Sioux Indian Tribes
The Great Sioux Nation is the traditional political structure of the Sioux in North America.
The Sioux Nation is a large and powerful tribe of Indians, who were found by the French, in 1640, near the headwaters of the Mississippi River.
They occupied the vast domain extending from the Arkansas River, in the south, to the western tributary of Lake Winnipeg, in the north, and westward to the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
The Sioux Indian tribes have been classed into four grand divisions – namely, the Winnebagos, who inhabited the country between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi, among the Algonquians;
the Assiniboines, or Sioux proper (the most northerly of the nation) ;
the Minnetaree group, in Minnesota;
and the Southern Sioux, who dwelt in the country between the Arkansas and Platte rivers, and whose hunting-grounds extended to the Rocky Mountains.
The peoples who speak the Sioux language are considered to be members of the Oceti Sakowin (Očhéthi Šakówiŋ),or Seven Council Fires.
The seven member communities are sometimes grouped into three regional/dialect sub-groups (Lakota, Western Dakota, and Eastern Dakota), but these mid-level identities are not politically institutionalized. Today, this is primarily a linguistic designation.
The seven communities are all individually members of the historic Sioux Confederacy.
In 1679 Jean Duluth, a French officer, set up the Gallic standard among them near Lake St. Peter, and the next year he rescued from them Father Hennepin, who first explored the upper Mississippi.
The French took formal possession of the country in 1685, when the Sioux were divided into seven eastern and nine western tribes.
In wars with the French and other Indians, they were pushed down the Mississippi, and, driving off the inhabitants of the buffalo plains, took possession.
Others remained on the shores of the St. Peter. Some of them wandered into the plains of Missouri, and there joined the Southern Sioux.
In the War of 1812 the Sioux took sides with the British.
In 1822 the population of the two divisions of the tribe was estimated at nearly 13,000. In 1837 they ceded to the United States all their lands east of the Mississippi, and in 1851 they ceded 35,000,000 acres west of the Mississippi for $3,000,000.
The neglect of the government to carry out all the provisions of the treaties for these cessions caused much bitter feeling, and a series of hostilities by some of the Sioux ensued; but after being defeated by General Harney, in 1855, a treaty of peace was concluded.
Many bands fled into what was then Dakota Territory, and the strength of the nation was greatly reduced.
The most guilty bands fled into the British dominions, while others, from time to time, attacked settlements and menaced forts. Loosely made treaties were violated on both sides.
By one of these the Black Hills were made part of a reservation, but gold having been discovered there, the United States wished to purchase the tract, and induce the Indians to abandon that region and emigrate to the Indian Territory.
They showed great reluctance to retreat, and to this day, hold and defend their claim to the Black Hills, which are sacred to them.
Sitting Bull, Spotted Tail, and Red Cloud visited the national capital in 1875, but President Grant could not induce them to sign a treaty.
Commissioners met an immense number of them at the Red Cloud agency, in September, but nothing was done. The sending of surveyors under a military escort to the Black Hills caused the Sioux to prepare for war.
This conflict was called Red Cloud’s War.
The Battle of Little Big Horn
In the spring of 1876 a military force was sent against the Sioux, and in June a severe battle was fought, in which General Custer and all of his immediate command were slain. This battle will live in infamy, popularly referred to as “The Battle of Little Big Horn”, or “Custer’s Last Stand,” or “The Battle of the Greasy Grass.”
By whatever name it is called, it will be remembered as one of the most significant victories of the Indian Nations. While in the end their cause was lost, they demonstrated their superb bravery and military skill in defeating Custer and humiliating the US Army.
The Battle of Wounded Knee
On Dec. 15 a body of Indian police, acting under orders from General Miles, attempted to arrest Sitting Bull in his camp, about 40 miles northwest of Fort Yates, North Dakota. A skirmish ensued, and in it the noted chieftain, together with his son Crowfoot and six other Indians, was killed.
The remnant of the band made its way to the Bad Lands for a time and eventually decided to surrender. While camped outside the fort waiting for their fate to be determined, they began a Ghost Dance, which alarmed the solders.
On Dec. 28 a battle occurred near Wounded Knee, South Dakota, between a cavalry regiment and the men of Big Foot’s band. Thirty of the whites were killed, while the Indian dead numbered over 200, including many of their women and children.
Over 3,000 Indians then fled from the agency and encamped near White Clay Creek, where, on the next day, another encounter occurred. The result of this engagement was the dispersal of the Indians with heavy loss, and the death of eight soldiers of the 9th Cavalry.
