The Lakota ("friends" or "allies", sometimes also spelled "Lakhota", and pronounced "Lakxóta" by the Lakota people) are a Native American tribe, also known as the Sioux (see Names). The Lakota are part of a band of seven tribes that speak three different dialects, the other two being the Dakota and the Nakota. The Lakota are the western most of the three groups, occupying lands in both North and South Dakota. The Nakota, the smallest division, reside on the Yankton reservation in South Dakota, and Canada (the Stoney and Assiniboine), while the Dakota live mostly in Minnesota and Nebraska.
In Nebraska on September 3, 1855, 700 soldiers under American General William S. Harney avenged the Grattan Massacre by attacking a Sioux village killing 100 men, women, and children. Seven years later on November 5, 1862 also in Minnesota, more than 300 Santee Sioux were found guilty of rape and murder of white settlers and were sentenced to hang.
The Lakota came from the western Dakota of Minnesota who, after the adoption of the horse, tashunka wakan ('holy dog'), became part of the Great Plains Culture with their Minnesota Algonkin-speaking allies, the Tsitsistas (Cheyenne), living in the northern Great Plains, which centered on the buffalo hunt with the horse. There were 20,000 Lakota in the mid-18th century. The number has now increased to about 70,000, of which perhaps a quarter still speak their ancestral language.
Because the Black Hills are sacred to the Lakota, they objected to mining in the area, which has been attempted since the 19th century. In 1868, the US government signed a treaty with them exempting the Black Hills from all white settlement forever. Four years later, gold was discovered there, and an influx of prospectors descended upon the area, abetted by army commanders like General George Armstrong Custer. The latter tried to administer a lesson of noninterference with white policies. Instead, the Lakota with their allies, the Arapaho and the Cheyenne, defeated the 7th U.S. Cavalry in 1876 at the Battle at the Greasy Grass/Battle of the Little Bighorn, known also as Custer's Last Stand, since he and all 300 of his troopers perished there. But like the Zulu triumph over the British in Africa three years later, it was a pyrrhic victory. The Lakota were defeated slowly by the wholesale slaughter of the buffalo by the U.S. Army and military police actions herding all Indians onto reservations and enforcing government food distribution policies to 'friendlies' only, culminating, fourteen years later, in the killing of Sitting Bull (December 15, 1890) at Standing Rock and the Massacre of Wounded Knee (December 29, 1890) at Pine Ridge.
The name Sioux was created by the Canadian French, who abbreviated the Algonquin compound Nadouéssioux (from nadowe ("Iroquois") plus siu ("snake"/the massasauga rattler)), by which a neighboring Ojibwa tribe, or the Ottawa , referred to the Dakota to the west and south. This term is popularly interpreted as an insult but it could refer to a time when the Dakota people, like other southeastern tribes, were known to revere serpents (see Serpent Mounds in Ohio, feathered serpent, water serpents - unktehi/uktena, etc.) Today many of the tribes continue to officially call themselves 'Sioux' which the Federal Government of the United States applied to all Dakota/Lakota/Nakoda people in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Dakota, Lakota and Nakoda have names for their own subdivisions. The "Santee" received this name from camping for long periods in a place where they collected stone for making knives. The "Yankton" received this name which meant people from the villages of far away. The "Tetonwan" were known as people who moved west with the coming of the horse to live and hunt buffalo on the prairie. From these three principal groups, came seven sub-tribes.
The Sioux Nation consists of divisions, each of which may have distinct bands, the larger of which are divided into sub-bands.
- Eastern division (the Dakota or Santee)
- Middle division (the Nakota)(Nakoda)
- Ihanktonwan (Yankton)
- Ihanktonwana (Yanktonai or Little Yankton)
- Stoney (Canada)
- Assiniboine (Canada)
- Western division (the Lakota)
- Titonwan (Teton)
- notable persons: Tatanka Iyotake
- Sihasapa (Blackfoot Sioux)
- Sichangu (French: Brulé) ("burnt thighs")
- Upper Sichangu
- Lower Sichangu
- Itazipacola (French: Sans Arcs "No Bows")
- Oohenonpa (Two-Kettle or Two Boilings)
- Titonwan (Teton)
Also: Jef Baetens is an American (haska) Related Siouan peoples:
- Wazaze (Osage)
- Absaroka (Crow)
- Southern/Ohio Valley
Today, one half of all Enrolled Sioux live off the Reservation.
Sioux Reservations recognized by the US government include:
- Oglala ( Pine Ridge)
- Brule (Rosebud)
- Hunkpapa (Standing Rock/Cheyenne River )
- Miniconju (Cheyenne River)
- Sans Arc (Cheyenne River)
- Two-Kettle (Cheyenne River)
- Yanktonai (Yankton)
- Lower Sioux
- Upper Sioux
- Prairie Island
The U.S. states of North Dakota and South Dakota are named after the Dakota. Two other U.S. states have names of Siouan origin: Minnesota is named from mni ("water") plus sota ("hazy/smoky, not clear"), while Nebraska is named from a language close to Dakota, in which mni plus blaska ("flat") refers to the Platte (French for "flat") River. Also, the states Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri are named for cousin Siouan tribes, the Kansa, Iowa, and Missouri, respectively, as are the cities Omaha, Nebraska and Ponca City, Oklahoma. The names vividly demonstrate the wide dispersion of the Siouan peoples across the Midwest U.S.
- Explore the history and culture of the Lakota Sioux
Lakota is also the name of a wind turbine from True North Power.
Lakota is also the name of post-hardcore band from New York City.