How did the First Americans end up last in America?

From Dog to Wolf

A Native American Story

From Dog to Wolf is the story of Daniel Graywolf, an Oglala Lakota teen struggling to survive on the impoverished Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Shy and a loner, young Daniel escapes the drama of life there by wandering the creek beds and washed-out roads in search of specimens for his rock collection; a practice that has earned him the regrettable nickname “Rock Dog.” One day he meets Dr. Robert Timberland, a geology professor from the nearby university. Together they solve the mystery of an important find Daniel has made while searching ancestral lands near the reservation. With the help and wisdom of tribal elders, they devise a plan that brings about the long-deserved restitution for his Sioux ancestors. To succeed will require considerably more of Daniel than just human resolve.

The European settlers looked over the land and asked, “What are my rights?”

The Native Americans looked over the land and ask, “What are our obligations?”

How can the eyes of two people see the same land so differently?


From Dog to Wolf is the story of an Oglala Lakhota (aka Sioux People) family struggling to survive on the troubled Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota. The story depicts everyday life for Sally Graywolf, known to all as Grandmother, and her two grandsons growing up and living on an Indian reservation. Anyone who has ever visited Pine Ridge would describe it as a third-world country located right in the middle of the United States of America.

I started out reading a few lines of the book and was drawn into the story because it began to take me on a journey back into my own childhood. I was fortunate to have known both of my grandparents on my mother’s side. They took care of me, my older sister, and my two younger brothers for a time when we were children. I say fortunate because they had strong traditional Oglala Lakhota values and taught us the Lakhota language of our ancestors. My grandparents didn’t drink alcohol and practiced the ancient Lakhota ceremonies. To be raised by your grandparents is becoming more common in our present day Lakhota society, with a vast majority of parents caught up in alcoholism and drugs.

The social ills of living life in third world conditions are still prevalent in 2020. Not much has changed since my childhood days and I have seen the world take sixty-one revolutions around the sun so far. This book, From Dog to Wolf, is an accurate depiction of reservation life and it demonstrates that opportunities in life occur that can change the world for the good.

Warren “Guss” Yellow Hair

This is the story of Daniel Graywolf, a Lakota Sioux teenager, struggling to survive on the impoverished Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Shy, and a loner mostly by choice, Daniel escapes the everyday drama of life there by wandering the creek beds and washed-out roads in search of specimens for his unremarkable rock collection. On the rez, Daniel is known to all as Little Rock Dog.

I grew up in Fresno, California, as the youngest in a family of five. My father, who was part Cherokee, was a successful doctor and cattle rancher. Whether he was embarrassed or ashamed of his ancestry I will never know, but he never spoke of it and I never met my paternal grandparents to ask. I went searching for that missing part of my family history, and after four years of research discovered a story about our nation and its treatment of Native Americans that needs to be told. That story is From Dog to Wolf.

The president continued, “I hardly think there’s a tribe out there that wants to stake their claim on how treaty negotiations have gone for them over the last 150 years.”

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