top of page
Cheyenne River

Europeans have used the term `Sioux’ since 1640 to designate the tribes that belong to the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota language groups. The Sioux people are the tribe that won the Sioux Wars of 1868 and defeated General George Armstrong Custer. The Sioux people will use the word (Sioux) when telling other tribal groups what Nation they are from or when speaking to non-Indians, but call themselves by their Sub-Tribe name and by their language group. Thus a person would describe himself or herself as Mnikoju Lakota.


The original territories occupied by these allied people extended from Minnesota to Montana, and from Nebraska into the plains of Canada. They still occupy reservation lands in all those places. Reservation lands are not part of the state they are surrounded by, but are, by federal law, designated as Indian Country and are largely sovereign, governed by Tribal Governments elected by their members.


The Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation was originally a central part of the Great Sioux Reservation, which was established on April 29th, 1868 by the treaty of Fort Laramie (15 Stat 635, 1868). Prior to the making of this treaty, and prior to the coming of the Wasicu (In the Lakota language, 'wasicu' or 'wasicu pi' refers to the 'white man' and actually means 'fat taker' or 'steals the fat.') there existed for the Sioux people a period of time which is often called the Golden Age of Siouan Culture.


During the Golden age of Siouan dominance and control of the northern plains, the Lakota developed a nomadic hunter/gatherer existence which came into fruition with the coming of the horse. The 'horse culture' of the roaming bands of the Lakota people has lent them an air of mysticism and romance that has captured the imagination of thousands of non-Indian people from across the world.



Cultural Expressions
Seven Council Fires

The Lakota People make up what we call the Oceti Sakowin ('Seven Council Fires'). This is a name that signifies that the Lakota people are sub-divided into seven different and independent bands that constitute the entire western division of the Sioux people.

Mnikoju ('plants by the water'): The Mnikoju currently live on the Cheyenne River reservation in central South Dakota.
Itazipco ('without bow'): The Itazipco currently live on the Cheyenne River Reservation in central South Dakota.
Siha Sapa ('blackfeet/blackfoot'): The Siha Sapa currently live on the Cheyenne River reservation in central South Dakota.
Oo'henumpa ('two kettle'): The Oo'henumpa currently live on the Cheyenne River reservation in central South Dakota.

Sicangu ('burnt thighs'): The Sicangu currently live on the Rosebud and Lower Brule Reservation in the south central part of South Dakota.


Hunkpapa ('camps at the edge'): The Hunkpapa currently live on the Standing Rock reservation which covers portions of North and South Dakota. There are also Hunkpapa living in Canada, descendents of the people who fled there with Chief Sitting Bull after the battle on the Greasy Grass where Custer died.


Oglala ('scatter their own'): The Oglala currently live on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the south western part of South Dakota.



bottom of page