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The Cultureand Lifestyle of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe            TheStanding Rock Sioux Tribe has been around for decades and they are still aroundtoday, maintaining their culture and ways of life. The tribe is a part of a largergroup of Indigenous people: The Sioux people.

These plains people have sincedispersed throughout the Unites States and currently live in several different tribes.Many don’t live in tribes anymore, instead they have integrated themselves withthe average American. This paper is going to examine the Standing Rock SiouxTribe and how they are living their contemporary lives as a recognizedindigenous group of people. Sovereignty             Whenthe idea of sovereignty comes to mind when related to First Nations tribes, wetend to think of them being headstrong and independent in governing themselves.The Standing Rock Sioux tribe is no exception to either of those ideas. They areone of the federally recognized Native American Tribes in the U.S., meaningthat they practice sovereignty in their own ways of self governing themselves.

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Thereis a tribal council that helps decide on how to handle situations and disputesaffecting the Sioux people. Ways that they practice their sovereignty would bedealing with environmental issues, managing the tribe’s land, handling businessendeavors, and passing ordinances to keep their residents safe (Standing Rock,2017).             TheStanding Rock tribe provides services to their members that is separate fromthe U.

S. government. School, clubs, and banks name just a few services thatdefine them as a sovereign nation. One aspect that has caused controversy inrecent years that involves sovereignty is the growing number of casinos run bythe Sioux tribe. Standing Rock has become more and more open to the idea ofopening up casinos in order to expand themselves economically. This notion has beensaid to be a threat to the traditional values of the tribe, but some sayotherwise. According to James V.

Fenelon, “Ultimately, the traditionals are notfinding problems with any particular form of gambling on Standing Rock butrather, with a general weakening of the cultural forms that have sustainedresistance for more than 100 years” (p.394, 2006). This being said, casinos arenow being seen as a common form of practicing sovereignty within the StandingRock tribe.

Reservation Status             TheStanding Rock Sioux Reservation was established in 1868 and was originally apart of a much bigger reservation that included more Sioux tribes called TheGreat Sioux Reservation. The area in which the reservation is located in on theeast side of the Missouri River in the state of South Dakota (Standing Rock,2017). This reservation sits on the vast plains of South Dakota situated righton the Missouri River which is seen as a sacred source of water for the Siouxtribe.

They take a lot of pride in this land they had to fight for in order toget what they have today.In themid to late 1800s, the Treaty of Fort Laramie was established and declaredwhich tribe the Black Hills would belong to. The Black Hills is a sacred pieceof land that was initially located on what would be the Standing Rock Reservationtoday (Standing Rock, 2017). The treaty states that no piece of land would betaken from them unless there was a vote of three-fourths of the men in thetribe to allow a piece of land to be given away. Unfortunately, Congress didnot abide by this law of the Sioux and the Black Hills was taken from them andmade a part of federal land. According to Sarah Krakoff form the Washington LawReview, “The GreatSioux Settlement of 1889 reduced the Great Sioux Reservation to six separatereservations: Rosebud, Lower Brule, Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, Crow Creek,and Pine Ridge” (p.

1115, 2012). The StandingRock Reservation today is still much as it was back then, without a portion ofwhat used to be theirs, but still with an area of plains where they haveremained since.Language Status               Likemany First Nations tribes, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe faces extinction whenit comes to their native language. The language that is spoken in this area ofSioux people is called Lakota (Cox, 2016). There are a few forms of thislanguage but each have their own dialect depending on where the tribe islocated. Many of the Sioux people do not currently speak Lakota anymore due tothe way they have become integrated into society in the past several decades. Parentshave stopped passing the language down to their kids more and more as eachgeneration passes. Although the Lakota language is at risk, there are steps thatare being taken to preserve the language.

            Inhis article, Patrick Cox introduces Marie Kills in Sight who is a native Lakotaspeaker who grew up in the Standing Rock Sioux reservation (2016). Marie’sfather has since established a system for teaching children the Lakota languageso that it lives on. Some don’t like the system because of inaccuracies, which startedthe development of a new system that helps maintain some of the sounds that arekey to the Lakota language (Cox, 2016). In addition to that, there is animmersion school and camps that are offered on the reservation. Youngergenerations are teaming up with the elders to bring back this dying languagelittle by little. Social/Clan Structure              The StandingRock Sioux tribe has had a long running clan system that consists of two subdivisions:The Hunkpapa and the Blackfeet (Standing Rock, 2017).

These subdivisions worktogether in all aspects of government, rather than being seen as completely separategroups of people. Together, one of the biggest things these two clans do isadvocate for education within their tribe. Colleges such as Sitting BullCollege, United Tribes Technical College, and other tribal colleges and universitiesare the main focus on educating members on ways to save the environment, which StandingRock tribal chairman Dave Archambault III strives to accomplish (Paskus, p. 20,2017). There are several majors that are offered at these colleges, givingmembers a chance to pursue a wide-range of career choices. The graduation rateis lower than they have hoped for at the moment because people are needed forvarious jobs instead. Since this is an issues, the chairman and other tribalcouncil members are working to raise the graduation rate because they sostrongly believe in educating Sioux members on the environment and theirculture.Culture              Thereare many specific cultural practices that the Standing Rock Sioux tribemaintain as a contemporary tribe.

