Culture and Customs of the Sioux Indians

Culture and Customs of the Sioux Indians

Culture and Customs of the Sioux Indians

Culture and Customs of the Sioux Indians


The Sioux are a Native American people who live in reservations and communities within Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, and Wisconsin, as well as certain provinces in Canada. According to U.S. Census Report data, over 150,000 individuals identify themselves as Sioux--more than any other tribe besides Cherokee, Navajo, Latin American Indian, and Chocktaw.

"Culture and Customs of the Sioux Indians" reveals the details of the Sioux' past, such as wars and conflicts, historical tools, technology, and traditional housing. It also provides a comprehensive examination of the Sioux in the modern world, covering topics such as religion, education, social customs, gender roles, rites of passage, lifestyle, cuisine, arts, music, and much more. Readers will discover how the Sioux today merge traditional customs that have survived their tumultuous history with contemporary culture.


Writing a book about Sioux history and culture poses a number of issues. Perhaps the most difficult task is distilling the hundreds of studies of the Sioux and decades of personal research into a single treatment of a people. One goal was to emphasize not only the development of Sioux cultures and societies but also to explain the meaning of the course of Sioux history. Another goal was to explain how developments throughout the rest of the world influenced Sioux societies because the Sioux did not exist in a vacuum.

Each scholar develops a perspective about his or subject derived from his or her own background, not just the sources. In my case, this perspective emanates from an experiential base that includes being Indian (Chippewa), a PhD in British Empire Studies, a scholarly interest in the Oglala Lakota in particular, and nearly 17 years as an administrator-instructor at Oglala Lakota College on Pine Ridge Reservation. Since 1997, I have taught American Indian Studies at the University of North Dakota. This experience has allowed me to incorporate historic and cultural studies for other societies into a maturing view of Sioux history and culture.

Explanation of some vocabulary I have used is obligatory because many readers are confused by the complexity of the Sioux. “Sioux” is a problematic word as it is imprecise and yet is used to encompass a people, society, and a history of societies that have formed and changed over more than 700 years. But we are stuck with it. Suffice it to say that “Sioux” is used to indicate the . . .

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