The third branch of the Sioux Nation is the Nakota
(also called Yankton Sioux) with 3 bands in modern times:
Yankton, Upper Yanktonai, Lower Yanktonai, living in SD, ND, and MT.
There are seven bands of the Oglala tribe, as of
the latter part of the 19th Century:
Payabya, "pushed aside"
Kiyuksa, "cut band" or "breaks his own"
Itesica, "bad face" (Red Cloud's band)
The chiefs, like Red Cloud, had some authority over their own bands. But the original social organization of the Lakota did not have a chief over all the bands. Each band had prominent warriors who were "shirt-wearers", and when the bands gathered and camped together, 4 of these shirt-wearers were selected by the tribal council of chiefs to be "wakicunsa" or camp leaders. These leading shirt-wearers had the overall authority over the entire camp circle.
From "Oglala Religion" by William K. Powers, 1977.
and "Red Cloud's Folk: A History of the Oglala Sioux Nation", 1937.
US government forced the Chiefs to transfer the Black Hills to white control, and organised the partition of the vast Sioux Territory into a number of small reservations.
The US Court of Claims ruled that the US government had violated the 1868 Treaty and that the Sioux were entitled to US$ 110 million in compensation for the Black Hills. The rule was upheld by the US Supreme Court.
US federal and state policy appears to continue to dissident and to prevent any form of unity from arising. At worst, the policy today is still genocidal. At best, it is shockingly intensive. In many reservations, there is violence, drunkenness, aphaty and despair. Schools drop-outs rates range from 45 to 62%. Suicide among the indigenous people is twice the US national average and unemployment runs around 80%. The Lakota have formed The Alliance of Tribal Tourism Advocates, whose goal is to enhance prospects of tourism development in accordance with the nationís organisations, beliefs and priorities.
Words of Black Elk
Oglala Lakota medicine man (1863-1950)
Black Elk's description after the Heyoka Ceremony:
"When the ceremony was over, everybody felt a great deal better, for it had been a day of fun. They were better able now to see the greenness of the world, the wideness of the sacred day, the colors of the earth, and to set these in their minds.
The Six Grandfathers have placed in this world many things, all of which should be happy. Every little thing is sent for something, and in that thing there should be happiness and the power to make happy. Like the grasses showing tender faces to each other, thus we should do, for this was the wish of the Grandfathers of the World."
From "Black Elk Speaks", his personal story told to John G. Neihardt, 1932, (1988 Bison Book edition).
Sometimes dreams are wiser than waking.
"Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.
"And I say the sacred hoop of my people was one of the many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy...
"But anywhere is the center of the world."
Dream Catcher (Lakota) Legend
Long ago when the world was young, an old Lakota spiritual leader was on a high mountain and had a vision.
In his vision, Iktomi, the great trickster and teacher of wisdom, appeared in the form of a spider.
Iktomi spoke to him in a sacred language that only the spiritual leaders of the Lakota could understand.
THE SEVEN RITES OF THE LAKOTA SIOUX
The Keeping of the Soul
Inipi:The Rite of Purification
Hanblecheyapi:Crying for a Vision
Wiwanyag Wachipi:The Sun Dance
Hunkapi:The Making of Relatives
Ishna Ta Awi Cha Lowan:Preparing a Girl for Womanhood
Tapa Wanka Yap:Throwing of the Ball
As he spoke Iktomi, the spider, took the elder's willow hoop which had feathers, horse hair, beads and offerings on it and began to spin a web.
He spoke to the elder about the cycles of life ... and how we begin our lives as infants and we move on to childhood, and then to adulthood. Finally, we go to old age where we must be taken care of as infants, completing the cycle.
"But," Iktomi said as he continued to spin his web, "in each time of life there are many forces -- some good and some bad. If you listen to the good forces, they will steer you in the right direction. But if you listen to the bad forces, they will hurt you and steer you in the wrong direction."
He continued, "There are many forces and different directions that can help or interfere with the harmony of nature, and also with the great spirit and-all of his wonderful teachings."
All the while the spider spoke, he continued to weave his web starting from the outside and working toward the center.
When Iktomi finished speaking, he gave the Lakota elder the web and said..."See, the web is a perfect circle but there is a hole in the center of the circle."
He said, "Use the web to help yourself and your people to reach your goals and make good use of your people's ideas, dreams and visions.
"If you believe in the great spirit, the web will catch your good ideas -- and the bad ones will go through the hole."
The Lakota elder passed on his vision to his people and now the Sioux Indians use the dream catcher as the web of their life.
It is hung above their beds or in their home to sift their dreams and visions.
The good in their dreams are captured in the web of life and carried with them...but the evil in their dreams escapes through the hole in the center of the web and are no longer a part of them.
They believe that the dream catcher holds the destiny of their future.
SIOUX CREATION MYTH
In the beginning, prior to the creation of the earth, the gods resided in an undifferentiated celestial domain and humans lived in an indescribably subterranean world devoid of culture. Chief among the gods were Takushkanshkan ("something that moves"), the Sun, who is married to the Moon, with whom he has one daughter, Wohpe ("falling star"); Old Man and Old Woman, whose daughter Ite ("face") is married to Wind, with whom she has four sons, the Four Winds.
Among numerous other spirits, the most important is Inktomi ("spider"), the devious trickster. Inktomi conspires with Old Man and Old Woman to increase their daughter's status by arranging an affair between the Sun and Ite. The discovery of the affair by the Sun's wife leads to a number of punishments by Takuskanskan, who gives the Moon her own domain, and by separating her from the Sun initiates the creation of time.
Old Man, Old Woman, and Ite are sent to earth, but Ite is separated from the Wind, her husband, who, along with the Four Winds and a fifth wind presumed to be the child of the adulterous affair, establishes space. The daughter of the Sun and the Moon, Wohpe, also falls to earth and later resides with the South Wind, the paragon of Lakota maleness, and the two adopt the fifth wind, called Wamniomni ("whirlwind").
Alone on the newly formed earth, some of the gods become bored, and Ite prevails upon Inktomi to find her people, the Buffalo Nation. In the form of a wolf, Inktomi travels beneath the earth and discovers a village of humans. Inktomi tells them about the wonders of the earth and convinces one man, Tokahe ("the first"), to accompany him to the surface.
Tokahe does so and upon reaching the surface through a cave (Wind Cave in the Black Hills), marvels at the green grass and blue sky. Inktomi and Ite introduce Tokahe to buffalo meat and soup and show him tipis, clothing, and hunting utensils. Tokahe returns to the subterranean village and appeals to six other men and their families to travel with him to the earth's surface.
When they arrive, they discover that Inktomi has deceived them: buffalo are scarce, the weather has turned bad, and they find themselves starving. Unable to return to their home, but armed with a new knowledge about the world, they survive to become the founders of the Seven Fireplaces.
Wohpe ("Falling Star") appears to the Lakota as a real woman during a period of starvation. She is discovered by two hunters, one of whom lusts for her. He is immediately covered by a mist and reduced to bones. The other hunter is instructed to return to his camp and tell the chief and people that she, "White Buffalo Calf Woman," will appear to them the next day. He obeys, and a great council tipi is constructed.
White Buffalo Calf Woman presents to the people a bundle containing the sacred pipe, and she tells them that in time of need they should smoke from the pipe and pray to Wakantanka for help. The smoke from the pipe will carry their prayers upward. She then instructs them in the seven sacred rites, most of which continue to form the basis of Lakota religion, including the sweat lodge, the vision quest, and the Sun danceday.
Encyclopedia of Religion.