THE SIOUX NATION
This article is about the ethnic group. For other uses, see Sioux (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Sault (disambiguation).
Očhéthi Šakówiŋ En-chief-sitting-bull.jpg
Sitting Bull, a Hunkpapa Lakota chief and holy man, circa 1885.
Sioux, English, French
Christianity (incl. syncretistic forms), Midewiwin
Related ethnic groups
Assiniboine, Stoney (Nakoda), and other Siouan peoples
The Sioux (play /ˈsuː/) are Native American and First Nations people in North America. The term can refer to any ethnic group within the Great Sioux Nation or any of the nation's many language dialects. The Sioux comprise three major divisions based on Siouan dialect and subculture:
Isáŋyathi or Isáŋathi ("Knife," originating from the name of a lake in present-day Minnesota): residing in the extreme east of the Dakotas, Minnesota and northern Iowa, and are often referred to as the Santee or Eastern Dakota.
Iháŋktȟuŋwaŋ and Iháŋktȟuŋwaŋna ("Village-at-the-end" and "little village-at-the-end"): residing in the Minnesota River area, they are considered to be the middle Sioux, and are often referred to as the Yankton and the Yanktonai, or, collectively, as the Wičhíyena (endonym) or the Western Dakota (and have been erroneously classified as “Nakota” .
Thítȟuŋwaŋ or Teton (uncertain, perhaps "Dwellers on the Prairie"; this name is archaic among the natives, who prefer to call themselves Lakȟóta): the westernmost Sioux, known for their hunting and warrior culture, are often referred to as the Lakota.
Today, the Sioux maintain many separate tribal governments scattered across several reservations, communities, and reserves in the Dakotas, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Montana in the United States; and Manitoba and southern Saskatchewan in Canada.
The name "Sioux" is an abbreviated form of Nadouessioux borrowed into Canadian French from Nadoüessioüak from the early Odawa exonym: naadowesiwag "Sioux".Jean Nicolet recorded the use in 1640. The Proto-Algonquian form *na·towe·wa, meaning "Northern Iroquoian", has reflexes in several daughter languages that refer to a small rattlesnake (massasauga, Sistrurus). This information was interpreted by some that the Odawa borrowing was an insult. However, this Proto-Algonquian term most likely was ultimately derived from a form *-a·towe·, meaning simply "to speak a foreign language". - which would make it similar to the etymology of the Greek "Barbarian". Later this was extended in meaning in some Algonquian languages to refer to the massasauga. Thus, contrary to many accounts, the old Odawa word naadowesiwag did not equate the Sioux with snakes. This is not confirmed though, since usage over the previous decades has led to this term having negative connotations to those tribes to which it refers. This would explain why many tribes have rejected this term as an exonym.
Some of the tribes have formally or informally adopted traditional names: the Rosebud Sioux Tribe is also known as the Sičháŋǧu Oyáte, and the Oglala often use the name Oglála Lakȟóta Oyáte, rather than the English "Oglala Sioux Tribe" or OST. The alternative English spelling of Ogallala is considered improper..
The historical Sioux referred to the Great Sioux Nation as the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (pronounced [oˈtʃʰetʰi ʃaˈkowĩ]), meaning "Seven Council Fires". Each fire was a symbol of an oyate (people or nation). The seven nations that comprise the Sioux are: Bdewákaŋthuŋwaŋ (Mdewakanton), Waȟpéthuŋwaŋ (Wahpeton), Waȟpékhute (Wahpekute), Sisíthuŋwaŋ (Sisseton), the Iháŋkthuŋwaŋ (Yankton), Iháŋkthuŋwaŋna (Yanktonai), and the Thítȟuŋwaŋ (Teton or Lakota).] The Seven Council Fires would assemble each summer to hold council, renew kinships, decide tribal matters, and participate in the Sun Dance. The seven divisions would select four leaders known as Wičháša Yatápika from among the leaders of each division. Being one of the four leaders was considered the highest honor for a leader; however, the annual gathering meant the majority of tribal administration was cared for by the usual leaders of each division. The last meeting of the Seven Council Fires was in 1850.