Several other skirmishes occurred during the week which followed, with loss of life on both sides. On Jan. 14, 1891, two councils were held with General Miles, and the chiefs, seeing the hopelessness of their cause, agreed to surrender their arms and return to the agency.
The war was practically ended, and on Jan. 21 the greater part of the troops were withdrawn from the neighborhood of the reservation. On the 29th, a delegation of Sioux chiefs, under charge of Agent Lewis, arrived in Washington for the purpose of conferring with the Secretary of the Interior.
The conference began on Feb. 7, and continued four days, at the close of which the Indians were received by President Harrison at the White House.
They were assured that the cutting down of the congressional appropriation was an accident, and that the government desired faithfully to carry out every agreement made. On their return home the chiefs stopped for a short time at Carlisle, Pa., where the children of several of them were attending school.
In 1899 the total number of Sioux was 27,215, divided into nineteen bands, and located principally in South Dakota.
Tribal Origin: Siouan Family
Also known as: Asiniibwaan, means ‘Stone Sioux’
Native Name: Hohe Nakota
Home Territories: Northern Great Plains of America and Canada
Enemies: Atsina and Blackfeet
Tribal Origin: Siouan Family
Native Name: Sichanghu, means ‘burnt thighs’
Home Territories: The Dakotas
Tribal Origin: Siouan Family
Also known as: Eastern Sioux
Native Name: Dakota, means ‘Allies’ or ‘Friends’
Home Territories: Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Carolina, Manitoba and southern Saskatchewan
Alliances: Sioux Nation
Tribal Origin: Siouan Family (Lakota)
Native Name: Hunkpapa, means ‘gatekeepers’
Home Territories: North Dakota and South Dakota
Enemies: All nearby tribes and Whites
Tribal Origin: Siouan Family (Insanti Dakota)
Also known as: Gattacka
Native Name: Na-ishañ-dina, means ‘our people’
Home Territories: Nebraska
Language: mde wakan
Tribal Origin: Siouan Family (Lakota)
Native Name: Oglala, means ‘to scatter one’s own’
Home Territories: Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming
Enemies: All other surrounding tribes
Tribal Origin: Siouan family (Dakota)
Also known as: Ati, means ‘to pitch tents at’
Native Name: Isañyati, means ‘knife’
Home Territories: NebraskaLanguage: Dakota
Tribal Origin: Sioux
Also known as: Lakota
Native Name: Titonwan, means ‘dwellers on the prairie’
Home Territories: Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota
Modern Day Sioux Tribes:
- Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation (F)
- Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (F)
- Crow Creek Sioux Tribe of the Crow Creek Reservation(South Dakota) (F)
- Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe of South Dakota (F)
- Fort Belknap Indian Community of the Fort Belknap Reservation of Montana (F)
- Lower Brule Sioux Tribe of the Lower Brule Reservation (F)
- Lower Sioux Indian Community in the State of Minnesota (F)
- Oglala Sioux Tribe (F)
- Prairie Island Indian Community in the State of Minnesota (F)
- Rosebud Sioux Tribe of the Rosebud Reservation (F)
- Santee Sioux Nation (F)
- Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota (F)
- Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation, South Dakota (F)
- Spirit Lake Tribe (F)
- Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North & South Dakota (F)
- Upper Sioux Community (F)
- Yankton Sioux Tribe (F)
Sioux People of Note
- Famous Assiniboine
- Remember the Dakota 38
- Crazy Horse
- Rain-in-the-Face( Ité Omáǧažu or Itonagaju)
- Red Cloud’s last words to his people
- Spotted Tail
- Two Strike (Nomkahpa)
- Gertrude Simmons Bonnin (Zitkala-Ša)
- Mary Crow Dog
- Ella Carla Deloria (Anpetu Wastewin)
- Susan La Flesche, Sioux (1865-1915)
- Russell Means Obituary
- Russell Means Timeline
- Theodore “Ted” Lyle Means
- Ellen Moves Camp
- Chief Red Fox
- Floyd Red Crow Westerman
- Floyd Red Crow Westerman passes to the spirit world
- Bryan Akipa, Dakota Sioux Flutist and Flute Maker
- Arthur Amiotte (Wanblí Ta Hócoka Washté or Good Eagle Center)
When Columbus landed in 1492, the Indigenous Red Nations and Peoples he met were gracious and friendly, as they had always been. Unfortunately, Columbus murdered many of those “Indians” and took many back to Europe as slaves. This historical fact is discarded by US schools and instead the “Hitler-Columbus” is celebrated as some type of “hero” while Indigenous existence, human rights, and nationhood is ignored.
