Voices from Pejuhutazizi
Dakota Stories and Storytellers
Teresa Peterson, Walter LaBatte Jr
Through five generations at Pejuhutazizi K'api, The Place Where They Dig the Yellow Medicine, the family of Tasina Susbeca Win has told stories—stories of events from long ago, stories from their own lives, cultural stories, and oral history from 1862 and before. These stories bring people together, transmit traditions, teach how to behave, and deliver heroes (especially those who do not appear in school or history books). They reconcile, providing opportunity to make things right, and they reveal place, as this land we walk on is full of narrative and significance; they entertain, bringing delight to listeners. Finally, stories provide belonging, as they offer connections and nurture humanity.
Tasina Susbeca Win, known as Susbe, was probably born in the 1850s. She told stories to her son-in-law, Fred Pearsall, in the 1910s; Fred wrote them down for his daughters in the 1950s. Susbe’s great-grandson Walter LaBatte grew up at Pejuhutazizi (also known as the Upper Sioux Community) in the 1950s, listening to elders and remembering their stories—and then lived his own adventures and became a storyteller. This stunning collection of stories is gathered here by Fred’s great-grandaughter Teresa Peterson, who tells her own story of listening, learning, and belonging.