Where do they Live?



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Where do they Live?

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The original Lakota/Dakota homelands were in what is now Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North and South Dakota. The Sioux traveled freely, however, and there was also significant Sioux presence in the modern states of Iowa, Nebraska, Montana, and northern Illinois, and in south-central Canada. Today, most Sioux people live in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Saskatchewan.

What did the women and men do?
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Sioux women were in charge of the home. Besides cooking and cleaning, a Dakota or Lakota woman built her family's house and dragged the heavy posts with her whenever the tribe moved. Houses belonged to the women in the Sioux tribes. Men were hunters and warriors, responsible for feeding and defending their families. Usually only men became Sioux chiefs, but both genders took part in storytelling, artwork and music, and traditional medicine.

What were there houses like?

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The Dakota and Lakota people lived in large buffalo-hide tents called Tipis (or teepees). Tipis were carefully designed to set up and break down quickly. An entire Sioux village could be packed up and ready to move within an hour. Originally tipis were only about 12 feet high, but after the Sioux acquired horses, they began building them twice that size. Today, Native Americans only put up a tepee for fun or to connect with their heritage. Most Sioux families live in modern houses and apartment buildings, just like you.

What did they wear?
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Sioux women wore long deerskin or elkskin dresses. Sioux men wore breechcloths and leggings and buckskin shirts. The Sioux also wore moccasins on their feet and buffalo-hide robes in bad weather. In colonial times, the Sioux adapted European costume such as vests, cloth dresses, and blanket robes.

What tools did they use?
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The Sioux tribes knew how to make birchbark and dugout canoes, but more often, they traveled overland. Originally the Sioux used dogs pulling travois (a kind of drag sled) to help them carry their belongings. Sioux warriors used bows and arrows, spears, war clubs, and buffalo-hide shields. Hunters also used snares, and when Lakota or Dakota men hunted buffalo, they often set controlled fires to herd the animals into traps or over cliffs.



What did they eat?

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Originally the Lakota and Dakota Indians were corn farmers as well as hunters, but once they acquired horses they mostly gave up farming, and moved frequently to follow the seasonal migrations of the buffalo herds. Most of their diet was meat, especially buffalo, elk and deer, which they cooked in pits or dried and pounded into pemmican. The Sioux also collected chokecherries, fruit, and potatoes to eat.


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