Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Research17:2 (Fall 2007). Copyright ©2007 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Identity everywhere is complicated, but, in my experience, nowhere as complicated as on the contemporary Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. This book is about one family "down East" in the small town of Allen, South Dakota, just over the Bennett County line. Petrillo does not seek to give an exhaustive picture of identity on Pine Ridge, focusing instead primarily on one married couple, Melda and Lupe Trejo and their narrative of their life together. Their lives are not necessarily emblematic of all the residents of Pine Ridge, but illustrate the ways in which personal, family, and religious identities are intertwined, flexible, and syncretic. Melda is from an old Pine Ridge family, while Lupe, a Mexican man, identifies closely with his Aztec roots-his Indian ones-knowing that for him one drop of Indian blood is significant.