Sioux Indian Tribe History
Teton (contr. of Titonwan,
'dwellers on the prairie'). The western and principal division of the
Dakota or Sioux, including all the bands formerly ranging west of Missouri
river, and now residing on reservations in South Dakota and North Dakota.
The bands officially recognized are.
Oglala of Pine Ridge agency
Brule of Rosebud and Lower Brule agencies
Two Kettle of Cheyenne River agency
Hunkpapa, etc., of Standing Rock agency.
Their history is interwoven with that of the other
Dakota and is little more than a recountal of attacks on other tribes and
on border settlers and emigrants. They were first met by Hennepin (1680)
20 or 30 leagues above the falls of St Anthony in Minnesota, probably at
Sauk rapids, on Mississippi river, about 70 miles above Minneapolis. He
places them in the neighborhood of Mille Lacs, far to the east of their
later home. Lahontan also enumerates them among the tribes on the upper
Mississippi, which leads to the conclusion that a part at least of the
Teton formerly lived in the prairie region, near the upper Mississippi,
though the main body may have been near upper Minnesota river Le Sueur in
1700 included them in the western Sioux, who lived between the upper
Mississippi and the Missouri. On a map of De I'Isle (1701) Lahw Traverse
is surrounded by villages of wandering Teton. Pachot (Margry, D6c , vi,
518, 1886) located them 80 leagues west of the Falls of St Anthony in
1722. Carver (1766) met at least a part of them at the extreme west point
of his journey up Minnesota river, about 200 miles from its mouth. The
younger Henry (Cones, New Light, i, 145, 1897) found them in 1800 on the
upper Missouri, where Lewis and Clark (Exped., 1, 98, 100, 1893)
encountered them a few years afterward. These explorers enumerate as
Tetons of the Burnt Woods (Brules), about 300 men, who rove on both sides
of Missouri, White, and Teton rivers.;
Tetons Okandandas (Oglala), 150 men, who inhabit both sides of the
Missouri below Cheyenne river;
Tetons Minnekineazzo, about 250 men, on both sides of the Missouri above
Tetons Saone, about 300 men, living on both sides of Missouri river below
Beaver creek. Gov. Ramsey said that they lived from Cannonball river south
to Niobrara river. (Rep. Ind. Aff. 1849, 84, 1850).
The Teton entered into a peace treaty with the United
States at Portage des Sioux, Mo., in 1815, which was confirmed by treaty
of June 22, 1825, at Ft Lookout, South Dakota. It was warriors of this
group who massacred Lieut. Grattan and his party at Ft Laramie, Wyo., in
1854; none, however, took part in the Minnesota massacre of 1862. In 1865
a commission concluded treaties with each of the several divisions of the
group, with provision for right of way through their territory. By treaty
of 1868 they first agreed to give up their free range and come upon a
reservation, including about all of South Dakota west of the Missouri
river. Under their chiefs, Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, and Sitting Bull, they
have been the principals in all the Indian wars and outbreaks of the
northern plains, notably in 1864, 1876, and 1890.
Gov. Ramsey characterizes the Teton as a large, finely
formed, tall, and vigorous people, hardy, indomitable, and restless
warriors, daring horsemen, and skilful hunters, possessing in perfection
"all the Indian virtues of bravery, cunning, treachery, and hospitality,"
true to each other and ready foes to all others.
Neill (Minn. Hist. Soc. Coll., 1, 258, 1872) says:
"They are the plundering Arabs of America, and have of late years been a
terror to the emigrants to the Pacific coast." According to Lewis and
Clark the interior policing of a village was confided to 2 or 3 officers
who were named by the chief for the purpose of preserving order and
remained in power some days, till the chief appointed their successors.
These were always on the watch to keep tranquility during the day and
guarded the camp at night. The short duration of their office was
compensated by its authority, their power being supreme, and in the
suppression of disturbance no resistance to them was suffered; their
persons were sacred, and if in the execution of their duty they even
struck a chief of the second class they could not be punished.
Riggs mentions as peculiarities of the Teton dialect,
compared with those of other divisions of the Dakota group, that g hard is
used for h of the Santee and k of the Yanktonai, and that, rejecting it
altogether, they use 1 in its stead.
The Teton is the most populous and important of the
Dakota divisions, constituting four-sevenths of the whole nation.
Lewis and Clark (1804) estimated them at 1,000 men,
about 4,000 souls, probably much less than the true number. The Indian
Bureau in 1842 estimated the total number at 12,000; Ramsey (1849), more
than 6,000; Riggs (1851), fewer than 12,500. The Indian Bureau in 1861
gave a total of 8,900. It is probable these estimates were below rather
than above the true number, as in 1890 the total Teton population was
16,426, and in 1909 the number, including Yanktonai bands at Standing Rock
agency, North Dakota, was 18,098. In addition about 100 of the Sitting
Bull refugees are still in Canada.
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historical value only and are not the
opinions of the Webmasters of the site.
of American Indians, 1906
Index of Tribes or Nations