Today the Teton, Santee, and Ihantowan/Ihanktowana are usually known, respectively, as the Lakota, Eastern Dakota, or Western Dakota] In any of the three main dialects, "Lakota" or "Dakota" translate to mean "friend," or more properly, "ally." Usage of Lakota or Dakota may then refer to the alliance that once bound the Great Sioux Nation.
First contacts with Europeans
The Dakota are first recorded to have resided at the source of the Mississippi River during the seventeenth century. By 1700 some had migrated to present-day South Dakota.] Late in the 17th century, the Dakota entered into an alliance with French merchants. The French were trying to gain advantage in the struggle for the North American fur trade against the English, who had recently established the Hudson's Bay Company.
Relationship with French Traders
The Sioux and French first met when the French were trying to get more tribes on their side against the British Forces. This was the first contact between these particular Sioux tribes and White traders. The Sioux and the French traded many things in peace, until the French started trading with the Sioux's rival tribes. This sparked a lot of unrest and the trading ceased. The first recorded meeting between these two was 1640. Eventually the Sioux were forced down to Mississippi at one point during the war with the French who were much stronger as a whole army.
Dakota War of 1862
Main article: Dakota War of 1862
Siege of New Ulm, August 19, 1862.
Drawing of the mass hanging of Dakota in Mankato, Minnesota
By 1862, shortly after a failed crop the year before and a winter starvation, the federal payment was late. The local traders would not issue any more credit to the Santee and one trader, Andrew Myrick, went so far as to say, "If they're hungry, let them eat grass."] On August 17, 1862 the Dakota War began when a few Santee men murdered a white farmer and most of his family. They inspired further attacks on white settlements along the Minnesota River. The Santee attacked the trading post. Later settlers found Myrick among the dead with his mouth stuffed full of grass.
On November 5, 1862 in Minnesota, in courts-martial, 303 Santee Sioux were found guilty of rape and murder of hundreds of American settlers. They were sentenced to be hanged. No attorneys or witness were allowed as a defense for the accused, and many were convicted in less than five minutes of court time with the judge.President Abraham Lincoln commuted the death sentence of 284 of the warriors, while signing off on the execution of 38 Santee men by hanging on December 26, 1862 in Mankato, Minnesota. It was the largest mass-execution in U.S. history.
Afterwards, the US suspended treaty annuities to the Dakota for four years and awarded the money to the white victims and their families. The men remanded by order of President Lincoln were sent to a prison in Iowa, where more than half died.
During and after the revolt, many Santee and their kin fled Minnesota and Eastern Dakota to Canada, or settled in the James River Valley in a short-lived reservation before being forced to move to Crow Creek Reservation on the east bank of the Missouri. A few joined the Yanktonai and moved further west to join with the Lakota bands to continue their struggle against the United States military.
Others were able to remain in Minnesota and the east, in small reservations existing into the 21st century, including Sisseton-Wahpeton, Flandreau, and Devils Lake (Spirit Lake or Fort Totten) Reservations in the Dakotas. Some ended up in Nebraska, where the Santee Sioux Tribe today has a reservation on the south bank of the Missouri.
Those who fled to Canada now have descendants residing on nine small Dakota Reserves, five of which are located in Manitoba (Sioux Valley, Long Plain, Dakota Tipi, Birdtail Creek, and Oak Lake [Pipestone]) and the remaining four (Standing Buffalo, Moose Woods [White Cap], Round Plain [Wahpeton], and Wood Mountain) in Saskatchewan.
Red Cloud's War
Main article: Red Cloud's War
Red Cloud's War (also referred to as the Bozeman War) was an armed conflict between the Lakota and the United States in the Wyoming Territory and the Montana Territory from 1866 to 1868. The war was fought over control of the Powder River Country in north central Wyoming.
The war is named after Red Cloud, a prominent Sioux chief who led the war against the United States following encroachment into the area by the U.S. military. The war ended with the Treaty of Fort Laramie. The Sioux victory in the war led to their temporarily preserving their control of the Powder River country.
