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I am. Sure. This program was produced by our national educational radio under a grant from the National Home Library Foundation and was compiled through the facilities of a US be radio at the University of South Dakota. This is a story of ruffled feathers. The Lakota Sioux in transition. You're right I am. The second program in a series on the Dakota Indian of South Dakota deals primarily with the history of the Dakotas between 1750 and 1900 during those one hundred and fifty years a Dakotas emerged as the major Indian power on the Great Plains and subsequently were crushed by the armed might of the United States. Although many Entire books have been written on Dakota history this program
will deal only with some of the highlights. No one knows the exact origin of the Dakota. We do know that the Dakota are one of many tribes belonging to the Sioux and Language Group members of which were living along the Atlantic seaboard as late as 750. It is supposed that the Dakotas migrated from the southeast part of the United States into the plains area and by the fifteen hundred were residing west of Lake Michigan. Later migrations in search of food moved them into what is presently Minnesota. Dr Adamson whole regions professor of anthropology at the University of Minnesota for his study of the Plains Indians told me that most Plains tribes describe their own origin as being near a large body of water generally interpreted to be the Malacca lake region of north central Minnesota. Soon that we know are the Dakotas they prefer to be Cod. And because the latter term indicates that they are friends whereas if you call them the Sioux.
This is the same as calling them snakes and they are much more sensitive today. Then they want swearing to the terminology just as the negroes are. The Sioux and part of a much larger family but the decline of the Dakota. Or sue that we know and Dakota came here from Minnesota. They came in the latter half of the 19th century I'm sorry. For the most part. And they came in slow stages different tribes coming at different times. Coming in part because of pressure from other tribes that had an advantage over them as they had guns. Chippewa for example. Or according to legend coming in part because of the scarcity of Buffalo so that in order to find the buffalo they came out into the Missouri country. When they came they had the territory it was in part occupied. They were
agricultural Indians they recrossed along the Missouri. And so there was some readjustment as they decoded pushed out onto the planes. This is a gradual process and there's a gradual change among the Sioux themselves. Having lived in a temperate area. And hearing canoes for example and then coming out on the plains. And having to adapt to the plains and finding a horse or being able to trade horses and developing a culture which some people assume is the Dakota culture and actually was saying a culture of comparatively short duration something on the order of a hundred years. But if you take the late 18th century on up until they're cooped up on reservations you don't have much more than 100 yards where these are the people about whom we are talking. That was Dr. Everett Sterling assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Dakota. He along with Dr. Earle Bragdon Harold Young and Jake
urban will help me tell the story of the Dakotas. As Dr. Sterling mentioned the decoder were forced to leave Minnesota for two major reasons. The woods were filled with Chippewa Indians who were powerful and had guns and because of overcrowding. Food shortages had cropped up so the Dakota moved westward to follow the buffalo. Let it go to left Minnesota in major tribal groupings of which there are three. The Tetons were the first to leave followed by the Yankton and finally by the Santis took some time they encountered Indians of different culture. The misery the change itself from Woodland Indians of woodland dwelling Indians to Plains Indians I think was amazing for the time the shift over. Amazing for the time. Spent. The Sioux were known the Dakota known as standing fighters but they encountered different cultures as they moved. He was a real valley.
The Tetons encountered the RI Indians around the big bend area of the Missouri River in central South Dakota and battled with them between Big Bend and pier for about 30 years until 1792 the battle ended with the Reis being driven northward by the Tetons. The Oglala tribe of the Tetons who were the first to cross the Missouri River into the West Country they roamed over the western country where the buffalo were plentiful. Today the descendants of those old Lalo and drooly tribes live on the reservations of western South Dakota. They only found out for example when I got down on the Platte River and gave some of the more sedentary Indians their fits. And also gave some of our Western travelling Americans difficulties along the routes they on when they first moved into the what is now the state of South Korea and game was abundant in that according to some authorities they are interested in fur trading
and counted for a very sharp decline in a game that they had then to move south essentially him. Some of the Dakota did move to the Black Hills region and remained there a short period of time then moved back during this period of migrations here in Missouri Valley. The Yankton bands left Minnesota and first went into what is now Western Iowa. Later they moved into the James River Valley the Santee band remained in Minnesota for some time before they were forced and treated into moving into the lake region of northeastern South Dakota in 1825 a military expedition under the command of General Atkinson and major O'Fallon and set out for Dakota country. The purpose of their expedition was to impress upon the Indians the intense military power of the United States government while on the expedition major O'Fallon held consuls with bands of Dakotas. The first of which was held at Fort Kiowa eight miles above Chamberlain South Dakota. A treaty that was signed with many of the bands had three
