Book: Cosmology and Moral Community in the Lakota Sun Dance

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Drawing on Indigenous methodologies, this book uses a close analysis of James R. Walker’s 1917 monograph on the Lakota Sun Dance to explore how the Sun Dance communal ritual complex – the most important Lakota ceremony – creates moral community, providing insights into the cosmology and worldview of Lakota tradition.

The book uses Walker’s primary source to conduct a reading of the Sun Dance in its nineteenth-century context through the lenses of Lakota metaphysics, cosmology, ontology, and ethics. The author argues that the Sun Dance constitutes a cosmic ethical drama in which persons of all types – human and nonhuman – come together in reciprocal actions and relationships. Drawing on contemporary animist theory and a perspectivist approach that uses Lakota worldview assumptions as the basis for analysis, the book enables a richer understanding of the Sun Dance and its role in the Lakota moral world.

Offering a nuanced understanding that centers Lakota views of the sacred, this book will be relevant to scholars of religion and animism, and all those interested in Native American cultures and lifeways.


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Additional Info

Fritz Dewiler
Book Details:
Hardcover, 143 pages, published 2022