Lakota History and Culture

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The Lakota nation, though short-lived, cannot sink from memory without a trace, showing a high standard of living, which is also worthy of emulation. It was a subdivision of the Great Sioux Nation that occupied the Northern-central part of the United States. They had established their reputation as great warriors, who kept a vigilant eye upon their territories and protected them from rivalry tribes. The Sioux people exploited horses and guns to their own advantage, becoming great hunters and providing themselves with basic necessities like food, tools, clothing and shelter. Their socio-economic independence was inextricably linked to killing buffalos or tatankas, as they called them. The animals helped the Sioux to survive and thrive in the prairie.

Religion played a crucial part in the lives of the Sioux. One of the most important ceremonies was the Hanblecheya or, in other words, crying out for the vision. It marked the transition from childhood to adulthood, when a boy had to find his place in society. The Lakota people believed that every individual had a talent and they gave every opportunity for cultivating and displaying that talent. They equally respected priests and doctors, as the main contributors to spiritual and physical well-being of their society. The Lakota people appreciated commitment as well as sacrifice and attached significance to all things around them. The major cornerstones of their lives were generosity, bravery, fortitude, and wisdom, which in the aggregate testified to high moral values and beliefs. It was such a caring nation that placed more emphasis on the well-being of the whole society rather than personal accomplishments, success or comfort. No wonder that people with high moral standards, virtues and exemplary lifestyle were almost extinguished by the more cunning, treacherous and hypocritical nation of the white men that intruded their territory in the 1860s and took control over everything. The Lakota people turned out to be unable to withstand the harsh reality, clinging to past glory and finding difficulty in adjusting to the new ways of existing.

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