Waterlily is a book on Dakota existence, as it seems, right before contact with Euro
Americans; it does not speak of Europeans until the later half of the book. This book
gave me insight to an aspect of customs and ceremonial practice from a Dakota
viewpoint. From this outlook I acquired first hand knowledge from a female’s position
which sparked my interest aptly from the beginning.
The correlation between community members association in any open approach was
taboo. Bluebird set precedence to the kinship rule of avoidance in keeping her silence
when her horse was being led by her Father-in-law, even though she was in the worst
discomfort an expectant mother could ever imagine, she kept her composure until he gave
the reigns to her Mother in-law. Even then, she kept her voice low-key concerning her
situation of the necessity to dismount from her horse.
The essence extracted from Bluebirds self-control was adamant. It was a highlight of
many customs revealed by Ella Deloria in this book. The descriptiveness of Bluebird’s
circumstances of going into labor and giving birth gave deeper context to the sacrament
of childbirth. For instance, after Bluebird gave birth she seen all of the white water lilies
surrounding her and her baby so she bellowed her joy and excitement of all the beauty, I
related to the euphoria she felt as she gazed at the beautiful lilies in which Waterlily was
subsequently named. This often happens after the painstaking labor of childbirth to many of
Bluebird’s first marriage to Star Elk was an unpleasant one right from the start. Her
Grandmother’s worst fear came true about a devious, underhanded man taking advantage of
Bluebird and so it was. He was a tormented man who continually imagined his wife
encouraging other men to desire her. So finally being the cranky jerk he was, he didn’t care
about keeping his...