THE LAKOTA PEOPLE
THE LAKOTA PEOPLE
The Lakota people (pronounced [laˈkˣota]; also known as Teton, Titunwan ("prairie dwellers"), Teton Sioux ("snake, or enemy") are an indigenous people of the Great Plains of North America. They are part of a confederation of seven related Sioux tribes, the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ or seven council fires, and speak Lakota, one of the three major dialects of the Sioux language.
- Sičháŋǧu (Brulé, Burned Thighs
- Oglála ("They Scatter Their Own")
- Itázipčho (Sans Arc, Without Bows)
- Húŋkpapȟa ("End Village",Camps at the End of the Camp Circle)
- Mnikȟówou ("Plant beside the Stream",Planters by the Water)
- Sihásapa ("Black Feet")
- Oóhenuŋpa (Two Kettles)
- Notable persons include Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake (Sitting Bull) from the Húnkpapȟa band; Touch the Clouds from the Miniconjou band; and, Tȟašúŋke Witkó (Crazy Horse), Maȟpíya Lúta (Red Cloud), Heȟáka Sápa (Black Elk), Siŋté Glešká (Spotted Tail), and Billy Mills from the Oglala band.
Siouan language speakers may have originated in the lower Mississippi River region and then migrated to or originated in the Ohio Valley. They were agriculturalists and may have been part of theMound Builder civilization during the 9th–12th centuries CE. In the late 16th and early 17th centuries, Dakota-Lakota-Nakota speakers lived in the upper Mississippi Region in present day Minnesota,Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Dakotas. Conflicts with Anishnaabe and Cree peoples pushed the Lakota west onto the Great Plains in the mid- to late-17th century.
Early Lakota history is recorded in their Winter counts (Lakota: waníyetu wówapi), pictorial calendars painted on hides or later recorded on paper. The Battiste Good winter count records Lakota history back to 900 CE, when White Buffalo Calf Womangave the Lakota people the White Buffalo Calf Pipe.
Around 1730, Cheyenne people introduced the Lakota to horses,called šuŋkawakaŋ ("dog [of] power/mystery/wonder"). After their adoption of horse culture, Lakota society centered on the buffalo hunt on horseback. The total population of the Sioux (Lakota, Santee, Yankton, and Yanktonai) was estimated at 28,000 by French explorers in 1660. The Lakota population was first estimated at 8,500 in 1805, growing steadily and reaching 16,110 in 1881. The Lakota were, thus, one of the few Indian tribes to increase in population in the 19th century. The number of Lakota has now increased to about 70,000, of whom about 20,500 still speak the Lakota language
After 1720, the Lakota branch of the Seven Council Fires split into two major sects, the Saône who moved to the Lake Traverse area on the South Dakota–North Dakota–Minnesota border, and the Oglála-Sičháŋǧu who occupied the James River valley. However, by about 1750 the Saône had moved to the east bank of the Missouri River, followed 10 years later by the Oglála and Brulé (Sičháŋǧu).
The large and powerful Arikara, Mandan, and Hidatsa villages had long prevented the Lakota from crossing the Missouri. However, the great smallpox epidemic of 1772–1780 destroyed three-quarters of these tribes. The Lakota crossed the river into the drier, short-grass prairies of the High Plains. These newcomers were the Saône, well-mounted and increasingly confident, who spread out quickly. In 1765, a Saône exploring and raiding party led by Chief Standing Bear discovered the Black Hills (the Paha Sapa), then the territory of the Cheyenne. Ten years later, the Oglála and Brulé also crossed the river. In 1776, the Lakota defeated the Cheyenne, who had earlier taken the region from the Kiowa.[ The Cheyenne then moved west to the Powder River country, and the Lakota made the Black Hills their home.
Initial United States contact with the Lakota during the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804–1806 was marked by a standoff. Lakota bands refused to allow the explorers to continue upstream, and the expedition prepared for battle, which never came.Nearly half a century later, after the United States Army had built Fort Laramie without permission on Lakota land, the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 was negotiated to protect travelers on the Oregon Trail. The Cheyenne and Lakota had previously attacked emigrant parties in a competition for resources, and also because some settlers had encroached on their lands. The Fort Laramie Treaty acknowledged Lakota sovereignty over the Great Plains in exchange for free passage on the Oregon Trail for "as long as the river flows and the eagle flies".