American Holocaust T Shirts
In 1492, there were approximately 500 Indigenous Red Nations living true freedom, democracy and happiness upon Great Turtle Island, each having their own distinct and unique language and way of life. They had lived in harmony with nature – their superior – for millions and millions of years, having always been from these lands now occupied by America.
But due to the largest, quickest and deadliest “holocaust” inflicted against any race ever known by the european pilgrims and the u.s. government and its citizenry upon the Indigenous Red Nations, some of those nations were wiped out – exterminated from existence.
As the foreign, European immigrant aliens moved westward, making friends with the “Indians” – then “stabbing them in the back”, they encountered the Nakota Nation. The Nakota (Nakota, DaNakota, Dakota, Lakota; misnomer “Sioux”) lived upon what is called the northern “great plains”, areas stretching across what is now called Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.
One of the last and most recent blatant attempts at annihilation by the u.s. government occurred against the Lakota Nation in what is wrongly known as “western South Dakota”. In 1890, as the u.s. tried so desperately to organize a “state of South Dakota” upon Lakota 1851 Treaty Homelands, it was decided that the Lakota who spoke the truth about what was happening to their great nation such as Tatanka Iyotake “Sitting Bull” needed to be “neutralized”.
The government concocted a media hoax about and against a “ghost dance” ceremony some Lakota were participating in at the time. The simple dance and singing in a circle frightened the Americans.
The government and media insinuated that Tatanka Iyotake was an active participant – although he was strictly a Canunpa (misnomer “peace pipe”) Caretaker and an avid facilitator of the Seven Sacred Canunpa Ceremonies of the Nakota Nation and hadn’t the time for extra dances/songs. He believed the Earth was Grand Mother and the Sky was Grand Father.
Tatanka Iyotake did not believe in a “higher power, god, grandfather god” or any male-dominating society creation which confuses people and gives individuals an inferiority complex. His Canunpa facilitation enhanced female/male balance within his community.
Tatanka Iyotake professed and practiced “Oyate Omniciye” which his ancestors had practiced for millions of years. This greatly irritated government officials who tried fervently to control the minds and actions of the Lakota. In Oyate Omniciye, all men and women of the community come together to discuss and take action on an issue affecting their nation.
This true democracy prevents “dictators, kings, leaders, chiefs, presidents” from controlling the masses and benefiting from mineral and resource exploitation, and instead celebrates each individuals importance and self worth.
Sitting Bull believed like all true Lakota, that each person had an area of expertise, something he or she was good at that needed to be discovered and shared with the entire community. That is why in the ancient Lakota family and community there was never mind-altering drug use, suicide, sexual dysfunctions, sexual perversions, or other problems such as those, which so terribly plague America today.
On December 15, 1890, government agents swarmed Sitting Bull’s family home, forcibly removed him and shot him in the back. His relative and good friend Big Foot fled with his entire community as the government agents were coming to get him next.
Big Foot and his group of mostly women, children, and old people fled towards the Pine Ridge Agency and “Red Cloud” – a “paper chief” and friend of the government, in order to save their lives from the crazed u.s. army marauders.
The group, however, was intercepted near present day “Porcupine, SD”, beaten, totally strip searched with even women’s sewing awls confiscated, then force marched a few miles down into Wounded Knee Creek.
The following morning at the planned signal (a single shot fired by an army officer), the troops began opening fire with thousands of rounds from Hotchkiss machine guns that had been strategically placed around the hills overlooking the disarmed holding camp.
453 innocent Lakota were butchered by the U.S. army that day. Pregnant women were even bayoneted with their babies cut out and flung in the air – landing upon waiting military bayonets below.
Two-dozen “medals of honor” were “awarded” to a few of the u.s. military servicemen who massacred large numbers of the innocent Lakota women, children, and elders that December 29th morning.
These “medals of honor” have yet to be rescinded by Tom Daschle, Daniel Inouye, John Kerry, Bill Clinton, George Bush, Monica Lewinsky, or any other politician or congressional official who claims to be a “good Christian/Jewish person.”
The 1851 Treaty – the last legitimate Treaty made between the Lakota and the Untied States government – is protected from violation through Article VI of the United States Constitution.
It is not broken, however; it is violated daily by the United States and its ignorant citizens. It remains “occupied territory” to this very day.
This Lakota land remains within the boundaries of the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie, which therefore invalidates a legal existence of any “western South Dakota”.
