The name Dakota,
Lakota, or Nakota means "friendly people." This is what the
three groups called themselves. French priests called them the
"Sioux." This name came from another Indian tribe. It meant
"snake" or "enemy." This name stuck. Most European
explorers and traders called them the Sioux. So did most South Dakota
settlers. Today we use all these names.
The Sioux Nation
is made up of seven major tribes, or "council fires." They
speak three different forms of the same language. These are known as
dialects. Those who speak the Dakota dialect are sometimes called the
Santee. This group includes the Wahpeton, Sisseton, Mdewakanton, and
Wahpekute tribes. Many now live in northeastern and central South Dakota
and eastern Minnesota.
the Nakota dialect are the Yankton and Yanktonnais tribes. Many now live
in southeastern and north-central South Dakota.
The Teton tribe
speaks the Lakota dialect. There are seven large groups of Lakota
speakers, or Lakotas. They are the Oglala, Brule (Sicangu), Two Kettle (Oohenunpa),
Sans Arc (Itazipco), Blackfeet (Sihasapa), Hunkpapa, and Minneconjou.
Many now live in central and western South Dakota and southwestern North