July 10, 2012

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North & South Dakota


The Dakota and Nakota people of Standing Rock include the Upper Yanktonai (in their language called Ihanktonwana, which translates to “little end villages”) and Yanktonai from the Cut Head Band. The Cut Heads, whose name is literally translated, get their title from the fact that when they withdrew from the Yanktonais, there was a row over the secession and a fight ensued. Their leader sustained a scalp wound and the name Cut Head was given. The Yankton and Yanktonais are called the Wiceyala or Middle Sioux.

Official Tribal Name: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North & South Dakota

Address:  PO Box D, t. Yates, ND 58538-0522

Phone: (701) 854-8500
Fax:  (701) 854-8595

Official Website:

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning

The Lakota, as the largest division of the nation, are subdivided into the Oceti Sakowin or Seven Council Fires. The Lakota people of the Standing Rock Reservation included two of these subdivisions, the Hunkpapa, means “campers at the Horn” and Sihasapa or “Blackfeet,” not to be confused with the Algonquian Blackfeet of Montana and Canada, which are an entirely different group.

The Hunkpapas get their name from their hereditary right of pitching their tepees at the outer edge of the village as defenders of the camp. The Sihasapa name comes from walking across a burned prairie after an unsuccessful expedition and their feet blackened, thus they were called the Blackfeet. 

Common Name:

Dakota and Nakota

Meaning of Common Name:

Dakota is commonly reported to mean “friend or ally” in English. This is actually incorrect. The real definition of Lakota is “those who consider themselves kindred.” The Da syllable in Dakota means “like (or related) [to Lakota].”

Dakotah derives from the word ‘WoDakotah,” meaning “harmony – a condition of being at peace with oneself and in harmony with one another and with nature. A condition of lifestyle patterned after the natural order of nature.”

See this detailed explanation of Sioux Names.

Alternate names / Alternate spellings:

 Upper Yanktonai and Yantonai

Name in other languages:

The Ojibwa or Annishinaabe called the Lakota and Dakota “Nadouwesou” meaning “adders” or “little snakes”. This was a derogatory term, indicating they were enemies and not to be trusted.This term was then shortened and corrupted by French traders, eventually resulting in retention of the last syllable as “Sioux.”


Great Plains, originally Eastern Woodland

State(s) Today:

North Dakota and South Dakota 

Traditional Territory:

The Hunkpapas and Sihasapa ranged in the area between the Cheyenne River and Heart Rivers to the south and north and between the Missouri River on the east and Tongue River to the west. Before they moved West, when the Sioux were still a part of the Woodland Culture, they were centered around the Great Lakes.


The Great Sioux Nation


Reservation: Standing Rock Reservation

Standing Rock Indian Reservation 
Land Area:  562,366 acres in SD
Tribal Headquarters:  Fort Yates, North Dakota
Time Zone:   Mountain (South Dakota side), Central (North Dakota side)

Population at Contact:

 Registered Population Today:

 10,133 enrolled members lived on the Standing Rock Reservation, as of 2010.

Tribal Enrollment Requirements:

Genealogy Resources:


Charter:  Organized under the Constitution and Bylaws of IRA.  Approved: April 24, 1959
Name of Governing Body:   Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council
Number of Council members:   Fourteen (14) Councilmen. Eight are elected from election districts, six are residents of the reservation without regard to residence in any district or state.
Dates of Constitutional amendments: May 11, 1984; October 15, 1984
Number of Executive Officers:  Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and Secretary


Language Classification:

Siouan-Catawban -> Mississippi Valley Siouan (a.k.a. Central Siouan) -> Dakotan -> Sioux -> Yankton-Yanktonai ->
     * Yankton
     * Yanktonai
Lakota (a.k.a. Lakhota, Teton, Western Sioux) 

Language Dialects:

Dakota and Lakota

Number of fluent Speakers:



Bands, Gens, and Clans

Hunkpapa, Blackfeet, Tanktonais and Cutheads

Related Tribes:

Traditional Allies:

Traditional Enemies:

Ceremonies / Dances:

Modern Day Events & Tourism:

Legends / Oral Stories:

Create your own reality
Lakota Star Legends
Legend of the Talking Feather
The End of the World according to Lakota legend
The Legend of Devil’s Tower
The White Buffalo Woman
Tunkasila, Grandfather Rock
Unktomi and the arrowheads

Art & Crafts:

They are best knoiwn for their beautiful beadwork. 


Before they acquired the horse, dogs were used as pack animals, most often hitched to a travois. Excess puppies were eaten as a food source.



 Hide tipis.


The Lakota Hunkpapas and Sihasapa are northern plains people and practically divested themselves of all woodland traits of their Dakota ancestors. The culture revolved around the horse and buffalo; the people were nomadic and lived in hide tepees year round.

Religion & Spiritual Beliefs:

Wakan Tanka was the supreme spiritual being, also known as The Great Mystery. There are many other lesser spirits with varying degrees of power. They believe both animate and inanimate objects have spirits, or souls, including trees, plants, and rocks, as well as all the birds and animals.

Man is equal to, but not superior to all other life forms. One could obtain one or more personal guardian spirits in dreams or on vision quests.
The Sioux Drum

Burial Customs:

Wedding Customs

Tribal Collegse:  
Sitting Bull College, Ft. Yates, ND
United Tribes Technical College
Radio:  KLND 89.5 FM, Little Eagle, SD
Newspapers:  Teton Times, McLaughlin, SD and Corson/Sioux Co. News-Messenger, McLaughlin, SD

Sioux Chiefs and Famous People:

 Sitting Bull – A Hunkpapa leader, was an influencial and respected man. Not only did he serve as a spiritual leader, he also was the last known leader of the “Cante Tinza,” an elite warrior society. Sitting Bull helped to defeat Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn. After the Sioux went on indian reservations, he traveled with Buffalo Bill Cody’s “Wild West Show” for a time.  Sitting Bull was killed by Indian police on Dec. 15, 1890.

Arthur Amiotte, (Oglala Lakota)-Painter, Sculptor, Author, Historian  

Vine Deloria Jr: In memoriam

Bryan Akipa, flutist (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate)

Patricia Locke (Ta Wacin Waste Win) – A Hunkpapa Lakota and Chippewa, lives on the Standing Rock Reservation. A MacArthur Fellow, 1991-1996, she has assisted 17 tribes in establishing community colleges on their reservations. Locke has taught at major American universities including the University of California at Los Angeles. She is the author of 29 articles and publications.

Catastrophic Events:

Tribe History:

When the Middle Sioux moved onto the prairie, they had contact with the semisedentary riverine tribes such as the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara. Eventually the Yanktonai displaced these tribes and forced them upstream.

However, periodically the Yanktonai did engage in trade with these tribes and eventually some bands adopted the earth lodge, bullboats and horticultural techniques of these people, though buffalo remained their primary food sources.

The Yanktonai also maintained aspects of their former Woodland lifestyle. Today Yanktonai people of Standing Rock live primarily in communities on the North Dakota portion of the reservation. 

Descendants Remember Battle of Little Big Horn

In the News:

Further Reading:


US Tribes Q-S
About nativelady

Leave a Reply