Great Sioux War of 1876-77
Main article: Great Sioux War of 1876-77
The Great Sioux War comprised a series of battles between the Lakota and allied tribes such as the Cheyenne against the United States military. The earliest engagement was the Battle of Powder River, and the final battle was the Wolf Mountain. Included are the Battle of the Rosebud, Battle of the Little Bighorn, Battle of Warbonnet Creek, Battle of Slim Buttes, Battle of Cedar Creek, and the Dull Knife Fight. The Great Sioux War of 1876-77 was also known as the Black Hills War, and was centered around the Lakota tribes of the Sioux, although several Native Americans believe that the primary target of the United States military was the Northern Cheyenne tribe. The series of battles occurred in Montana territory, Dakota territory, and Wyoming territory, and resulted in a victory for the United States military.
Wounded Knee Massacre
Main article: Wounded Knee Massacre
Mass grave for the dead Lakota after massacre of Wounded Knee.
The massacre at Wounded Knee Creek was the last major armed conflict between the Lakota and the United States. It was described as a "massacre" by General Nelson A. Miles in a letter to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.
On December 29, 1890, five hundred troops of the U.S. 7th Cavalry, supported by four Hotchkiss guns (a lightweight artillery piece capable of rapid fire), surrounded an encampment of the Lakota bands of the Miniconjou and Hunkpapa with orders to escort them to the railroad for transport to Omaha, Nebraska.
By the time it was over, 25 troopers and more than 150 Lakota Sioux lay dead, including men, women, and children. The first shot (that started this Massacre) between the Sioux and the US was shot, but no one really knows who shot it, and how it was shot; accident or on purpose.Some of the soldiers are believed to have been the victims of "friendly fire" because the shooting took place at point-blank range in chaotic conditions. Around 150 Lakota are believed to have fled the chaos, many of whom may have died from hypothermia.
In the Sioux community, people usually marry between 12-15 years old. Before you get married, you are not allowed to be alone with your bride. The couple would meet in front of the woman's parents's teepee, where a blanket would be put over the two and there, you could talk in private (when in public.)Woman and men are perceived to have equal power and decision making. The men are usually chiefs of politics, war leaders or warriors. The woman are in charge food, the house and other items. The older woman were actually very respected in the community
Reserves and First Nations
Traditional location of Sioux tribes prior to 1770 (dark green) and their current reservations (orange)
Great Sioux Reservation, 1888; est. by Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868)
Later in the 19th century, the railroads hired hunters to exterminate the buffalo herds, the Indians' primary food supply. The Santee and Lakota were forced to accept white-defined reservations in exchange for the rest of their lands, and domestic cattle and corn in exchange for buffalo. They became dependent upon annual federal payments guaranteed by treaty.
In Minnesota, the treaties of Traverse des Sioux and Mendota in 1851 left the Sioux with a reservation twenty miles (32 km) wide on each side of the Minnesota River. Today, one half of all enrolled Sioux in the United States live off the reservation. Enrolled members in any of the Sioux tribes in the United States are required to have ancestry that is at least 1/4 degree Sioux (the equivalent to one grandparent).
In Canada, the Canadian government recognizes the tribal community as First Nations. The land holdings of the these First Nations are called Indian Reserves
Modern geographic divisions
Funeral scaffold of a Sioux chief (Karl Bodmer)
The Sioux maintain many separate tribal governments scattered across several reservations and communities in North America: in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Montana in the United States; and in Manitoba, southern Saskatchewan and Alberta in Canada.
The earliest known European record of the Sioux identified them in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. After the introduction of the horse in the early 18th century, the Sioux dominated larger areas of land—from present day Central Canada to the Platte River, from Minnesota to the Yellowstone River, including the Powder River country.
Santee (Isáŋyathi or Eastern Dakota)
The Santee migrated north and westward from the Southeast United States, first into Ohio, then to Minnesota. Some came up from the Santee River and Lake Marion, area of South Carolina. The Santee River was named after them, and some of their ancestors' ancient earthwork mounds have survived along the portion of the dammed-up river that forms Lake Marion. In the past, they were a Woodland people who thrived on hunting, fishing and subsistence farming.
