Hunkpapa Sioux Tribe

Search Fold3 for your
Native American Records

Hunkpapa Tribe, Hunkpapa Indians, Hunkpapa Sioux Indians. ( Hunkpapa is variously interpreted ‘at the entrance, ‘at the head end of the circle,’ ‘those who camp by themselves,’ and `wanderers’). A division of the Teton Sioux. From the meager data relating to the history of this band it seeing probable that it is one of comparatively modern formation. When Hennepin, in 1680, found what are believed to have been the Teton as far as the banks of the upper Mississippi, no mention of the Hunkpapa at that early date or for 100 years there after can be found unless it be under some name yet unidentified. Their name is not mentioned by Lewis and Clark, though it is possible that the tribe is included in the Tetons Saone of those explorers. The name first appears as Honkpapa, and it is properly written Honkpapa in the treaty of 1825. It is evident that the tribe was then well known, although its history previous to this date is undetermined. The Tetons Saone were located by Lewis and Clark, in 1804, on both sides of the Missouri below Beaver creek, North Dakota, and were estimated at 300 men or 900 souls in 120 tipis. Ramsey (1849) gave their location as near Cannonball river. Culbertson (1850) gave their range as on the Cheyenne, Moreau, Grand, and Cannonball rivers, and estimated them at 320 tipis. Gen. Warren (1855) said that they lived on the Missouri near the mouth of the Moreau and roamed from the Big Cheyenne up to the Yellowstone, and west to the Black Hills. He states that they formerly intermarried extensively with the Cheyenne. His estimate of population is 365 tipis, 2,920 souls. He adds that many of the depredations along the Platte “are committed by the Unkpapas and Sihasapas.” It is indicative of their character that they were among the last of the Dakota to be brought upon reservations. The Indian agent, writing in 1854, says: “All the bands of Sioux have already received their presents with great appearance of friendship, excepting the Minnecowzues (Miniconjou), Blackfeet (Sihasapa), and Honepapas (Hunknapa). The former band are daily expected at the fort, and will gladly receive their annuities; but the Blackfeet and Honepapas still persist in refusing any annuities, and are constantly violating all the stipulations of the treaty. They are continually warring and committing depredations on whites and neighboring tribes, killing men and stealing horses. They even defy the Great Father, the President, and declare their intention to murder indiscriminately all that come within their reach. They, of all Indians, are now the most dreaded on the Missouri.” And when the agent finally succeeded in reaching them and holding a council with their chiefs at Fort Clark, they’ refused to receive the presents sent by the Government, stating that they did not want them, but preferred the liberty to take scalps and commit whatever depredations they pleased. They took part in most of the subsequent conflicts with the whites, as that at Ft Phil. Kearney and that with Custer on the Little Bighorn. The number of the band in 1891 was 571: these were gathered on Standing Rook Creek reservation, North and South Dakota.

The population is no longer given separately. The noted Sitting Bull was chief of this tribe, though in making treaties he signed also for the Oglala.

Subdivisions and Bands of the Hunkpapa Tribe

The Hunkpapa Tribe was broken down into subdivisions and bands. Their subdivisions as given by J. O. Dorsey are:

  1. Chankaokhan
  2. Cheokhba
  3. Tinazipeshicha
  4. Talonapin
  5. Kiglashka
  6. Chegnakeokisela
  7. Shikshichela
  8. Wakan
  9. Hunskachantozhuha

Culbertson1 mentions the following bands:

  • Devil’s medicine-man band (Wakan)
  • Half breechclout people (Chegnakeokisela)
  • Fresh meat necklace people (Talonapin)
  • Sleepy Kettle band (Cheokhba)
  • Sore backs (Chankaokhan)
  • Bad bows (Tinazipeshicha)
  • Those that carry
  • Fire-Heart’s band (Chantaapeta’s band) is supposed to be a part of the Hunkpapa.


  1. Culbertson, Smithson. Rep. 1850, 141, 1851 

MLA Source Citation:

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906. Web. 31 January 2015. - Last updated on Jul 26th, 2014

Categories: ,
Topics: , ,

Contribute to the Conversation!

Our "rules" are simple. Keep the conversation on subject and mind your manners! If this is your first time posting, we do moderate comments before we let them appear... so give us a while to get to them. Once we get to know you here, we'll remove that requirement.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Newsletter Signup

We currently provide two newsletters. Why not take both for a run?

Genealogy Update: We send out this newsletter whenever we feature a new, or significantly updated, collection or database on our website.

Circle of Nations: We send out this newsletter whenever we feature a new (or significantly updated) Native American collection or database on our website.

Once you've clicked on the Subscribe button above you'll receive an email from us requesting confirmation. You must confirm the email before you will be able to receive any newsletter.

Connect With Us!

Pin It on Pinterest


Share This

Share this post with your friends!