The Lakota, locally, is also called Teton, and Teton Sioux. They speak the Lakota dialect, the westernmost of three closely related dialects that have a place in the Siouan dialect family, and that own land in both North and South Dakota. According to some chronic sources, the Lakota were at some point in their history part of a confederation of seven related Sioux clans, the Očhéthi Šakó or Seven Council Fires, and thus are one of the indigenous groups of the Great Plains of North America. North.
The Sioux were a proud people, known for their bravery and their code of honour. They inhabited a vast region that stretched across what are now the states of South and North Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Montana, to them simply the Great Plains.
Their life was intimately linked to the earth and nature, everything that existed in the world was considered the work of Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit, of which the sun, the sky or the wind was part.
History and Ancestry
In the late 16th and mid-17th centuries, Dakota-Lakota speakers lived in the upper Mississippi region in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Dakotas. Clashes with Anishnaabe and Cree ethnic groups pushed the Lakota westward onto the Great Plains in the mid to late 17th century.
The history of the first natives is recorded in their winter checks (waníyetu wówapi), the pictorial schedules painted in warehouses or later recorded on paper. Battiste Good’s winter account records the history of the ethnic group from 900 CE when White Buffalo Calf Woman gave Lakota individuals the White Buffalo Calf Pipe.
Today, the Lakota are discovered for the most part on the five reservations in western South Dakota:
- Rosebud Indian Reservation, home to the Upper Sičhánǧu or Brulé.
- Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home of the Oglála.
- Lower Brule Indian Reserve, home to the Lower Sičhaŋǧu Indian Reserve.
- Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, home to some other of the seven Lakota groups, including the Mnikȟówožu, Itázipčho, Sihásapa, and Oóhenumpa.
- Standing Rock Indian Reservation is home to the Húŋkpapȟa and individuals from many different groups.
We were also struck by the phenomenon that constitutes the union between the Sioux and an animal that did not appear in the area until the mid-sixteenth century, introduced by Spanish explorers: the horse.
“We can never go back to chasing buffaloes and living in tipis. We want the values and thought of honorable Lakótas. The Lakota way adapts. We must face the fact that we drive in white men’s cars, dress, and live like them. That doesn’t mean we can’t retain the values of our ancestors. We have to be a revolutionary.” -Alex White Plume, 1994.
Among the didactic material (we especially liked that phrases of current and historically influential members of the tribes were used), we found that a part of it is written in Spanish, such as the one that explains what the Seven Fires of the Council ( Oceti Sakowin ), an alliance that included the Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota (with their various tribes). The curious Visual Chart of the uses made of the Buffalo gives us a perfect idea of to what extent this animal was basic in the life of the Native Americans.
Symbols and Legends
Also in our language is the Medicine Wheel. A sacred symbol used to represent the knowledge of the universe, consisting of a circle, which sometimes has an eagle feather attached to its centre, divided into four parts. A simple symbol, and at the same time incredibly complex in its interpretation. So much so that we leave you an image so that you can judge for yourselves.
Many Indian legends have crossed the time barrier, reaching our days.
One of them, forced them to move south, it is the one that explains the origin of a rock formation that attracts our gaze from far away: the Devil’s Tower, for the Lakota Matȟó Thipila or Bear’s Den.
The name of the ethnic group comes from the autonym Lakota, Lakota “to feel warmth, benevolence, union, association”. Early French reports did not recognize a separate Teton division but instead grouped them with other “Western Sioux,” Santee and Yankton groups.