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Oceti Sakowin

Seven Council Fires

The proper name for the people commonly known as the Sioux is Oceti Sakowin, (Och-et-eeshak-oh-win) meaning Seven Council Fires.

The original Sioux tribe was made up of Seven Council Fires. Each of these Council Fires was made up of individual bands, based on kinship, dialect and geographic proximity.

Sharing a common fire is one thing that has always united the Sioux people. Keeping of the peta waken (sacred fire) was an important activity. On marches, coals from the previous council fire were carefully preserved and used to rekindle the council fire at the new campsite.

The Seven Council Fires are:

  • Mdewakanton - Dwellers by the Sacred Lake
  • Wahpekute - Shooters Among the Leaves
  • Sisitonwan/Sisseton - People of the Marsh
  • Wahpetonwan - Dwellers Among the Leaves
  • Ihanktown/Lower Yanktonai - People of the End
  • Ihanktowana/Upper Yanktoni - People of the Little End
  • Tetonwan - People on the Plains

The seven bands of the Tetonwan, or Teton group are:

  • Hunkpapa - Camps at the Horn (Standing Rock & Wood Mountain, Canada)
  • Sicangu/Brule' - Burnt Thigh (Rosebud & Lower Brule)
  • Itazipo/Sans Arc - Without Bows (Cheyenne River)
  • Sihasapa - Blackfeet (Cheyenne River & Standing Rock)
  • Oglala - Scatters His Own (Pine Ridge)
  • Oohenumpa - Two Kettles (Cheyenne River)
  • Mniconjou Planters by the River (Cheyenne River)

 

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