Thousands of train boxcars roll off these 1851 Territories in “Wyoming” across state lines to provide energy wants for tens of millions of American people across America. While the true owners of this coal, the Nakota People, remain disenfranchised and impoverished as the daily crime takes place.
Often, due to years of being taken from their families in infancy and forced into christian boarding schools, oppression and manipulation by unscrupulous government officials, many Lakota do not even realize the coal is theirs – let alone the existence on the 1851 Treaty, the sole deed to and legal document of their homelands.
The same type of theft has occurred regarding Lakota Black Hills gold reserves. Trillions of dollars of Nakota gold sits as stolen, occupied property in places like Fort Knox while Lakota on the “Pine Ridge Sioux Indian Reservation” are without jobs, with high rates of diabetes and other health problems, high infant mortality, and the shortest lifespan of all the world’s peoples remain – some near starvation.
The Nakota have a very beautiful language. It is very pleasant to hear a person speaking this language. Many words are very significant and explain their true meaning and the meaning of life. It is not a conglomerate of other languages – not a confused, “bastardization” such as is the case with the “English” language.
The Nakota word for “water”, for example, is MiNi – translated “My Life”. What a beautiful way to “describe” what “water” is!
Sunka Wakan (“Mysterious Dog”; horse) is another significant word in the Nakota language. Tens of millions of years ago, the “Dog on the Prairie” was small with three toes and roamed the plains in herds. Millions of years later, the “Dog” mysteriously grew taller and needed only two toes.
Later (today) Sunka Wakan is tall and has one “hoof”. The importance of the word Sunka Wakan is that it reveals factual evidence that the Nakota are indigenous and were always from Great Turtle Island (not from Asia – the Bering Strait theory lie).
The language and word Sunka Wakan also serve as proof that the “horse” has always been here. “Historians” and government officials attempting to conceal facts and condemn the existence of Indigenous Nations claim (it is believed to be a from of denial, being ashamed of what their forefathers wrought) the Red People came from somewhere else, although recent DNA testing has proven the unique bloodline of Indigenous Red Nations and its total contrast to “Asian” or “Siberian” blood.
This dysfunction is known as the “musical chairs syndrome”. They also tried to say the “Spanish” brought the horse to “america”.
These “historians”, however, can never quite explain why the Nakota and other Indigenous Red Nations are of the world’s best horseback riders, the best horse trainers, and the world’s greatest “light cavalry” – it is surely not because the Spanish recently brought the horse!
The word Wakan Yeja means “Sacred Little One”. This is the word for “baby” or infant under seven winters old. To the Nakota, the newborn are sacred (not sinners at birth as some christian faiths believe) and special. There first language is what we all have had as first language – crying!
Before Columbus, Indigenous Red Nations and Peoples were without “greed”. Greed is a foreign concept brought over by the “illegal aliens” now called “Americans.”
The only way to describe this dysfunctional phenomenon is through the grouping of words describing a questionable action. The word Wasin Icuna or “Takes the Fat” is used to describe greedy, white men. An example of how this translates into “greed” is as follows.
If you are a Nakota and you are sharing some meat with a friend, you always give that person the best part or portion – this is the Indigenous way. On a nice piece of Ptehcaka “Buffalo” meat, a good part would have a nice section of “fat” on it. Again, the Nakota would give the piece with the fat to their friend in a sharing, generous manner – which is all the Nakota knew!
The language of the Nakota throws out all the lies taught in America’s schools and can free the minds of the suffering children – if the truth is allowed into the minds of the adults who teach them, care for them, and are responsible for their well-being.
No Apology Accepted
Reconciliation: getting back together with estranged spouse, having once been married. Rejoining.
Indigenous Red “Indian” Nations and Peoples Indigenous to Great Turtle Island (misnomer “western hemisphere”) were never married to “America”, and so cannot “reconcile.” There isn’t a word for “sorry” in the Indigenous Nakota Language. A perpetrator of wrong must simply learn from their mistake, not make the mistake again, and make proper restitution and reparations for their wrongdoing – something the u.s. government has yet to do.
Indigenous Red Nations have always and forever inhabited Great Turtle Island – having never “migrated” from somewhere else. Indigenous peoples never considered themselves as “conquered “ because they are still living and breathing. Currently, oppressive actions are directed towards and against Indigenous Red Peoples via oppressive and dominating government bureaucrats.
