The Sioux Indians were an important alliance in North America, but mostly in South Dakota. They usually called themselves Lakota or Dakota, which meant â€œalliesâ€. Three major groups and their smaller tribal families made up the Sioux Indian nation. The Teton, or Lakota tribe was the largest of the three groups. Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull both belonged to the Teton group. The Dakota tribe and Nakota tribes were the other two major divisions. There were many cultural and language differences between the three groups, but they all belonged to the Sioux family. In the 17th century, the Sioux consisted of small groups of Woodland peoples in the Mille Lacs region of present-day Minnesota. The Ojibwa people, who were their rivals, forced the Sioux to move to the buffalo ranges of the Great Plains. Soon after, they became skilled buffalo hunters, which led the tribes to grow and prosper. By 1750 the Sioux had about 30,000 people living in the northern Great Plains. They lived in this region for the next century.
The Sioux were known for being one of the best-dressed tribes of the Great Plains. Their clothing had some of the most detailed quillwork designs. The men's clothing included breechcloths that hung nearly to the ground with decorated pants to go with them. The women wore elk tooth dresses with many necklaces and long leggings that came to their knees. Some women's dresses weighed up to forty pounds. Their everyday items were also decorated and well crafted. The Sioux used Eagle feathers to indicate status as warriors, and they were known for the classic Eagle feather war bonnet, which the most successful warriors and best leaders earned the right to wear.
The Sioux Indians lived in teepees and were hunters. They occasionally would plant a small crop in an area, but they would then leave to hunt for most of the season and then come back when it was harvest time to collect the food had grown.