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Two Worlds.png

Evocative of changing times, this image depicts two young Lakota members of the Sioux Nation dressed in western style clothing. Possibly husband and wife or - to my eye - brother and sister, they
represent the end of the traditional way of life for Native Americans - an end that began in 1492.

The reverse side of the photograph bears a very faint pencil inscription that supposedly states that two young people were the adopted children of a local minister. The inscription is unreadable
even under enhancement so the veracity of this possibility cannot, unfortunately, be confirmed.

In an attempt to place this photograph into a larger historical context I contacted the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center located in Chamberlain but received a reply stating that they had no information that they could share that might have shed light on the subjects in the photo.

I have considered the possibility that both may have been students at one of the Indian Schools which were established to "educate" Native American children and young adults in the ways of white culture, language, and society usually at the expense of their own. I have not found any reference to such a school in the vicinity of Chamberlain during this photograph's time period.

Perhaps a clue to the identity of these young people lies with the distinctive pin or badge that the seated man wears on his lapel. Quatrefoil in design and resembling a Civil War-era corps badge may represent a school, church, or other institution to which they may have belonged.

Until more information comes to light this image will remain an anonymous and poignant reminder of the passing of not just the frontier but of a very ancient and rich way of life.

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