Migrations of Anishinaabe/Chippewa (Ojibwe) people from the east in the 17th and 18th centuries, with muskets supplied by the French and British, pushed the Dakota further into Minnesota and west and southward. The US gave the name "Dakota Territory" to the northern expanse west of the Mississippi River and up to its headwaters.
Iháŋkthuŋwaŋ-Iháŋkthuŋwaŋna (Yankton-Yanktonai or Western Dakota)
The Iháŋkthuŋwaŋ-Iháŋkthuŋwaŋna, also known by the anglicized spelling Yankton (Iháŋkthuŋwaŋ: "End village") and Yanktonai (Iháŋkthuŋwaŋna: "Little end village") divisions consist of two bands or two of the seven council fires. According to Nasunatanka and Matononpa in 1880, the Yanktonai are divided into two sub-groups known as the Upper Yanktonai and the Lower Yanktonai (Hunkpatina)
They were involved in quarrying pipestone. The Yankton-Yanktonai moved into northern Minnesota. In the 18th century, they were recorded as living in the Mankato region of Minnesota.
Lakota (Teton or Thítȟuŋwaŋ)
Main article: Lakota people
The Sioux likely obtained horses sometime during the seventeenth century (although some historians date the arrival of horses in South Dakota to 1720, and credit the Cheyenne with introducing horse culture to the Lakota). The Teton (Lakota) division of the Sioux emerged as a result of this introduction. Dominating the northern Great Plains with their light cavalry, the western Sioux quickly expanded their territory further to the Rocky Mountains (which they call Heska, "white mountains"). The Lakota once subsisted on the buffalo hunt, and on corn. They acquired corn mostly through trade with the eastern Sioux and their linguistic cousins, the Mandan and Hidatsa along the Missouri.
Dakota, Nakota and Lakota historic distribution
Womendress of the Sioux
Baby sling of the Sioux
The Sioux are divided into three ethnic groups, the larger of which are divided into sub-groups, and further branched into bands.
The Santee live on reservations, reserves, and communities in Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Canada.
Most of the Yanktons live on the Yankton Reservation in southeastern South Dakota. Some Yankton live on the Lower Brule Indian Reservation and Crow Creek Reservation. The Yanktonai are divided into Lower Yanktonai, who occupy the Crow Creek Reservation; and Upper Yanktonai, who live in the northern part of Standing Rock Reservation, on the Spirit Lake Reservation in central North Dakota, and in the eastern half of the Fort Peck Reservation in northeastern Montana. In addition, they reside at several Canadian reserves, including Birdtail, Oak Lake, and Moose Woods.
The Lakota are the westernmost of the three groups, occupying lands in both North and South Dakota.
Today, many Sioux also live outside their reservations.
Santee division (Eastern Dakota) (Isáŋyathi)
Mdewakantonwan (Bdewékhaŋthuŋwaŋ "Spirit Lake Village")
notable persons: Taoyateduta
Sisseton (Sisíthuŋwaŋ, perhaps meaning "Fishing Grounds Village")
Wahpekute (Waȟpékhute, "Leaf Archers")
notable persons: Inkpaduta
Wahpetonwan (Waȟpéthuŋwaŋ, "Leaf Village")
Yankton-Yanktonai division (Western Dakota) (Wičhíyena)
Yankton (Iháŋkthuŋwaŋ, "End Village")
Yanktonai (Iháŋkthuŋwaŋna, "Little End Village"
Unkpatina or Lower Yanktonai
notable persons: Wanata, Chief War Eagle
Teton division (Lakota) (Thítȟuŋwaŋ, perhaps meaning "Dwellers on the Prairie"):
Oglála (perhaps meaning "Those Who Scatter Their Own")
notable persons: Crazy Horse, Red Cloud, Black Elk and Billy Mills (Olympian)
Hunkpapa (Húŋkpapȟa, meaning "Those who Camp by the Door" or "Wanderers")
notable persons: Sitting Bull
Sihasapa (Sihásapa, "Blackfoot Sioux," not to be confused with the Algonquian-speaking Blackfeet)
Minniconjou (Mnikȟówou, "Those who Plant by Water")
notable persons: Lone Horn, Touch the Clouds