The Sioux Nation is a large group of Native American tribes that traditionally lived in the Great Plains. There are three major divisions of Sioux: Eastern Dakota, Western Dakota, and the Lakota. Many Sioux tribes were nomadic people who moved from place to place following bison (buffalo) herds.
The Sioux tribe were famous for their hunting and warrior culture. They were a nomadic tribe who roamed the Great Plains hunting the buffalo (bison). The buffalo provided the tribe with everything they needed – food, clothes and their tepees.
The ancestral Sioux most likely lived in the Central Mississippi Valley region and later in Minnesota, for at least two or three thousand years. The ancestors of the Sioux arrived in the northwoods of central Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin from the Central Mississippi River shortly before 800 AD.
The Sioux are a confederacy of several tribes that speak three different dialects, the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota. The Lakota, also called the Teton Sioux, are comprised of seven tribal bands and are the largest and most western of the three groups, occupying lands in both North and South Dakota.
Today they constitute one of the largest Native American groups, living mainly on reservations in Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana; the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota is the second largest in the United States.
‘Wakan Tanka’ literally means ‘great mystery’. The Sioux tribe believed in spirits which could bring good or evil to their tribe. They feared floods, believing that the waves were evil spirits. Unlike the white settlers, the Sioux only killed animals for food.
Enemies of the Sioux were the French, Ojibway, Assinibone, and the Kiowa Indians. One of the allies of the Sioux were the Arikara.
The Comanches, known as the “Lords of the Plains”, were regarded as perhaps the most dangerous Indians Tribes in the frontier era. One of the most compelling stories of the Wild West is the abduction of Cynthia Ann Parker, Quanah’s mother, who was kidnapped at age 9 by Comanches and assimilated into the tribe.
The Black Hills were a hunting ground and sacred territory of the Western Sioux Indians. At least portions of the region were also sacred to other Native American peoples—including the Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Arapaho—and the area had also been inhabited by the Crow.
Background Info: The name “sioux” is short for Nadowessioux, meaning “little snakes”, which was a spiteful nickname given to them by the Ojibwe, their longtime foe. The fur traders abbreviated this name to Sioux and is now commonly used. The Sioux were the dominant tribe in Minnesota in the 17th century.
Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake (Sitting Bull) is considered the greatest Sioux leader of all. He was a Holy man of the Hunkpapa Lakota who led his tribe during times where the Indians resisted the US policies.
The so-called Plains Wars essentially ended later in 1876, when American troops trapped 3,000 Sioux at the Tongue River valley; the tribes formally surrendered in October, after which the majority of members returned to their reservations.
The words Lakota and Dakota, however, are translated to mean “friend” or “ally” and is what they called themselves. Many Lakota people today prefer to be called Lakota instead of Sioux, as Sioux was a disrespectful name given to them by their enemies. There are seven bands of the Lakota tribe.
What type of houses did the Sioux live in? The Sioux people lived in a great round tent called a “tipi.” The tipi was made of wooden poles covered with decorated buffalo hide. The tipi had only one room.
Lakota (Lakȟótiyapi), also referred to as Lakhota, Teton or Teton Sioux, is a Siouan language spoken by the Lakota people of the Sioux tribes.
Before filming began, McDonnell had to learn to speak Lakota, the Sioux language. “It took a while,” she says. “They sent me an audio tape with my lines translated so I started working by myself.