Published on October 19, 2010 by John
Horse-mounted Indians, wearing long eagle-feathered warbonnets and fringed leather clothing with colorful beadwork, ride across the grasslands of the Great Plains. They hunt buffalo. They ﬁght the cavalry. They sit in council inside painted tipis, wearing buffalo robes and smoking long-stemmed peace pipes. These images of Indians have been shown to us again and again, in books, movies and television shows about the West. These images, more likely than not, depict the Sioux, more properly referred to by the Native name Dakota, Lakota, or Nakota. Two of the most famous incidents in Indian and American history—Custer’s Last Stand (also called the Battle of Little Bighorn) and Wounded Knee—involved the Sioux. The numerous Sioux fought many other battles against the U.S. army on the northern plains. Some of the most famous Indian ﬁghters in history, such as Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, and Crazy Horse, were Sioux. And one of the most famous incidents in recent Indian history occurred on a Sioux reservation, again at Wounded Knee.
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Branches of Sioux
The Sioux are really made up of different groups with varying histories and customs. In studying the Sioux, the ﬁrst challenge is to learn the various names and locations of the different bands. Siouan was a widespread Indian language family.Tribes in many parts of North America spoke Siouan dialects. The tribal name Sioux, pronounced SUE, is applied only to a speciﬁc division of Siouan-speaking people, however. The name is derived from the French version of a CHIPPEWA (OJIBWAY) word in the Algonquian language. The Chippewa tribe called their enemies Nadouessioux for “adders,” a kind of snake. The Sioux also are known collectively (especially in Canada) as the Dakota (pronounced da-KO-tah), from which has come the names of two U.S. states, North and South Dakota. In the Siouan language, Dakota (or Lakota or Nakota) means “allies.” There were four ancestral branches of Sioux, with different bands in each. The largest branch was the Teton (or Titonwan), with the following bands: (1) Oglala; (2) Brulé (Sicangu); (3) Hunkpapa; (4)Miniconjou; (5)Oohenonpa (Two Kettle); (6) Itazipco (Sans Arcs); and (7) Sihasapa. A second branch was the Santee, with the following bands: (1) Sisseton; (2) Wahpeton: (3) Wahpekute; and (4) Mdewakanton. (The term Santee used historically more accurately applies to just the Wahpekute and Mdewakan SINKIUSE. See COLUMBIA (SINKIUSE) SIOUX (Dakota, Lakota, Nakota) A Sioux war chief, a familiar image of the Plains Indian (as represented on a cigarette silk, distributed in metal tins of cigarettes in the early 1900s) Sioux wooden horse efﬁgy with real horsehairSIOUX 269 ton groups, not Sisseton and Wahpeton as well. In any case, all four are considered distinct dialect groups.) A third branch was the Yankton (or Ihanktonwan),with only one band, the Yankton. A fourth branch was the Yanktonai (or Ihanktonwanna), with the following bands: (1) Yanktonai; (2) Hunkpatina; and (3) Assiniboine. The ASSINIBOINE separated from their relatives and are discussed under their own entry. The Teton use the Lakota version of the tribal name;the Santee say Dakota; and the Yankton and Yanktonai use Nakota. The Teton, Yankton, Yanktonai, and four Santee groups also called themselves the Oceti Sakowin, or “Seven Council Fixes.” The Sioux originally lived as Woodland Indians along the upper Mississippi River. It is known from early records of Jesuit explorers of the 1600s that the Sioux once dominated territory that now comprises the southern two-thirds of Minnesota, as well as nearby parts of Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota. By the mid-1700s,some Sioux were migrating westward toward and across the Missouri River. The reason: Their traditional enemies, the Chippewa, were now armed with French guns, making warfare with them much more dangerous. Moreover, with the European demand for furs, game in the Sioux’s prairie country was becoming scarcer. The Teton Lakota migrated the farthest west to the Black Hills region of what is now western South Dakota, eastern Wyoming, and eastern Montana. They sometimes also are called the Western Sioux. The Yankton Nakota settled along the Missouri River in what is now southeastern South Dakota, as well as in southwestern Minnesota and northwestern Iowa. The Yanktonai Nakota settled to their north along the Missouri in what is now eastern North and South Dakota. The Yankton and Yanktonai are sometimes referred to together as the Middle Sioux. The Santee Dakota stayed along the Minnesota River in what is now Minnesota. They therefore are referred to as the Eastern Sioux.
Source: ENCYCLOPEDIA OF NATIVE AMERICAN TRIBES by CARL WALDMAN