinażiŋ (Walter "Super" LaBatte Jr.) was already listening and learning from his family's elders and other members of the community. And then that grandson grew up to become a storyteller.
Teresa Peterson, the great-granddaughter of Fred and the niece of Super, has her own story of finding identity to tell. In this book, she has worked with her uncle to present their family's precious collection. These stories bring people together, impart values and traditions, deliver heroes, reconcile, reveal place, and entertain. Finally, as they bring delight to listeners, they provide belonging and nurture humanity.
"This heartfelt collection of stories follows the great tradition of oral storytellers, as it brings history to life with vivid details, reminds us of our shared humanity, and entertains while offering profound insights into Dakota culture and experience. This book is a rare and generous gift from a family of storytellers as they honor their responsibility to share these stories with future generations.”
Diane Wilson, author of Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past and The Seed Keeper: A Novel
From long ago: “The bear was too close at hand to think of running away, and so the hunter thought to do his best and hold his own. . . . Suddenly, the bear’s attention was attracted to something a few feet back from the water. Then the hunter noticed a slight hillock just back from the shore, and a skunk stood there facing the bear.” — Waŋbdiska / Fred Pearsall
From the 1970s: “My cousins and I rode horses up and down the deer and people trails, bringing them to the creek to quench their thirst. . . . As long as we ate our egg-and-Spam sandwiches and were back by the evening, we could be feral children, exploring the hills and valleys along the Minnesota River.” — Utuhu Caŋ Cistiŋna / Teresa Peterson
Teresa Peterson is an educator, tribal planner, and writer. She is Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota and a member of the Upper Sioux Community.
Walter LaBatte Jr. is an artist who tans hides, makes drums, beads moccasins, and prepares paṡdayapi. He is Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota and a member of the Upper Sioux Community.
- This title is also available at your favorite e-book vendor.
- 224 pages
- 6x9 inches
- ISBN: 9781681341842