Native American languages
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The tribal name Santee is one that has caused a fair amount of confusion, since it has been
applied to two Native American tribes in entirely different parts of the country. In South Carolina, there was
a small Catawban tribe known as Santee,
whose name came from the word for a river in their language, Santa. Most of the time, however,
the name Santee is used to refer to the Santee Dakota, which is one of the
major divisions of the Sioux Nation with several communities in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Nebraska.
The name of the Santee Dakota comes from a placename, Isanti (or Isan'ati,) which means
"knife place." Both these tribes did speak Siouan
languages, but they were only very distantly related to each other-- similar to the relationship between English
and Russian (which are both Indo-European languages, but cannot be understood by speakers of the other language.)
The Catawban Santee language has not been spoken in centuries, but Santee Dakota is still spoken by more than 10,000
people today. Santee Dakota is an endangered language, because most of its speakers are older and few children are
being raised to speak it, but some young Santee people are working to keep their ancestral language alive.
Our resources about the Dakota Sioux language, including Santee.
Theories about Santee language relationships compiled by Linguist List.
Official homepages of individual Santee Sioux nations, with information about tribal leadership, services, and events:
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, South Dakota;
Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska, Nebraska;
Shakopee Dakota Tribe, Minnesota;
Prairie Island Indian Community, Minnesota;
Spirit Lake Dakota Nation, North Dakota
Santee Sioux Tribe History:
Article on the Santee Sioux people from the Handbook of American Indians.
A good map showing the original locations of the Teton, Yankton, Yanktonai, and Santee Sioux Indians.
Flandreau Santee Reservation Santee Sioux Reservation Minnesota Dakota Reservations:
Maps of Santee Sioux reservations in South Dakota, Nebraska, and Minnesota.
The US-Dakota War of 1862 The Sioux Uprising of 1862 Santee Dakota Uprising:
History of the Santee Sioux Uprising of 1862.
Wikipedia article on the Santee Indians.
Four Directions: Santee:
Timeline and links about Santee history.
Books for sale on the Santee Indians
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links
Santee-Sisseton Dakota language learning textbook.
History of the Santee Sioux:
Book about the history of the Santee tribe in Minnesota.
Links, References, and Additional Information
Information about the Santees and other Sioux tribes in Spanish.
Santee links page.
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