main elements. First that the United States had the right to regulate trade with the Dakota. Second it only duly authorized Americans could trade with the Dakotas and finally that the United States agreed to receive the Dakota Indians into their friendship and under their protection. The 1830s saw two important events in the lives of the Dakota the famous Western artist Catalan came to Fort pier and May of 1832 and spent many weeks among the Indians doing paintings in 1835 the first Protestant mission was established in South Dakota. Missionaries working among the Dakotas reduced the Dakota language to writing and printed New Testaments Bibles dictionaries A Pilgrim's Progress and other articles in the Dakota language in the autumn of 1840 the official estimate of the coati Indians was twenty five thousand thirteen thousand of which were Tetons South Dakota was entirely Indian country until 1851 until this time the government thought of the Indian situation in
only very general terms and had no well formulated Indian policy. The government were interested in this sense that once they had them east to the west of the Mississippi. Then he would he would have segregated I think would be the correct term. I segregated group but perhaps the overall policy of long term policy would be assimilation. Yes this would be particularly true after the so called permanent front here broke down. The idea had been when Fort Snelling was set up and built of stone and Fort cropped on the outside of Omaha was construction that this would be a permanent Indian front here and these posts would be out on the edge here and they built them to last a century. Feeling that they would be needed that long. This is based upon a notion Schoolcraft for example who is an authority on the Indians of this area who said that if you drew a line north and south through the mouth of the Vermilion River which
is our own stream here it would be as though God had said that when white men passed beyond that point that they would not stop to settle until they reached the mountains. That he expected the plains would be peopled by a new group of Tartars and those who lived on horseback and the plains that did not have timber would be even though it's not a desert. Nevertheless it was ideally suited to Buffalo and the Indians were ideally suited to the buffalo and that they could live to live off of the buffalo and the white man didn't need in a tremendous pasture area and so all of this would be from him and from terror. Indian policy did have some precedents to fall back on however with regard to jurisdiction over the Indians. Congress was deemed responsible for the Indians and was to vs Georgia. The court said that these Indian nations tribes had political boundaries but the court used the term pupil ij. They were then as you
say depended upon the Congress of the United States. Dr Stirling explains the reasoning behind the decision and Worster versus Georgia as early as the Supreme Court cases involving the creeks and Cherokees in Georgia. And the court has taken the stand that. Even though Indians were not quite like other citizens of the United States nevertheless they were not a truly a foreign nation. That this was a dependent nation. Which means then they are dependent upon the will of the Congress of the United States and the Supreme Court it seems to me uniformly has refused to go back to question the intent. Congress in dealing with its essential awards during the time between 18:00 in 1850 the SU continued to do battle with neighboring tribes as well as settlers miners and travellers passing through to go to country. There were a
number of engagements some small others not so small but too numerous to accurately record. Undoubtedly there are any number of conflicts but these are small and Gage wins. Unless you had seen the winter counter the historical account for each tribe so that they would remember the outstanding events in particular here. And this is the only form of record that we would have except as perhaps Lewis and Clark or some of her traitors picked up stories of particular engagements and out of a long series of what we would consider minor engagements. Here is an example of a winter account mentioned by Dr. Stirling. This is a history of the Oglala Sioux kept by John. No yours. The entry for eight thousand twenty eight reads. Many man Dan was killed 1830 killed plenty of white buffaloes 1834 a Cheyenne was killed on his way home
1839 while in condition of starvation they went on to attack an enemy. These records constitute a tribal history from 17 59 to 19 18 with one entry made each year beginning with treaties made 18 0 5 the purpose of almost every treaty presented by the government was to take away Indian lands reducing the size of Indian lands or reservations so to speak right at the start. Then South Dakota was virtually in one big reservation. Then you may restrict them from hunting down the Republican River along the Platte River. You were never away at this big reservation so the Yankton Who were some of them resided right here on the bluffs where we now set. Will make a treaty and agree to go up and beyond from the town of Yankton onto a small reservation. Then they are really cooped up.
In the creation of Indian reservations Congress left a way for the reservation land to be penetrated by non Indians as Dr Breggin explains. Then there were two types of reservations an open reservation a close reservation open reservation meant that homesteading would be allowed on the reservation closed no homestead. So it's a process of gradually making the reservations smaller with a coupe in the process. The last treaty with the Dakota was signed on April 29 1868. This treaty was made with 10 bands of the coda and reserved all of the lands west of the Missouri River as a permanent reservation. The Indians released all of their lands east of the Missouri except for the Crow Creek yanked and insisted on reservations in the past. This lane was coming to the room by all assuming they were united in the fact that treaty this thinking gets negated certain provision moon is or even to be located near a man whom I had the
treaty system sometimes used and abused by greedy people an unscrupulous government officials finally fell by the wayside. Yankton 1971 stated that the United States would no longer signed treaties to use the term with Indian tribes but they would sign agreements with them. Therefore perhaps the term to evolve a term in agreement might be a compact somewhat like an interstate compact let's say. But probably the Indians after 1871 still viewed these as treaties along a series of treaties beginning well in the beginning the 1930s. On through to 1871. The treaty system was used in a compact system to use that term. To. Get land from the Indians but one thing credit should be pointed out in most of these treaties are agreements after 80 71.
