Dozens of native nations lived on the Great Plains including the Sioux Indians, also known as the Lakota or
Dakota. The name Sioux means "little snakes". These Native Americans were nomadic and occupied territory in
Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North and South Dakota, however they were also known to live in parts of Nebraska,
Illinois, and Montana. Jean Duluth, a Frenchman, moved into Sioux territory in the seventeenth century and took
control of much of their land. The Sioux Indians were a powerful tribe with a rich history. The facts below will address who they were, what they were about, how they lived, why they were so powerful, and other interesting information.
General Sioux Indian Tribe Facts
Tribes of the Sioux Indians
Sioux people were farmers, hunters, and gatherers. They farmed corn and gathered fruit and berries. Once the
Sioux had access to horses in the 16th Century; their diet was predominantly buffalo meat since they were then able to keep up with the buffalos migration patterns. Their diet also included elk, antelope, turkey, and deer meat.
The Sioux are known for their distinguished looks. Their hair is very black and it is worn
long. Like other Native American tribes, they also have high cheekbones and large noses.
The Sioux Indians have the distinction of having one of the most well-known Indian chiefs in history. Sioux
Chief Sitting Bull was a holy man and a great leader. He was recognized early in his life for his bravery after
going to war at the young age of 14. He eventually went on to lead his people to defeat Custer in the Battle of
Little Big Horn in 1876. This was also known as Custer's Last Stand.
In the last battle of the American Indian Wars, the Battle of Wounded Knee (1890) over 150 Sioux Indians, including women and children, were killed. Some estimates say that number is closer to 300.
The Sioux are known for their powwows, which is a ceremony held at the same time each year featuring dancing,
singing, and lots food.
The Great Sioux War of 1876 involved the Lakota (Sioux) together with the Northern Cheyenne in a series of
battles against the U.S. that lasted until 1877.
The Sioux men made Buffalo-hide paintings that were quite elaborate. The women were best known for their bead
art, sometimes in the form of jewelry and sometimes used in embroidery. They were also skilled at quillwork and pottery.
As in many Native American tribes, the Sioux men were responsible for providing food for their families and protecting them from harm.
The women took charge of the children and domestic life, including cooking, cleaning, and breaking down and rebuilding their homes, or tipis (teepees) whenever necessary. These shelters were easy to take apart and put back together again.
Facts about Sioux Indian Religious Beliefs
Traditional religious beliefs center around Wakan Tanka, their god and creator of all things. They were also a
very spiritual group and believed that all things have spirits. Seven main spiritual ceremonies were held each
year and were a very important part of Sioux culture.
Sioux Indian Spiritual Ceremonies
The Keeping of the Soul
Rite of Purification
Preparation of Womanhood
Throwing of the Ball
Sioux Indian Clothing
The clothes they wore were made primarily from animal skins. Men wore typical deerskin shirts with leggings and
women wore full length dresses with leggings underneath for warmth.
The Sioux enjoyed decorating their clothing with colorful items such as beads, but also used an array of natural items
including shells, animal teeth and claws.
To protect their feet they wore moccasins and when they needed to keep especially warm they wore animal hide