Discussion Questions for “The Sun-Dance of the Sioux” Summarize what the author says about selecting the sun-pole. Summarize what happened on the second day with the warriors and the sun-pole. Imagine that you were one of the young men who took part in the sun dance ritual. If someone outside the Sioux tribe asked you why you were willing to torture yourself and endure the ritual, what do you think you would say? Do you think the author has mostly positive, mostly negative, or basically neutral feelings about the sun dance ritual? Why? Answers The selection of the sun-pole is done by the oldest woman in the camp. In this case, the straightest pine within a reasonable distance was chosen. The women then strip the tree of its branches and clear the space around it to make it ready for the ceremony. Before sunrise on the second day young warriors waited, five to six hundred miles from the pole, for the announcement of the sunrise. When the signal came, the warriors charged towards the sun-pole, when reaching within one hundred yards, arrows and bullets were directed at the pole. When they were finished they crowded around the pole and shouted. I would probably say that it is part of the Sun-Dance and an honor to be able to take part in. It is a precious tradition that is not obligatory and only needs to happen once in a lifetime, so to take part in it is respectable and admirable. I would say that the author is generally very negative in how he refers to the people themselves and their rituals. He often calls them savages and barbaric and he greatly questions their ceremony. He refers to it as “barbarous rites and ceremonies of cruelty and self-torture,” clearly showing his lack of objectivity. Obviously, witnessing the Sun-Dance is very unlike anything he has experienced before and it is hard for him to understand or appreciate.