This thesis is an analysis of the healing and honoring ceremonies practiced by Oglala Lakota veterans on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. After a brief history of the Lakota people, Indians in the military, and the reservation, I discuss contemporary reasons that have led some Lakota men and women to join the service.
I then focus on the healing and honoring ceremonies that many veterans participate in, and how these practices have helped them reintegrate to society. These practices include the use of the sweat lodge, Sun Dance, Pow Wows, horseback riding, the Native American Church, music, and Wiping of the Tears ceremony. I argue that the practice and participation of these ceremonies and rituals help veterans heal mentally, physically, and spiritually from the stress of being in the military and/or combat. Additionally, I believe the continued use of these practices allows Lakota veterans to maintain ties to their culture through speaking the Lakota language, bonding with other veterans and community members, and passing traditions on to younger generations.