The following acts of genocide must be resolved. NO APOLOGY will be accepted from any u.s. federal, state, or local government official by any Indigenous person until the following depredations and Treaty violations are corrected:
1. STOLEN GOLD from the Sacred He Sapa “Black Hills, South Dakota” valued at nine trillion dollars ($9,000,000,000,000) stored as “stolen property” in Fort Knox, Kentucky, must be returned – with accompanying reparations, fines, restitution, depredation fines (view the actual “1851 Treaty of Long Meadows” at www.1851Treaty.com) – to its rightful owners, the Lakota Nation.
2. Reparations, fines, and depredation (see “1851 Treaty”) payments to the Lakota for the PAST AND DAILY THEFT OF COAL from the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie Territories in Wyoming.
This coal is the driving power of electricity and lighting to commerce and governments including the critical information highway and entertainment industry afforded by computers, DVD players, and video games to hundreds of millions of u.s. homes. NOT ONE CENT has been paid to the Lakota peoples since its ongoing theft.
To this minute, the u.s. government continues to steal from the DaNakota Nation Citizenry.
America must become HUMAN enough to:
A. Officially halt ALL atrocities against all Indigenous Nations.
B. Reparate with interest ALL monies owed to Indigenous Peoples, return stolen property, stop thieving, compensate adequately and fairly.
Then, possibly the Nakota Nation will gather together within each of their communities in male and female talking circles (true democracy currently oppressed) to discuss a possibility of “conciling” with the government and citizens of the “United States.”
For more information, see www.1851Treaty.com
Origin stories tell of life beginning for the Lakota in a cave that is located in what is now Wind Cave National Park on the southern edge of the Black Hills of South Dakota.
The people emerged from the cave to join their relatives the Pte or buffalo, which were to assist the people by sustaining life and providing shelter, clothing and tools.
The Lakota were nomadic; moving from the Great Plains to the Great Lakes and then to what is now North Carolina and back to Minnesota and then once again to the Black Hills.
Victor Douville, Rosebud historian, said that star knowledge puts the Lakota in the Black Hills in 1700 B.C.
“It is important to understand our history, it is important to understand us as a people. The old ways, the origins give us basis,” Douville said.
The origin stories were used in land claims, especially for the Black Hills settlement that gave the courts enough evidence to prove the Lakota had title to the Black Hills, and that the land should not have been taken from them.
The Sicangu are part of the Lakota, one of the seven council fires of the Great Sioux Nation. Sicangu means the Burnt Thigh people. The name was acquired when a prairie fire erupted near a lake in now eastern South Dakota and to escape many ran into the lake while others jumped through the fire, burning their thighs, thus the name. The Sicangu are also part of the Brule, some of whom live on the Lower Brule Reservation, along the Missouri River.
Before the treaties were established and reservations set, the Lakota roamed the prairies of what is now Nebraska, Wyoming and South Dakota following the vast herds of buffalo for survival.
As the white migration took place, the Sicangu were part of the Lakota who fought the settlers and the U.S. Military to protect their lands.
Today the Sicangu and all Lakota consider the ground where the Battle of the Little Big Horn took place to be theirs, not the Crow on whose reservation the battlefield is located.
“We let it get out of our hands, the land is important to us. We allowed the non-Indian and the Crow to take it over,” Douville said.
In 1868 the Fort Laramie Treaty was looked upon as a treaty of peace to the Lakota, who retained the rights to more than 11 million acres of land for their use.
The treaty was supposed to end the Red Cloud wars. But in 1874, Lt. Col. George Custer led an illegal expedition into the Black Hills to find gold. That lead to the opening of the Black Hills by Congress and other lands were opened after the reservation system was established.
Spotted Tail, Sitting Bull and Red Cloud traveled to Washington, D.C. in 1875 to protest that thousands of miners had entered the Black Hills in search of gold, against the articles of the 1868 treaty.
Douville said Sinte Gleska (Spotted Tail), who was the leader of the Sicangu at the time of the reservation’s establishment, did not want to settle on the banks of the Missouri River in fear that his people would be forced to become farmers.
Spotted Tail led his people through the difficult times of settlement and war with the U.S. government. He was born in 1823 and was given the name Jumping Buffalo. He earned the name Spotted Tail when he became a warrior and wore a raccoon tail given to him by fur traders.
In 1855 Spotted Tail and two other men surrendered themselves at Fort Laramie to spare the rest of the tribe from harm after an unidentified Brule was charged with murder. While imprisoned for one year he learned to read and write English. He was saved from hanging by President Franklin Pierce.
