Dakota Indian Divisions

Early explorers usually distinguished the Dakota Indians into an Eastern or Forest and a Western or prairie division. A more complete and accurate classification, one which is also recognized by the people themselves, is the following:

  1. Mdewakanton
  2. Wahpeton
  3. Wahpekute
  4. Sisseton
  5. Yankton
  6. Yanktonai
  7. Teton

Each of these are again subdivided into bands and subbands. These seven main divisions are often known as “the seven council fires.” The first four named together constitute the Isanyati, Santee, or eastern division, of which the Mdewakanton appear to be the original nucleus, and speak one dialect. Their home was in Minnesota prior to the outbreak of 1862. The Yankton and Yanktonai, the latter subdivided into (a) Upper and (b) Hunkpatina or Lower, held the middle territory between Lake Traverse and Missouri river in east Dakota, and together spoke one dialect, from which the Assiniboin was an offshoot. The great Teton division, with its subdivisions, Upper and Lower Brulé, Oglala, Sans Arcs, Sihasapa or Blackfoot, Miniconjou, Oohenonpa or Two Kettle, Hunkpapa, etc., and comprising together more than half the nation, held the whole tribal territory west of the Missouri and spoke one dialect.

Dakota Bands

The following are names of divisions, groups, or bands that are spoken of as pertaining to the Dakota Indians. Some of these have not been identified; others are mere temporary geographical or local bands:

  • Black Tiger
  • Broken Arrows
  • Cascarba
  • Cazazhita
  • Chanshushka
  • Chasmuna
  • Cheokhba
  • Cheyenne Sioux
  • Congewichacha
  • Farmer’s band
  • Fire Lodge
  • Flandreau Indians
  • Gens du Large
  • Grand Saux
  • Grey Eagle
  • Horheton
  • Late Comedu
  • Lean Bear
  • Long Sioux
  • Menostainenton
  • Micacoupsiba
  • Minisha
  • Neecoweegee
  • Nehogatawonahs
  • Newastarton
  • Northern Sioux
  • Ocatamenetons
  • Ohalikaskatohyante
  • Oughetgeodatons
  • Oujatespouitons
  • Pehiptecila
  • Pineshow
  • Psinchaton
  • Psinoumanitons
  • Psinoutanhinhintons
  • Rattling Moccasin
  • Red Leg’s band
  • Redwood
  • Shahsweentowahs
  • Sioux of the Broad Leaf
  • Sioux of the Des Moyan
  • Sioux of the East
  • Sioux of the Lakes
  • Sioux of the Meadows
  • Sioux of the River St Peter’s
  • Sioux of the West
  • Sioux of the Woods
  • Souon
  • Star band
  • Talonapi
  • Tashunkeeota,
  • Tateibombu’s band
  • Tatkannai
  • Ticicitan
  • Touchouasintons
  • Traverse de Sioux
  • Upper Sioux
  • Waktonila
  • White Cap Indians
  • White Eagle band
  • Wiattachechah


Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

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