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            A Guide to the Great Sioux Nation

            Overview of the Great Sioux Nation

            Picture the "he sapa," a range of pine-covered mountains so
            green they look black from a distance. Mysterious "mako sica"
            or "bad land," a mass of buttes and spires that stretches as far as
            the eye can see. Imaginea colorful "wacipi," a powwow filled
            with traditional singing and dancing. And legendary leaders like
            Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull. This is South Dakota, home of the
            Great Sioux Nation. Here, you can discover the sweeping prairie
            that captured your imagination in "Dances With Wolves." Here,
            you can meet the people whose heritage and culture run through
            that land like a strong, steady stream.

            Great Beginnings. Several theories concerning the origin of the
            Great Sioux Nation exist. Many creation stories trace the nation's
            birth to the Black Hills of South Dakota. Others say the people
            of the "Oceti Sakowin" migrated to the area from the woodlands
            of Minnesota.

            The Path to History. The seven original bands of the Great
            Sioux Nation were joined in an alliance called the "Oceti
            Sakowin," or "Seven Council Fires." This confederation of
            tribes spoke three dialects. The Santee spoke Dakota. The
            Yankton originally used Nakota, but many adopted the Dakota
            dialect in the mid-1800s. And the Teton spoke Lakota. The term
            "Sioux," short for "nadouessioux" or "little snakes," actually
            came from the Chippewa, a longtime foe. Over the years, it has
            been widely adopted. However, the people of the Great Sioux
            Nation prefer to be called Dakota, Lakota, or Nakota, according
            to their language group. A rich oral tradition relates the values,
            culture, and spirituality of the Great Sioux Nation. The stars,
            known as the Great Spirit's holy breath, the sun and the earth
            figure prominently in this tradition. Today, as yesterday, the
            people of the Great Sioux Nation seek to live in harmony with
            the universe.

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