Standing Rock Sioux Reservation | Sitting Bull College

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Standing Rock Sioux Reservation

The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation is situated in central North Dakota and South Dakota. See the source imageThe land base for Standing Rock is 2.3 million acres located next to the Missouri River-Lake Oahe. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has five bands located on the land, Ihunktonwana-Upper Yanktonais, Hunkpatina-Lower Yanktonais, Pabaske-Cuthead- Dakota speakers, and Hunkpapa and Sihasapa-Lakota Speakers.

The people of Standing Rock, often called Sioux, are members of the Dakota and Lakota Nations. “Dakota” and “Lakota” mean “friend” or “allies”.  The people of these nations are often called “Sioux”, a term that dates back to the seventeenth century when some of the people were living in the Great Lakes area. The Ojibwa called the Lakota and Dakota “Nadouwesou” meaning “adders” or “little snakes”.  This term, shortened and corrupted by French traders, resulted in retention of the last syllable as “Sioux.”

The Dakota people of Standing Rock include the Upper Yanktonai-Ihanktonwana translates “Little End of the Camp Circle”, Hunkpatina-Lower Yanktonais translated “End of the Camp Circle”, The Pabaske-Cut Heads who were originally the Sisseton Oyate,   When the Middle Dakota moved onto the James River Valley around 1500s they had contact with the semisedentary riverine tribes such as the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara. 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 Yanktonais also maintained aspects of their former Woodland lifestyle. Today Yanktonais people of Standing Rock live primarily in communities on the North Dakota portion of the reservation.

The Lakota people of the Standing Rock Reservation included two subdivisions of the Lakota’s seven bands, the Hunkpapa that means “campers at the Horn” in English and Sihasapa or “Blackfeet”. The Hunkpapas get their name from their hereditary right of pitching their tepees at the entrance of the horn or camp circle, 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.  The Lakota Hunkpapas and Sihasapa are the northern Plains people and practically divested themselves of all Woodland traits of their Dakota ancestors.  The cultural revolved around the horse and buffalo; the people were nomadic and lived in hide tepees year round.  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.