The Canadian Sioux

The Canadian Sioux

by James H. Howard

Paperback(Second Edition)

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The Canadian Sioux are descendants of Santees, Yanktonais, and Tetons from the United States who sought refuge in Canada during the 1860s and 1870s. Living today on eight reserves in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, they are the least studied of all the Sioux groups. This book, originally published in 1984, helps fill that gap in the literature and remains relevant even in the twenty-first century.

Based on Howard’s fieldwork in the 1970s and supplemented by written sources, The Canadian Sioux, Second Edition descriptively reconstructs their traditional culture, many aspects of which are still practiced or remembered by Canadian Sioux although long forgotten by their relatives in the United States. Rich in detail, it presents an abundance of information on topics such as tribal divisions, documented history and traditional history, warfare, economy, social life, philosophy and religion, and ceremonialism. Nearly half the book is devoted to Canadian Sioux religion and describes such ceremonies as the Vision Quest, the Medicine Feast, the Medicine Dance, the Sun Dance, warrior society dances, and the Ghost Dance.

This second edition includes previously unpublished images, many of them photographed by Howard, and some of his original drawings.



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780803271760
Publisher: UNP - Bison Books
Publication date: 06/01/2014
Series: Studies in the Anthropology of North American Indians
Edition description: Second Edition
Pages: 226
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.58(d)

About the Author

James H. Howard (1925–82) was a professor of anthropology at Oklahoma State University. His many publications include The Warrior Who Killed Custer: The Personal Narrative of Chief Joseph White Bull and Shawnee: The Ceremonialism of a Native American Tribe and Its Cultural Background.

Raymond J. DeMallie is Chancellor’s Professor of Anthropology and American Studies, codirector of the American Indian Studies Research Institute, and curator of North American Ethnology at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures at Indiana University.


Douglas R. Parks is a professor of anthropology and codirector of the American Indian Studies Research Institute at Indiana University, and editor of the journal Anthropological Linguistics.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii

Foreword ix

Foreword to the Bison Books Edition xiii

Preface xxiii

1 Traditional Sioux Culture 3

2 Tribal Divisions

Traditional Band Names 12

The Canadian Reserves 18

3 The Sioux in Canada 21

4 Traditional History 30

5 Warfare 45

6 Economy

Wild Plant Foods 52

Hunting 53

Fishing 57

Animal Husbandry 58

Horticulture and Food Production 60

Housing and Settlement 62

Technology and Crafts 63

Beadwork and Quillwork 66

Clothing 68

7 Social Life

Children 72

Courtship and Marriage 74

Kinship System 77

Visiting 82

Athletic Sports 83

Gambling Games 84

Social Dances 87

8 Philosophy and Religion

Supernatural Beings 98

Folktales 104

Magic 105

Doctoring 107

Death and Burial 112

9 Ceremonialism, the Woodlands Heritage

Vision Quest 115

Prayer Feast and Medicine Feast 117

Adoption Feast 119

Medicine Dance 120

Animal Dreamers 128

10 Ceremonialism, the Plains Heritage

Sun Dance 229

Horse Dance 132

Warrior Society Dances 133

Grass Dance 135

Thachó, Warbonnet, and Buffalo Dances 162

Heyókha Dance 163

Ghost Dance 165

Peyote Religion 170

11 The Canadian Sioux Today 171

Appendix: List of Informants 179

Bibliography 181

Index 185

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