Acculturation of the Dakota Indians

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Malan, Vernon D.
South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station
Rural Sociology
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In this pamphlet the process of acculturation among the Dakota Indians--the change which has taken place in Dakota culture as a result of contact with the dominant Caucasian society--has been analyzed. We may conclude from this study that in general culture change was most likely to occur among the Dakotas when the new culture elements satisfied some basic or secondary drive of the people. Culture change was likewise dependent upon the manner in which the new ideas were introduced to them. If the changes were attempted through coercion, they were not so readily accepted as those made voluntarily. The policies of the traders, missionaries, government agents, and agriculturalists were investigated to determine the extent of enforced and permissive acculturation. Enforced acculturation was usually accompanied by resistance to change. The disruption of family patterns, the loss of the means of subsistence, and the social disorganization of Dakota society were the most evident result of the acculturation process