The Lakȟóta people are an indigenous tribe of North America that resides within the Great Plains. They aren’t the oldest of the tribes, but their names are counted among the most well known and they fought against American settlers as hard as any other tribes.
The Lakȟóta, or Lakota in English, were historically farmers and agricultural people dating back to the year 900 CE, they did not originally live on the great plains but instead resided in the Ohio Valley until they were forced out by wars with Cree and Anishaabe tribes in the 17th Century.
It was also in the 17th Century that the Lakota were introduced to horses by the Cheyenne which in their language they called “dog of power”. The adoption of what is now known as horse culture led to the Lakota thriving on the buffalo hunt. This grand buffalo hunt is still part of American iconography and remembers the days of Native freedom
Lakota are a sub group of Sioux speaking peoples that reside in America and therefore are part of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, or Seven Council Fire. Of the 70,000 Lakota that exist today, an estimated 20,500 still speak the Lakota language.
One notable Lakota was Crazy Horse (Tȟašúŋke Witkó) who led a Lakota war party into victory against Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn where 268 Americans were slaughtered including George A Custer himself. Though his praise was high for his wild battle prowess, Crazy Horse would be captured some years later and killed while allegedly attempting escape.
Sadly this was not the first time something of this nature happened to Lakota people, and it wouldn’t be the last. As American settlers spread faster and in greater number every year the Lakota people lost more and more ground in their war to hold onto their lands as they were pushed onto cramped and disease ridden reservations. By the year 1890 there were no more free Lakota to hunt the buffalo or fight against the Americans.
Though the Lakota people suffered greatly there are many revivals of Lakotan culture that go on today. The Lakota People Law Project is actively working on giving the Lakotan people of South Dakota the right to take care of their own orphaned children instead of the state taking them away.
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