The Spotted Tail agency in 1877 was located just south of White Clay, Neb., south of what is now the Pine Ridge Reservation. Spotted Tail would move his agency five times before establishing it at Rosebud in 1878. The Rosebud then became homeland to the Sicangu.
Spotted Tail became the last real chief of the Sincagu Lakota Oyate. He earned the title through his battle exploits and his diplomatic tact. He was not a hereditary chief. He refused to sign the sale of the Black Hills in 1875 and played a central role in the negotiations for the sale, to which no Lakota leader agreed.
Spotted Tail was chosen to be a shirt wearer, one of the highest honors for a Lakota man. He was killed by Crow Dog in 1881.
The Rosebud Reservation was opened to homesteading in 1904. The Allotment Act of 1887 reduced the land owned by the Sicangu and the tribe from 3.3 million acres to less than 900,000 acres. Each family was given a parcel of land, the tribe was given acreage and the rest was opened to homesteaders for sale at the rate of $2.50 per acre.
In the late 19th century the U.S. government assigned religious groups to open schools and missions on the reservations in order to assimilate the American Indian.
The Rosebud was assigned to the Episcopal and Catholic churches. St. Francis Mission, now the town of St. Francis became a boarding school where many people were educated over the years, many on the Rosebud today, people in their mid-50s remember the boarding school days at St. Francis. Some remember those days fondly, others with disgust.
Speaking Native language was prohibited and many traditional students would sneak away and hide behind buildings in order to speak their language. The tribe took over the school and it is now a contract, tribal school still located at St. Francis with a new building on the edge of town, away from the mission.
The Rosebud Sioux Tribe is an IRA tribe – meaning they adopted the federal government’s Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 that forced them to establish a constitution much like the U.S.’s and use blood quantum to ID members. They have administrative officers and a tribal council, a president that serves for two-year terms and a vice president who are elected at large. The 13 districts that make up the political structure of the reservation elect 20 representatives to serve on the tribal council.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
David Melmer writes for Indian Country Today.
©2004 Indian Country Today
Custer’s Last Stand Poster
Representatives from many Native nations of the Plains will come together today for the 138th anniversary of the Battle of Little Big Horn, where a re-dedication ceremony of the newly completed Indian Memorial will take place.
Doug Bissonette, the Pine Ridge spokesman for the family of Crazy Horse, said the Big Horn Riders will arrive from Pine Ridge in two groups of 20, “as they do each year in memory of the battle.” Northern Cheyenne youth, whose ancestors fought at Little Big Horn, will also participate with a run to honor them.
Lakota historian and author Donovin Sprague said, “The purpose of the Indian Memorial is to honor American Indian people whose names were often not included.” Sprague is a descendant of Crazy Horse, High Backbone (Hump), and other battle participants.
The Indian Memorial represents warrior-descendants of the battle from 17 tribes throughout the Northern Plains and Oklahoma. Engravings, artwork and imagery honor Native participants who fought and died in the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The theme is “Peace Through Unity.”
Peace through unity was echoed by Traditional Chief Phillip Whiteman, Northern Cheyenne, who said, “My great-grandparents were chiefs and warriors at Little Big Horn and we carry this message to the future generations. Days before the battle, my ancestors were summoned to Medicine Deer Rock, which is a portal to a higher dimension. Sitting Bull had a vision there of soldiers falling into the camp like locusts. That vision, that dream, has propelled us forward to where we are today. Medicine Deer Rock reminds us that the old formula of resistance, of being against something, is over now. That whole thought process is over. We have to stand up for what we are for, not against,” Whiteman said.
“Our ancestors were given a clear message. In order for our two-legged to exist together collectively, we have to walk in peace, balance and harmony for all living things. Air, land, water, language, and culture are all one and the same. Today we have the opportunity to return to that oneness. The Battle of Little Big Horn is part of the paradigm shift—it is part of the bigger vision of what our ancestors came together for at Rosebud Creek, near the Medicine Deer Rock: of learning to fight not to fight.”
On June 6, 1876, a Sun Dance was held at Rosebud Creek near Medicine Deer Rock. Somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 people had come together from different tribes. Chief John Grass, Hunkpapa Lakota, reported that Crazy Horse was there, and Sitting Bull was singing and “making himself holy.” They knew from the vision that Custer was coming, and they were prepared. “We had scouts for many days watching Custer and Crook,” Grass said in a testimony he gave Colonel Welch in 1915.
Grass said that close to 600 men left a trail for Custer to find. “Custer never knew about this part of our march, but he should have known,” Grass said.