They were allowed and guaranteed hunting privileges. Still this whole concept carrying over that it should be allowed a privilege to hunt after bright dimensions after 1871 the government no longer signed treaties with the Indians but the Indians still consider the agreements as treaties. The government acquired by agreement the Black Hills of South Dakota but not until 1877 after General Custer and his men had invaded Indian land in violation of treaties. But of course we all know the story of Custer's last stand. Jake Herman explains one Indian viewpoint on the treaties and the Black Hills situation with a lot of misunderstanding in the old days when the N Drew Truman for climbing. Remember they were rumors that lived out and when they Keith came in the government gave them a ration and the fact that all are wild game of killed or they had to accept certain things and if the government
felt like they did when they resisted why they let him starve for they come in they sign a treaty and that's not good. There are traitors in the citizen who would use pressure on Congress to do certain things in the Congress and the army would have a different attitude and resolve. You know and always be raids and hunger and the thing that you take and then when he is hungry he gets desperate. You're in a founding in didn't have no resolution but he felt like to the only game with carry on carry law and he didn't want to adopt that way that the only way to fight that he didn't gain what he wanted out of feeling that he had even truer thumbed to do broken according to if you read the history none of them that well liked a black killed at a sacred ground and the Indians own at up to 70 ficht and then never saw lie to him. Eight hundred seventy seven during that
period cut to come in their own gold miners come in their review to overawe do on our own when we know how to take them out and we couldn't get them out of there for they had to do it a certain way. There was a treaty broken there one of the main crew the all that coolness taken out at him. What are the fault of the miner in the goal sink or fault of the arm and fault of the people for want and goal. Indian knew what good will and didn't know how to use it. The Indians were disturbed about the invasion of the Black Hills for more than simple monetary reasons. The Black Hills or re sapa were sacred lambs they call it sacred because it didn't blight killed like a mention that of the home of the founder of or and I had at home a wall a wild animal and the Eagle where they caught their Eagle where they got their tent pole where they got to carry and and moved here with up that they had to turn toward to a killed in battle or buried out
that naturally they go and then they call it. They could quit they offered peace pipe and paid paid fortune out of that crude legend with the continued confinement of the Indians to the reservations restricted from following their old way of life. A new concept of provisional care was adopted by both Indian and government. Implicit in it is an understanding that and the Indians no longer can live off the buffalo law and that they are going to have to be educated and imparting understanding is the jungle Sam will substitute for the buffalo and he becomes a quartermaster and also the teacher. And but this he he in will have an end and this will go on for a certain period of years perhaps under the treaty and with the expectation or the hope that at the end of that period the Indians then would be self-supporting so to speak.
Perhaps the saddest happening of the government's relationship with the Indians was the Wounded Knee massacre. Over 200 of some 250 men women and children were savagely killed during the height of the Messiah craze. To talk about The Wanted need for one would have to go to know about it and talk about the vision that we welcome had. We woke up it was a Piute Indian who had a vision that there was going to be a later earth come. Over the entire United States and this layer of earth would cover up everything including the white man. And behind it would come the Indian as he was before the white man came. We both wish that this would happen providing they would dance and fast and dance them or dance and dance and fast. It's amazing how fast a vision like this would spread from camp to camp. It came back to the Dakotas.
