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Lakota-Sioux Indian Tribe


Lakota-Sioux Indian Tribe

Chief Sitting Bull

The Native American Lakota people (also referred to as the Teton, Titunwan, Ogalala or Ogallala Sioux) speak a Siouan language and are thought to have originated in the lower Mississippi River region and the Ohio River Valley where they were agriculturalists.  Although often referred to as the "Sioux," the word Sioux actually refers to the language of which there are three major dialects, one of which the Lakota people speak.  In the 1500's, they lived in the upper Mississippi River region where they were in competition with the Ojibwe (Chippewa) and Cree (Algonquian) Indian tribes.  With the introduction of "horse culture" to them by the Cheyenne Indians, the Lakota were able to adapt to a new lifestyle by hunting the buffalo (North American Bison) and became one the first "Plains Indians" being able to over-winter and survive in the harsh Northern Great Plains environment.  Eventually, after defeating the Cheyenne Indians, the Lakota people lived in the Black Hills of South Dakota which they consider sacred, and in 1868 the US government signed the Fort Laramie Treaty with the Lakota, ceding the Black Hills to these indigenous North Americans. However, the discovery of gold in the Black Hills four years later dramatically changed the situation when Anglo prospectors invaded the area.  To this day, the Lakota people are trying to recuperate the Black Hills area which the primary Lakota Indian chiefs refused to sign over to the US authorities despite great pressure by the US government.  The Lakota allied with the Arapaho and Northern Cheyenne Indian Tribes and fought against the 7th US Calvary commanded by General George Armstrong Custer in 1876 at the Battle of Little Bighorn.  However, their victory was short-lived and the following year the Lakota Indians were defeated.  Thirteen years later in 1890 several armed conflicts occurred, and Chief Sitting Bull was slain by reservation police in the Standing Rock Reservation. Several weeks later, the Wounded Knee Massacre took place at the Pine Ridge Reservation on December 29, 1890 with the loss of 153 Lakota Indians and 25 U.S. Army soldiers.  Despite poverty, alcoholism, and the loss of their sacred Black Hills, the Lakota people have retained much of their Native American culture and about 20 thousand of them are fluent in the Lakota-Sioux language out of a total population of approximately 70 thousand Lakota Indians. 


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