This book I have inscribed to my own family. It will be of interest to them, as, in part, a history of their father and mother, in the toils and sacrifices and rewards of commencing and carrying forward the work of evangelizing the Dakota people.
Many others, who are interested in the uplifting of the Red Men, may be glad to obtain glimpses, in these pages, of the inside of Missionary Life in what was, not long since, the Far West; and to trace the threads of the in-weaving of a Christ-life into the lives of many of the Sioux nation.
“Why don’t you tell more about yourselves?” is a question which, in various forms, has been often asked me, during these last four decades. Partly as the answer to questions of that kind, this book assumes somewhat the form of a personal narrative.
While I do not claim, even at this evening time of my life, to be freed from the desire that good Christian readers will think favorably of this effort of mine, I can not expect that the appreciation with which my Dakota Grammar and Dictionary was received, by the literary world, more than a quarter of a century ago, will be surpassed by this humbler effort.
Moreover, the chief work of my life has been the part I have been permitted, by the good Lord, to have in giving the entire Bible to the Sioux Nation. This book is only “the band of the sheaf.” If, by weaving the principal facts of our Missionary work, its trials and joys, its discouragements and grand successes, into this personal narrative of “Mary and I,” a better judgment of Indian capabilities is secured, and a more earnest and intelligent determination to work for their Christianization and final Citizenship, I shall be quite satisfied.
Since the historical close of “Forty years with the Sioux,” some important events have transpired, in connection with our missionary work, which are grouped together in an Appendix, in the form of Monographs.