Kinship is a central part to the way of life in the Lakota tribes. The kinship system of the Lakota is based on three important features. The immediate family, extended family and the tiospaye. Tiospaye refers to the wide, extended families that may or may not be related to you but live in the same camp (Native Institute, 2014). The other tribes that make up the seven related tribes that make up the Sioux council could be considered as part of the tiospaye.The Lakota have some rules that might be considered strange to outsiders. There are rules in the kinship that prevent son- in-laws from speaking to their mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws are prohibited from communicating with their father-in laws. This family system is based on love, respect and helping each other (Native Institute, 2014). Their kinship was important for trade. Women would sometimes marry to establish connections with outlying groups. The family connections among this group profoundly affected trade, land cessions, and the whole of U.S.-Dakota relations throughout the treaty making period (Treaties matter).

Winona Crawford is a perfect example of how kinship relations affected trade and land claims. Her children were responsible for signing a treaty that granted the tribe with the Sisseton reservation. She married three men: a full-blood Dakota man named Akipa (or Charles Renville); a mixed-blood nephew of Little Crow named Ohiya (or Victor Renville); and a French fur trader named Narcis Frenier (Treaties matter). Fur trade connected the Lakota kin groups as well. These mixed blood relatives were able to identify themselves as white men while also having very close relations with surrounding Lakota and Dakota tribes.

Alliances established through marriage made for a bigger community with valuable commodities that could be used for trade, while also making political connections. In Lakota culture it was usually the fathers who negotiated the marriage, looking for like-minded political alliances, or a social tie that would strengthen the stature of the bride’s family in the community, or an accomplished hunter or warrior who would be an asset in providing for and protecting the whole extended family( This also helped to establish economies within groups.Land was one of the most important parts of the Lakota and is still practically the same to this day. When people were starving or there were droughts, the Lakota banded together making themselves sufficient.Using local resources for local needs, is the best way to define the Lakota order of feeding and sheltering the people.The base of Lakota economics was / is the people and the land held in common, everything needed from Grandmother Earth (Wanjila).

So there you have it.Women made the world go around in this culture but they had to pimp themselves out to neighboring tribes in order to keep good relations.The whole all for one, one for all mindset however isn’t that bad of an idea.





Native Institute. (2014).Lakota and Dakota Oyate Kinship Relations and Expectations. Retrieved from,%20kinship.html

Treaties matter. Relations: Lakota and Ojibwe Treaties. A Dakota Trading Kinship Group.Retrieved from Society. Lakota Courtship and Wedding Customs. Retrieved from
Ramirez, Brandy (2004). Religious Beliefs and Ceremonies of the Sioux Tribe. People by demand media. Retrieved from

Wanjila, Wicahpi.Lakota Economics.  Lakota Country Times. Retrieved from

Oswalt, W. H. (2009). This land was theirs: A study of Native North Americans (9th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.