The United States government did not enforce the treaty restriction against unauthorized settlement. Lakota and other bands attacked settlers and even emigrant trains, causing public pressure on the US Army to punish the hostiles. On September 3, 1855, 700 soldiers under American General William S. Harney avenged the Grattan Massacre by attacking a Lakota village in Nebraska, killing about 100 men, women, and children. A series of short "wars" followed, and in 1862–1864, as refugees from the "Dakota War of 1862" in Minnesota fled west to their allies in Montana and Dakota Territory. Increasing illegal settlement after the American Civil War caused war once again.
The Black Hills were considered sacred by the Lakota, and they objected to mining. In 1868, the United States signed the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, exempting the Black Hills from all white settlement forever. Four years later gold was discovered there, and prospectors descended on the area.
The attacks on settlers and miners were met by military force conducted by army commanders such as Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer. General Philip Sheridan encouraged his troops to hunt and kill the buffalo as a means of "destroying the Indians' commissary."
The allied Lakota and Arapaho bands and the unified Northern Cheyenne were involved in much of the warfare after 1860. They fought a successful delaying action against General George Crook's army at the Battle of the Rosebud, preventing Crook from locating and attacking their camp, and a week later defeated the U.S. 7th Cavalry in 1876 at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, which the Lakota call the Greasy Grass Fight. Custer attacked a camp of several tribes, much larger than he realized. Their combined forces killed 258 soldiers, wiping out the entire Custer battalion, and inflicting more than 50% casualties on the regiment.
Their victory over the U.S. Army would not last, however. The US Congress authorized funds to expand the army by 2500 men. The reinforced US Army defeated the Lakota bands in a series of battles, finally ending the Great Sioux War in 1877. The Lakota were eventually confined onto reservations, prevented from hunting buffalo and forced to accept government food distribution
- SITTING BULL
Legallyand by treaty a semi-autonomous "nation" within the United States, the Lakota Sioux are represented locally by officials elected to councils for the several reservations and communities in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska. They are represented on the state and national level by the elected officials from the political districts of their respective states and Congressional Districts. Band or reservation members living both on and off the individual reservations are eligible to vote in periodic elections for that reservation. Each reservation has a unique local government style and election cycle based on its own constitution or articles of incorporation. Most follow a multi-member tribal council model with a chairman or president elected directly by the voters.
- The current President of the Oglala Sioux, the majority tribe of the Lakota located primarily on the Pine Ridge reservation, is Theresa Two Bulls.
- The President of the Sičháŋǧu Lakota at the Rosebud reservation is Cyril Scott.
- The Chairman of the Standing Rock reservation, which includes peoples from several Lakota subgroups including the Húŋkpapȟa, is Charles W. Murphy.
- The Chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe at the Cheyenne River reservation, comprising the Mnikȟówou, Itázipčho, Sihá Sápa, and Oóhenuŋpa bands of the Lakota, is Kevin Keckler.
- The Chairman of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, which is home to the Lower Sicangu Lakota, is Michael Jandreau.
Tribal governments have significant leeway, as semi-autonomous political entities, in deviating from state law (e.g. Indian gaming.) They are ultimately subject to supervisory oversight by the United States Congressand executive regulation through the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The nature and legitimacy of those relationships continue to be a matter of dispute.
There are nine bands of Dakota and Lakota in Manitoba and southern Saskatchewan, with a total of 6,000 registered members. They are recognized as First Nations but are not considered "treaty Indians". As First Nations they receive rights and entitlements through the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada department. However as they are not recognized as treaty Indians, they did not participate in the land settlement and natural resource revenues. The Dakota rejected a $60 million land rights settlement in 2008.
In 1877 some of the Lakota bands signed a treaty that ceded the Black Hills to the United States; however, the nature of this treaty and its passage were controversial. The number of Lakota leaders that actually backed the treaty is highly disputed. Low-intensity conflicts continued in the Black Hills.. Fourteen years later, Sitting Bull was killed at Standing Rock reservation on December 15, 1890. The US Army attacked Spotted Elk (aka Bigfoot), Mnicoujou band of Lakota at the Wounded Knee Massacre on December 29, 1890 at Pine Ridge.
