The Lakota / Souix Indians

The Sioux Indians were and are one of the largest group of plains Indians in North America.

Their origins go way back in time when they were living in the eastern part of the U.S.A in what is now in and around the great lakes.

This part of their past can be traced to the 9th and 12th centuries B.C.E.

Moving forward the Sioux people I.e., the Lakota were probably amongst the first people to migrate from their original home lands out across the U.S in to the Great plains.

They were divided in to three distinct groups based on the language and geographical locations.

1) These included “Dakota Santee eastern Dakota”

2) “Teuton western Dakota and Nekota”

3) “Yankton Central Dakota” Dakota and Lakota in English means friends or allies.

Some of these bands were related to other sub bands including The Black foot people “SihasapaOohanunpa Two Kettle and Itazipco without bows “.

These divisions had important linguistic cultural and political and territorial differences.

Other names or divisions were the “Oglala and Nekota”.

By the 17th century the Lakota were living on the upper Mississippi region.

They were then forced to move out on to the Plains west of the Mississippi into what is now known as The Dakotas North and south by tribal wars over the fur trade.

By the 1730s they were introduced to the horse by The Cheyenne Indians who were introduced to the horse by other tribes further south.

After this the Sioux became excellent equestrian horse riders enabling them to hunt buffalo “Tatonka” far easier over vast distances.

For a time, they split into smaller groups but after the great Smallpox pandemic many smaller tribes were nearly whipped out allowing the Sioux to move out over the Great Plains. By the 1770s they then moved to the Black Hills “Paha Sapa”.

After this period, this period White settlers began to cross the Great Plains.

At first this did not cause any real conflict as most settlers were heading West to California and western part of the Continent.

However, this all changed when Gold was discovered in the Black hills Treaties were ignored and broken.

This caused a great resentment amongst not only the Sioux but all plains Indians.

The coming of the railroad “Iron Horse “and the U.S. government sending in the U.S. Cavalry to protect the settlers and mining prospectors. This then gave rise to The Indian wars which ended in 1877 confining The Sioux to reservations along with all the other Indian tribes across the U.S.and Canada.

Today there are Five reservations home to the Lakota.

  • Oglala “Pine Ridge South Dakota “
  • Sicangu “Rosebud South Dakota “
  • Hunkpapa “Standing Rock North Dakota “
  • Miniconjou “Cheyenne River Sioux South Dakota “
  • Itazipco “Cheyenne River Sioux South Dakota”

So, the fight between the U.S. government and the Sioux Indians still goes on today.

There are Billions of Dollars held in U.S. banks belonging to the Lakota people for land and treaties broken in the 1890s regarding The Black hills.

Blackrock reservation in North Dakota is now a battle ground over the Oil pipeline being put through their land. This was a prophesy foretold by Black Elk. He Called it “BLACK Snake”.

This pipeline as up routed and destroyed ancient and sacred burial grounds polluted water supply and caused great suffering to the Lakota.

So today large-scale protests take place with many indigenous people not only from the U.S. but Canada Mexico South America but all over the world.

These groups have established camps across the reservation in protest to the pipeline.

This has caused clashes with the mining companies, police and the military who ride roughshod over the protesters and local Indians.

So what is life like to day for the Lakota and other Sioux Indians in the 21st century America?

Some Indians now live off the reservations and live-in cities and rural and urban areas working in all aspects of modern life.

Those that live on the reservations do a variety of jobs these include ranching, teaching in schools, making things to sell on the reservations or in local towns. Farming cattle or even Buffaloes.

Park rangers is something is another occupation because they have a natural connection to the land and environment.

Some become teachers, lecturers, authors and so forth.

However, there are many that are living in what can only be described as poverty in third world conditions.

Alcoholism is widespread on some reservations however there has been a lot of effort to stop this by banning Alcohol on reservations altogether. physical abuse is another problem along with social deprivation.  Poor access to health care is also common on the poorest reservations although now great strides are being made to help alleviate this through education in schools and universities.

Young people are made aware of their Native heritage, so a great deal of work is placed on traditional ways.

Al: major reservations have their own police force as Reservation are by law independent autonomous nations within the framework of the U.S.

The influence of Christianity has had an enormous impact on all native Indians al across The American continent from Alaska to southern South America.

So many of the Sioux people today are Roman Catholic however this does not stop them from learning their more traditional ways prom elders who have kept the knowledge alive.

Examples include POWWOWs, vision quests, rites of passage into adult hood for girls and boys going to sacred places.

Most of the larger reservations have their own museums on them and gift shops selling to visitors. this can generate a good deal of revenue bring benefit to helping the well fare of all the people.

One of the biggest events today are the POWWOWs that take please all over the U.S. and C  anada and many people travel many hundreds of miles to participate. These events bring all different tribes to gether to participate in the different dance styles.

Most powwows take place in the summer months when the weather is usually hot. When the weather is colder these then will take place in covered stadiums able to accommodate a few thousand people.

Big prize money is now a factor of these events as an incentive.

Like everything in the modern world, they have had to adapt their traditional ways in to keeping their culture alive.

So today a sense of identity for Indian tribes is a thing they are quite rightly proud of.

This gives them their self-pride of who they are where they came from and where they belong in the modern world.

Ha Ho.