1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sioux

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

SIOUX, a tribe of North American Indians. The name is an abbreviation of the French corruption Nadaouesioux of the Algonquian name Nadowesiwug, “little snakes.” They call themselves Dakotas (“allies”). They were formerly divided into seven clans: hence the name they sometimes used, Otceti Cakowin, “the seven council-fires.” There was a further distribution into eastern and western Sioux. The former were generally sedentary and agricultural, the latter nomad horsemen. The Sioux were ever conspicuous, even among Indians, for their physical strength and indomitable courage. Their original home was east of the Alleghanies, but in 1632 the French found them chiefly in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Thereafter driven westward by the Ojibwa and the French, they crossed the Missouri into the plains. The Sioux fought on the English side in the War of Independence and in that of 1812. In 1815 a treaty was made with the American government by which the right of the tribe to an immense tract, including much of Minnesota, most of the Dakotas, and a large part of Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri and Wyoming, was admitted. In 1835 missions were started among the eastern Sioux by the American Board, and schools were opened. In 1837 the tribe sold all their land east of the Mississippi. In 1851 the bulk of their Minnesota territory was sold, but a hitch in the carrying out of the agreement led to a rising and massacre of whites in 1857 at Spirit Lake on the Minnesota-Iowa border. There was peace again till 1862, when once again the tribe revolted and attacked the white settlers. A terrible massacre ensued, and the punitive measures adopted were severe. Thirty-nine of the Indian leaders were hanged from the same scaffold, and all the Minnesota Sioux were moved to reservations in Dakota. The western Sioux, angry at the treatment of their kinsmen, then became thoroughly hostile and carried on intermittent war with the whites till 1877. In 1875 and 1876 under their chief, Sitting Bull, they successfully resisted the government troops, and finally Sitting Bull and most of his followers escaped into Canada. Sitting Bull returned in 1881. In 1889 a treaty was made reducing Sioux territory. Difficulties in the working of this, and religious excitement in connexion with the Ghost Dance craze, led to an outbreak in 1890. Sitting Bull and three hundred Indians were killed at Wounded Knee Creek, and the Sioux were finally subdued. They are now on different reservations and number some twenty-four thousand. See Indians, North American.