Ella C. Deloria (1889-1971), a member of the Yankton Sioux tribe, was
brought up in South Dakota on the Standing Rock Reservation. A native
speaker of Lakota, she received her Bachelor of Science degree from
Columbia Teachers' College in 1915. While in New York she met the
anthropologist Franz Boas and served as a consultant on the Lakota
language in Boas's class on field linguistics. After graduating she worked
in the field of American Indian education. In 1927 she began linguistic
and ethnological work on Lakota under Boas's supervision. From 1928
through 1938 Deloria devoted most of her time to documenting Lakota
language and culture. One outcome of that work was Dakota Grammar (Boas
and Deloria 1941), now a classic in American Indian linguistics. Another
important product was a collection of some 117 Lakota language texts that
Deloria wrote down, with word-for-word and free translations. She
published 63 of them (Dakota Texts, 1932); the remainder, more than half
of the collection, remain unpublished and are archived with the Boas
Collection in the Library of the American Philosophical Society (APS),
AISRI Lakota Linguistic Text
From 1999 to 2002 the National Endowment for the Humanities funded the
"Lakota Texts" project with a grant to Raymond J. DeMallie and colleagues
at the American Indian Studies Research Institute, Indiana University
(Collaborative Research grant number RZ-20438-99). The project sought to
transcribe, translate, and annotate historical Lakota texts. Dr. Douglas
R. Parks provided overall linguistic direction to the project. Dr. Paul
Kroeber worked on linguistic annotation. Dr. Wallace Hooper provided the
software applications and oversaw computer work.
The unpublished texts of Ella Deloria were the major focus of the grant.
The entire collection was transcribed in ATP (Annotated Text Processor), a
utility designed by Dr. Hooper. Dr. Kroeber provided word and morpheme
glosses. This body of texts makes available to scholars at large a vast
store of linguistic, historical, and cultural information. A
representative sample of these texts, including each of the major textual
genres, is presented on this website.
We are grateful to NEH for supporting the project and to Indiana
University, whose research office (now the Office of the Vice Provost for
Research) provided additional monetary and infrastructural support.
Raymond J. DeMallie
List of Texts
They amount to approximately 350 pages, in .pdf format. A PDF reader, such
as Adobe Reader
Reader must be installed to view the texts.
Geo. Schmidt’s Vision Experience.
The Buffalo People.
An old-time custom, at meals.
A typical "kidding" between brothers-in-law.
Origin of the name "Oglala".
Speech at a Thanksgiving Feast.
List of Grammatical Abbreviations
Glossing of Ella Deloria's unpublished
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