Two of the leaders one of them happened to be from Rose but made that journey player to the Paiute reservation to get a first hand. They then returned and began to dance. Of course sitting on the Grand River was doing quite a bit of this dancing and many of his followers were more or less in a frenzy as a result of this dancing. And after he was killed many of them went down around Cherry Creek South Dakota that's on the Cheyenne River Reservation and they joined up with a group of endings that had been dancing down there. In fact there was a group danced down there during the early 80s. I recall visiting with a lady by the name of Virginia travesty. She told me that in the late 80s they close the school because the Indians were so wrought up over this
particular ghost dance they would go into trances in the school. They'd stay up half the night you know dancing and dancing and they'd get excited and go into these trances. She said it was rather scary big what moved his followers down from Cherry Creek to Wounded Knee Creek just north of Highway 18 in southwestern South Dakota. All the details of the battle are clearly marked on the grounds there including the location of Bigfoots tent. Bigfoot himself was a sick man anyway. They don't know for sure what he had but they supposed he had pneumonia or something of that order. They camped right out on one in the creek where the battlefield turned out to be or the massacre field you might call it the next day or so. The army the cavalry from Fort Robinson which isn't a short distance really from the plain raised down near Crawford Nebraska came up. They started disarming the Indians and they
of course planted the howitzers and gatling guns on the ridge above the Indian camp. No one really knows for sure who fired the first shot they say that and that it was an Indian that fired the first shot. That the shots began to fire rather rapidly of course according to all the old fellows that I've talked to they started shooting people started falling in all directions and they just ran for their lives. Not very many of them got away but some of them did get away. And it's a known fact that they found women and children two to two and a half miles away from the camp where the soldiers had run them down and killed them and other words a group of men went berserk. Jake Herman a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe looks back on the battle a little sad but with a modern philosophy. The fact is that at that time I mean I didn't understand the religion I mean in other words you said. Nowadays we have the three
drifting through the need to become millionaires. So people we have 200 need because dancers know what they want to kill for. Government policy and plans for the Indian have their ups and downs. Every so many years the approach to the Indian situation changes although the same goal of assimilation is retained. This is sometimes called the pendulum theory as far as Indian policy is concerned the dollar Xacto the allocation Act of 1887 allowed individual ownership of land 160 acres of land actually held in trust by the government for 25 years before the union obtained title to it. But all of the lands that were not signed under the allocation Act were sold by the federal government so that the Dawes Act it passed as far seeing legislation attempt to help the Indian assimilate in joining. Merican
society by 1934 based upon the depression and desire to make services available to the Indians the Reorganization Act of that year the Howard Act which was a vast shift of change in Indian policy. The Wheeler Howard act had many provisions it allowed for credit a credit system a price the most important provision. It allowed tribes to write constitutions and By-Laws and become self-governing So the Wheeler Howard act look to Home Rule or self-government. But many people believe that the Howard act turned the clock back to prior to 1887 or as one representative described it in Congress a back to the blanket policy. If you if your overall plan within Indian policy is to lead to assimilation many people believe that the Howard act was a
step backward. The American Indian was truly the first inhabitant of this great country yet in many cases he was not allowed the rights of citizenship. The government determined through a number of court cases and congressional action that the Indian was a domestic problem and not to be considered foreign. That the Indian was responsible to Congress that Congress had the right to regulate trade with the Indians and to set boundaries for the Indian tribes. It took however an amendment to the Constitution to assure the Indian one of the most basic rights of citizenship the 14th Amendment for the American Indian was one thousand twenty four Act which made all Indians who were not previously citizens by treaties or recognition by Congress or citizens of the United States and citizens of the state wherein they lived. So the. Nine hundred twenty four would be a watershed year for the American Indian. But there were certain limitations as to rights of citizenship.
For example voting privileges the franchise also in the purchase of alcoholic beverages 953 this changed with what we would call a local option given to various tribal councils and they decide as to whether or not they want to sell alcoholic beverages. And then in a post World War Two era. States have removed the restrictions concerning voting rights so that. Perhaps you could say that as of now the Indians are full citizens. Perhaps by the letter of the law the Indians are full citizens. But there are still many issues concerning the Dakota Indian issues about terminations of government services to the Indian assumption of legal jurisdiction by the state of South Dakota job training and poverty programs employment education and Prejudice selected facets of all of these issues will be examined in programs to come. I'd like to
thank Dr. Sterling and braggin of the University of South Dakota faculty Harold shank Agency director of the Rosebud Reservation and Jay Kerman of Pine Ridge South Dakota for information they have contributed to this program. This is Arlin diamond speak. To ruffle feathers. The Dakota zoo in transition was produced through the facilities of care us be ready oh at the University of South Dakota a grant from the National Home Library Foundation has made possible the production of this program for national educational radio. This is the national educational radio network.
Ruffled feathers: The Dakota Sioux
Contemporary Sioux history
Producing Organization
University of South Dakota
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on contemporary Sioux history. The movement of the Sioux peoples is traced. Other issues covered include Indian treaties; Indian wars; impact of non-Indian settlement; and the impact of the reservation system.
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A documentary series about the history, culture and contemporary problems of the Sioux, a Native American tribe.
Race and Ethnicity
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Host: Diamond, Arlen
Producing Organization: University of South Dakota
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-10-2 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Duration: 00:29:05
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Chicago: “Ruffled feathers: The Dakota Sioux; Contemporary Sioux history,” 1967-02-08, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 16, 2024,
MLA: “Ruffled feathers: The Dakota Sioux; Contemporary Sioux history.” 1967-02-08. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 16, 2024. <>.
APA: Ruffled feathers: The Dakota Sioux; Contemporary Sioux history. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from