Traditional Lakota Governance

  • Craig Howe
  • Abe Katz


Traditional Lakota belief is that their ancestors emerged onto this earth through a cave in what is now the Black Hills of South Dakota. The descendant of these ancestors are the Titonwans, and they organized themselves into seven oyates, or nations: Oglala, Mniconjou, Sicangu, Oohenunpa, Itazipco, Sihasapa, and Hunkpapa. Today these seven Lakota oyates constitute six federally recognized tribes in the United States and one first nation in Canada.

Author Biographies

Craig Howe
Craig Howe is the founder and Director of the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies (CAIRNS). He earned a PhD in Architecture and Anthropology from the University of Michigan, then served as Director of the D'Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian History. He also served as Deputy Assistant Director for Cultural Resources at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, before teaching in the Graduate Studies Department at Oglala Lakota College.
Abe Katz
Abe Katz is a researcher at the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies (CAIRNS). He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Middle Eastern Studies and Political Science from Middlebury College in 2011, and moved to Pine Ridge Reservation as a middle school teacher. He joined CAIRNS in 2013, and will begin a graduate program in public policy and business at Duke University and the University of North Carolina in the fall of 2015.
How to Cite
HOWE, Craig; KATZ, Abe. Traditional Lakota Governance. ROOTSTALK | A Prairie Journal of Culture, Science and the Arts, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 1, p. 35-40, may 2015. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 20 sep. 2017.