It is beleived the Sioux Indians actually came to North America from the continent of Asia thousands of years ago.
The Sioux Indians actually came to North America from the continent of Asia. The name Sioux actually means “little snake”, which was given to the tribe by the Chippewa Indians. The features of Sioux Indians that particularly stand out is their long, straight jet-black hair, representative of people descending from Asia.
Generally, the Sioux Indians were nomadic, meaning that they never really stayed in one place for a very long amount of time. Typically they followed the pattern of the buffalo, assuring them that there would be food and clothing wherever they traveled. The Spanish introduced horses to the Sioux in the 1500’s. Once they began to use horses as a means of carrying articles and transportation, life became much easier, particularly since they were living a nomadic lifestyle. The tribe had chiefs designated for various aspects of life, including war, civil rules, and of course, medicine men. The men of the tribe could become chiefs eventually if they demonstrated strong warrior skills.
Once the 1860’s came around, the fight over land got quite intense. The Sioux Indians battled the white man in order to keep their land. Eventually, the United States government signed a treaty allowing them to keep a portion of the land, otherwise known as a reservation. Once the gold rush took place, rumors abounded that there was gold located on Sioux land. Again, a battle ensued and the Sioux joined up with the Cheyenne tribe. The battle was led by the legendary Sitting Bull. Over the next couple of decades, the Sioux Indians traveled to the Dakotas. They took place in the famous battle known as Custer’s Last Stand, and ended up killing all of the soldiers that attempted to attack them. Unfortunately in 1891 the Battle of Wounded Knee occurred, and the Sioux lost the battle, losing many people in the fray. Today, there are about 30,000 Sioux Indians living in South Dakota, and still other in Nebraska, Montana, and Canada.
Profiles of sioux indian activists, activism, and issues that affect the Sioux tribe of Indians.
The American Indian Movement (AIM) was formed by members of the Oglala Sioux tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and its most active members were Sioux indian activists.
AIM burst onto the international scene with its seizure of the Bureau of Indian Affairs headquarters in Washington, D.C., in 1972 and the 1973 standoff at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. AIM was cofounded in 1968 by Dennis Banks, George Mitchell, Herb Powless, Clyde Bellecourt, Eddeh Benton Banai, and many other Sioux tribal members and others from other tribes in the Native American community, almost 200 total. Russell Means was another early leader.
In the decades since AIM’s founding, the group has led protests advocating Indigenous American interests, inspired cultural renewal, monitored police activities and coordinated employment programs in cities and in rural reservation communities across the United States. AIM has often supported other indigenous interests outside the United States, as well.
Leonard Peltier, (Chippewa/Lakota), is a Native American activist and member of the American Indian Movement. He spent his early years living with his grandparents on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation. In 1977 he was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment for the murder of two FBI Agents who died during a 1975 shoot-out on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. There has been considerable debate over Peltier’s guilt and the fairness of his trial. Some supporters and organizations, including Amnesty International, consider him to be a political prisoner.
Russell Means (Lakota: Oyate Wacinyapin) is one of contemporary America’s best-known and prolific activists for the rights of American Indians. Means has also pursued careers in politics, acting, and music.
In 1968, Means joined the American Indian Movement and quickly became one of its most prominent leaders. In 1969, Means was part of a group of Native Americans that occupied Alcatraz Island for a period of 19 months. He was appointed the group’s first national director in 1970. Later that year, Russell Means was one of the leaders of AIM’s takeover of Mount Rushmore. In 1972, he participated in AIM’s takeover of the Bureau of Indian Affairs office in Washington, D.C., and in 1973 he led AIM’s occupation of Wounded Knee, which became the group’s most well-known action.
Russell Means latest acts of activism include a leadership role in the Republic of Lakota. On December 20, 2007, Means announced the withdrawal of a small group of Lakota Sioux from all treaties with the United States government. Means and a delegation of activists declared the Lakota a sovereign nation with property rights over thousands of square miles in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana. This group, who call themselves the Republic of Lakota, have been denounced by two elected Lakota tribal leaders who released a written statement on January 8, 2008 against any plan to renounce treaties with the United States, saying the issue was enforcement of existing treaties.
John Trudell is the son of a Santee Sioux father and a Mexican mother. He became involved in Indian activism and became the spokesperson for the Indians of All Tribes occupation of Alcatraz Island. He joined the American Indian Movement and, although not officially voted in, was its national Chairman from 1972 until 1979 after Carter Camp went to jail.
Vine Deloria, Jr. (March 26, 1933 – November 13, 2005) was an American Indian author, theologian, historian, and activist. Deloria was the grandson of Tipi Sapa (Black Lodge) aka Rev. Philip Joseph Deloria, an Episcopal priest and a leader of the Yankton band of the Nakota Nation.
In 1969, Vine Deloria, Jr. published his first of more than twenty books, entitled Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto. In it, Deloria addressed Indian stereotypes and challenged white audiences to take a new look at the history of American western expansionism.
In 1999, Deloria argued in his book Red Earth, White Lies, that rather than entering the Americas via the Bering Strait, Native Americans, as some of their creation stories suggested, originated in the Americas. He also takes a Young Earth stance on the time span of human origins.
Vine Deloria, Jr. wrote and edited many subsequent books, focusing on many issues as they relate to Native Americans, such as education and religion. He was also involved with many Native American organizations and an advocate for native american activism and issues.
Charmaine White Face, Zumila Wobaga, is an Oglala Tetuwan (Lakota language speaker) from the Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation) in North America.She is known for her work in support of Native American rights, in particular as coordinator of the Defenders of the Black Hills volunteer organization centered around efforts to encourage the United States government to honor the Fort Laramie Treaties of 1851 and 1868.
Charmaine White Face also works at the international level in support of recognition of human rights of indigenous peoples all over the world. She is the spokesperson for the Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council. She was a participant in the prayer fast/hunger strike held in December 2004 in Geneva, Switzerland at the final meeting of the Intersessional Working Group on the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (WGDD).
Floyd “Red Crow” Westerman (August 17, 1936 – December 13, 2007) was a Dakota musician, activist and actor. Late in his life he became a leading actor depicting Native Americans in American films and television.
As a youth, he attended an off-reservation elementary school where he was forced to cut his hair and forbidden to speak his native language. This would profoundly impact his later life and his restless pursuit of championing his own heritage.
At the age of 10, Westerman was sent to the Wahpeton Boarding School, where he first met Dennis Banks of the American Indian Movement, which he also supported in later years.
Elizabeth Cook-Lynn is a Crow Creek Lakota Sioux whose trenchant views on Native American politics, particularly tribal sovereignty, have caused controversy.
JoAnn Tall is a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe and lives on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. She was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 1993 for her protests against uranium mining and plans for testing nuclear weapons in the Black Hills area.