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The Lakota are part of seven related Sioux tribes and speak Lakota, one of three major dialects of the Sioux language.
The Lakota obtained horses in the early 1700s and used them to hunt buffalo and move their villages when weather or grazing required it.
The Lakota were compelled to sign a treaty in 1877 ceding the Black Hills to the United States but there was continued unrest which ended up with the killing of Sitting Bull in 1890 followed by the Massacre of Wounded Knee the same year at Pine Ridge.
Tatanka, the Lakota word for buffalo, means "bull buffalo" or a male bison but has a greater spiritual and ceremonial significance to the Lakota. Because the buffalo provided food, clothing and shelter for the Lakota, the buffalo is treated with great respect.
The Four Directions - The Four Colors - The Four Races
The Medicine Wheel represents American Indian Spirituality - the journey each individual must take to find his or her path. The Medicine Wheel is based on the four cardinal directions and the four sacred colors. A circle represents life; at the center of the circle is the eternal fire.
There are various pairings of the colors with other groups of four and it varies greatly among tribes.
The four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
The cycle of a day: Dawn, Day, Dusk, Night
The four directions: East, South, West, North
The four races: White, Yellow, Red, Black
The four colors: White, Yellow, Red, Black
The four elements: Air, Water, Fire, Earth
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