One of these practices would be powwows.Powwows have been held in the Standing Rock tribe for decades and is still practicedregularly to this day. There are so many occasions that call for powwows, mostbeing a significant milestone in one’s life. Graduation from high school orcollege and acceptance into the armed forces name just a few of the joyousoccasions for powwows. During these events, there are traditional ceremoniesheld to commemorate the individual and then a feast is always to follow(Standing Rock, 2017). Powwows can be comparable to graduation or birthdayparties that the average American tends to celebrate. They are always happy occasionscelebrated with family members and other members of the community.

            Becauseof the Standing Rock tribe being situated on the plains, farming is one of thecultural aspects that has continued on from long ago. It’s no secret that thetribe believes the environment is one of the most sacred things in life, sothey take a lot of pride in finding environmentally friendly and efficient waysto farm. Farming also happens to be one of the main sources of economic growthand businesses.

There are numerous farms on the reservation and they continueto to become even more vast. The Standing Rock website says “Standing Rock Sioux Tribe established variousindustries for the Tribe on the reservation and plans to develop moreenterprises” (2017). We can except to see a growth in the farming and cattleranching industry for the Sioux in the near future. Sustainability             Sustaininga culture that has been around for so long is not the simplest task to do. Nevertheless,the people of Standing Rock have found ways to do just that.

Many Sioux people,not just from Standing Rock, have devoted their lives to keeping their culturealive by joining various organizations, such as the American Indian Movement(Waldman, 2006). This organization fights for the rights of several nativecultures, which includes the Standing Rock tribe. They promote and encourage othersto help give indigenous people more opportunities to help sustain their ways oflife. The AIM is devoted to bring their values and beliefs into each tribe toeducate their members on ways that they can help maintain their tribe. This extendsto schools within the reservation and smaller outreach programs.            Anotherorganization that has contributed to sustaining the Standing Rock tribe wouldbe the Boy Scouts of America. Waldman states that Sioux member, CharlesEastman, was one of people who helped create the Boy Scouts of America (2006).This organization is not only recognized by the Sioux tribes, but by the entireUnited States.

It has become a national project to help non-natives becomefamiliar with the ways of native people. This is extremely important insustaining their culture because the more people that are educated on theculture, the better chance they have in sustaining it.                Sustainabilityhas occurred in the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in the form of philosophy andwriting. According to Waldman, “Duringthe 20th century, the Sioux have rebuilt their lives.

Many Native Americanwriters and philosophers have been Sioux” (2006). There have been several books,articles, textbooks, and philosophical manuscripts that were written with theintent of educating the public on the Sioux lifestyle, and more specifically,the Standing Rock tribe. The writings contain information regarding culture,government, language and so much more. As mentioned before, this form of sustainabilityis important so that education can take place inside and outside of thereservations.

Two Additional Topics As Ispent time researching the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, I kept coming across theapparent alcohol problem that has been taking place over the past few decades.  The Standing Rock tribe, along with severalother Native American tribes, have battled with alcohol and other drug abuse dueto the regression of their culture and identities. Philip A.

May and J. PhillipGossage wrote in an article for the AmericanIndian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research, “Whittacker (1962; 1982)studied the Standing Rock Sioux and found a declining rate of drinking over atwenty-year period” (p. 3, 2001). This is very promising news, but the authorsalso state that to this day it is still an issue that plagues the Standing RockSioux tribe.

With the rates declining, a hopeful future for the Sioux peoplecan be seen in the near future.One ofthe biggest issues that the Standing Rock tribe is facing is the Dakota AccessPipeline controversy. This news has brought the tribe back into the spotlight.

The government wants to put a pipeline in the ground that would go right by theStanding Rock reservation. The Sioux are concerned about this because ofpossible contamination to their waters since it would be fed under the MissouriRiver, their main water source (Worland, 2016). Protests have been happeningsince 2014 when the project was first announced, and there are still protestshappening. The project has been halted and started on numerous occasions, witha final start that is going on right now.

The Siouxtribe are not the only ones who oppose the pipeline. They are supported aroundthe country and internationally by other fellow natives and non-natives alike.The results of this protest have been profound. It has brought so many peopletogether and shed some light on the environmental issues that could result fromthis. This kind of interaction is what the Standing Rock Sioux people are allabout; bringing everyone together in harmony to peacefully fight for theenvironment and for what they believe is right. The addition of the DakotaAccess Pipeline could have disastrous effects, which is why I believe the Siouxpeople will continue to fight.

Prior Knowledge       This wasone of the images I chose for the first written assignment. When I first found thispicture I knew it was a very stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans, but Ididn’t have much knowledge on the topic. This is not an accurate representationof indigenous people and also not an accurate representation of the StandingRock Sioux tribe. These headdresses are worn on occasion by men in power, butas far as contemporary goes, this is not what they wear.

Based on what I havelearned throughout the semester; most indigenous people wear typical modernAmerican clothing including the Sioux. In a way, they have meshed with the restof the U.S.

citizens in certain aspects of their lives, one being how theydress. I’ve learned that one important thing to keep in mind is that indigenouspeople are often stereotyped inaccurately, which means the rest of us need tokeep an open mind and be aware of there inaccuracies. Conclusion             Indigenouspeople of all tribes live lives that can be seen as either vastly different fromours, or very similar to ours. After examining the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe,we can see they have some very distinct qualities within their culture and theirlifestyle that make them unique in respect to other tribes.

Whether it be waysof practicing their sovereignty or how they are sustaining their culture, theStanding Rock Tribe has proved to be a strong contemporary group of people whostay true to themselves and continuously fight for what they believe in. Diggingdeep into the Sioux lifestyle has shed a new light on the ways they and otherindigenous tribes live and I believe every person can benefit from learningabout this remarkable tribe.


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