Collection: The Siouan Indians

Siouan Migration

On reviewing the records of explorers and pioneers and the few traditions which have been preserved, the course of Siouan migration and development becomes clear. In general the movements were westward and northwestward. The Dakota tribes have not been traced far, though several of them, like the Yanktonnai, migrated hundreds of miles from the period of first observation to the end of the eighteenth century; then came the Mandan, according to their tradition, and as they ascended the Missouri left traces of their occupancy scattered over 1,000 miles of migration; next the ȼegiha descended the Ohio and passed from the cis-Mississippi forests over the trans-Mississippi plains-the stronger branch following the Mandan, while the lesser at first descended the great river and then worked up the Arkansas into the buffalo country until checked and diverted by antagonistic tribes. So also the Ɉɔiwe’re, first recorded near the Mississippi, pushed 300 miles westward; while the Winnebago gradually emigrated from the region of the Great Lakes into the trans-Mississippi country even before their movements were affected by contact with white men. In like manner the Hidatsa are known to have flowed northwestward many scores of miles; and the Asiniboin swept more rapidly across the plains from the place of their rebellion against the Yanktonnai, on the Mississippi, before they found final resting place on the Saskatchewan plains 500 or 800 miles away. All...

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Dakota-Asiniboin

The Dakota are mentioned in the Jesuit Relations as early as 1639-40; the tradition is noted that the Ojibwa, on arriving at the Great Lakes in an early migration from the Atlantic coast, encountered representatives of the great confederacy of the plains. In 1641 the French voyageurs met the Potawatomi Indians flying from a nation called Nadawessi (enemies); and the Frenchmen adopted the alien name for the warlike prairie tribes. By 1658 the Jesuits had learned of the existence of thirty Dakota villages west-northwest from the Potawatomi mission St Michel; and in 1689 they recorded the presence of tribes apparently representing the Dakota confederacy on the upper Mississippi, near the mouth of the St Croix. According to Croghan’s History of Western Pennsylvania, the “Sue” Indians occupied the country southwest of Lake Superior about 1759; and Dr. T. S. Williamson, “the father of the Dakota mission,” states that the Dakota must have resided about the confluence of the Mississippi and the Minnesota or St Peters for at least two hundred years prior to 1860. According to traditions collected by Dorsey, the Teton took possession of the Black Hills region, which had previously been occupied by the Crow Indians, long before white men came; and the Yankton and Yanktonnai, which were found on the Missouri by Lewis and Clark, were not long removed from the region about Minnesota river. In 1862...

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The Siouan Indians

Out of some sixty aboriginal stocks or families found in North America above the Tropic of Cancer, about five-sixths were confined to the tenth of the territory bordering Pacific ocean; the remaining nine-tenths of the land was occupied by a few strong stocks, comprising the Algonquian, Athapascan, Iroquoian, Shoshonean, Siouan, and others of more limited extent. The Indians of the Siouan stock occupied the central portion of the continent. They were preeminently plains Indians, ranging from Lake Michigan to the Rocky mountains, and from the Arkansas to the Saskatchewan, while an outlying body stretched to the shores of the Atlantic.

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