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'They Called Me Uncivilized' Nov. 10

November 8, 2010

Walter Littlemoon shares his memories about his time in a U.S. government Indian boarding school because he knows that people living on reservations across the continent still suffer. 'I want them to know it's possible to be free, to gain contentment, and feel like a human being,' he says. Littlemoon and his wife, Jane Ridgway, will speak at CSU on Wednesday, Nov. 10.

Wednesday, Nov. 10
1 p.m.
Eddy Building, Room 5

Walter Littlemoon, a member of the Oglala Sioux tribe and author of the book, They Called Me Uncivilized: The Memoir of a Lakota Man from Wounded Knee, will speak with his wife, Jane Ridgway, in an anthropology class at 1 p.m. Nov. 10 in Room 5 of Eddy Hall on campus.

The event is free and open to the public. An open discussion will follow the presentation.

The couple will focus their presentation on ways of knowing nature. Littlemoon begins his book, They Called me Uncivilized with an account of how nature -- such as an ancient tree, a hawk, and the colorful backdrop surrounding them -- spoke to him and led him on a path to healing. "It is with the help of the Tree and my wife, Jane, that I share my journey with you," he says.

Survivor of cruelty, trauma

As a child, Littlemoon was taken away from his family by the U.S. government and enrolled in boarding school. In his book, he recounts his experiences with sanctioned prejudice and institutionalization. He offers a firsthand account of the cruelty inflicted upon generations of Native American children through the implementation of government boarding schools.

Pupils at the first Indian boarding school in the U.S. (Pennsylvania). Littlemoon was forced to live at a U.S. government boarding school in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.

It is well known that, in the years following European colonization, Native American tribes were disrupted and destroyed through war and expropriation of land and property.

However, it is not generally known that native cultures also were subverted in more subtle, psychological ways well into the 20th century. Littlemoon and Ridgway work to bring light to issues surrounding this topic through lectures, books and documentaries.

Moving words

Littlemoon's book contains a vivid, heartfelt, and moving account of his experiences and how they crippled him emotionally. 

In the end, the book is a sharing of his work to heal his soul after being taken from his family and culture at the age of five and being subjected to arbitrary and systematic physical and psychological abuse.

They called me Indian, Sioux, savage, and uncivilized.  I am a human being.  I am Lakota.  Like thousands of others, my life was turned upside down through the turmoil forced upon me by a U.S. government system designed to destroy my culture.  My life has been spent trying to recover, with the help of the Creator and the strength of the moral courage I inherited.

I am an everyday Lakota man.  I live in the small community of Wounded Knee, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.  I am sharing my life's story to show others how I am healing my mind and heart from the depths of hell..."

~ from Littlemoon's memoir, They Called me Uncivilized

The talk is sponsored by CSU’s Department of Anthropology.

They Called Me Uncivilized is published by iUniverse Inc. and available at most bookstores. For more information, contact Kathleen Sherman at or (970) 491-5962.

Contact: Kathleen Sherman
Phone: (970) 491-5962