Today, the Lakota are found mostly in the five reservations of western South Dakota: Rosebud Indian Reservation (home of the Upper Sičhánǧu or Brulé), Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (home of the Oglála), Lower Brule Indian Reservation (home of the Lower Sičhaŋǧu), Cheyenne River Indian Reservation (home of several other of the seven Lakota bands, including the Mnikȟówou, Itázipčho, Sihásapa and Oóhenumpa), and Standing Rock Indian Reservation (home of the Húŋkpapȟa), also home to people from many bands. Lakota also live on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in northeasternMontana, the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation of northwestern North Dakota, and several small reserves in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Their ancestors fled to "Grandmother's [i.e. Queen Victoria's] Land" (Canada) during the Minnesota or Black Hills War.
Large numbers of Lakota live in Rapid City and other towns in the Black Hills, and in metro Denver. Lakota elders joined the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) to seek protection and recognition for their cultural and land rights.
Beginning in 1974, some Lakota activists have taken steps to become independent from the United States, in an attempt to form their own fully independent nation. These steps have included drafting their own "declaration of continuing independence" and using Constitutional and International Law to solidify their legal standing.
In September 2007, the United Nations passed a non-binding Resolution on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Canada,the United States, Australia and New Zealand refused to sign.
On December 20, 2007, a group of Lakota under the name Lakota Freedom Delegation traveled to Washington D.C. to announce a withdrawal of the Lakota Sioux from all treaties with the United States government. These activists had no standing under any elected BIA tribal government. The group claimed official standing under the traditional Lakota Treaty Councils, representing the traditional Tiyóšpaye (matriarchal family units). These have been the traditional form of Lakota governance.
Longtime political activist Russell Means said, "We have 33 treaties with the United States that they have not lived by." He was part of the delegation's declaring the Lakota a sovereign nation with property rights over thousands of square miles in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana.The group stated that they do not act for or represent the tribal governments set up by the BIA or those Lakota who support the BIA system of government.
The Lakota Freedom Delegation did not include any elected leaders from any of the tribes. Russell Means had previously run for president of the Oglala Sioux tribe and twice been defeated. Several elected BIA tribal governments issued statements distancing themselves from the independence declaration, with some saying they were watching the independent movement closely. Although some Indigenous nations and groups around the world made statements in support, no elected Lakota tribal governments endorsed the declaration.
In January 2008, the Lakota Freedom Delegation split into two groups. One group was led by Canupa Gluha Mani (Duane Martin Sr.). He is a leader of Cante Tenza, the traditional Strongheart Warrior Society, that has included leaders such as Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. This group is called Lakota Oyate. The other group is called the "Republic of Lakotah" and is led by Russell Means. In December 2008, Lakota Oyate received the support and standing of the traditional treaty council of the Oglala Tiospayes.
Today, one half of all enrolled Sioux live off the Reservation.
Lakota reservations recognized by the U.S. government include:
- Oglala (Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota and Nebraska)
- Sicangu (Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota)
- Hunkpapa (Standing Rock Reservation North Dakota and South Dakota)
- Mniconjou (Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, South Dakota)
- Izipaco (Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, South Dakota)
- Siha Sapa (Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, South Dakota)
- Ooinunpa (Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, South Dakota)
Some Lakota also live on other Sioux reservations in eastern South Dakota, Minnesota, and Nebraska:
- Santee Indian Reservation, in Nebraska
- Crow Creek Indian Reservation in Central South Dakota
- Yankton Indian Reservation in Central South Dakota
- Flandreau Indian Reservation in Eastern South Dakota
- Lake Traverse Indian Reservation in Northeastern South Dakota and Southeastern North Dakota
- Lower Sioux Indian Reservation in Minnesota
- Upper Sioux Indian Reservation in Minnesota
- Shakopee-Mdewakanton Indian Reservation in Minnesota
- Prairie Island Indian Reservation in Minnesota
- YOUNG MAN AFRAID OF HIS HORSE
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