Part 5: Culture of the American Indians of North Dakota

Part 5: Vocabulary

Boarding School:

  • School that includes housing
  • Indian children on reservations were once sent to these schools


  • Round tub-like boat
  • Made from bison bull hide stretched over a willow frame
  • Light-weight but could carry heavy loads
  • Used to cover the smoke hole on the roof of an earthlodge

Counting coup:

  • A warrior touching an enemy with a stick or with the hand instead of killing him


  • Baby-carrier
  • Made of two boards fastened together and lined with soft fur
  • Carried on a mother’s back


  • The way of life of a group of people
  • Includes livelihood, family life, foods, clothing, religion, and other ways of life

Eagle feather:

  • Sacred object
  • Symbol of the Creator (God)
  • Only American Indian tribal members may possess eagle feathers

Eagle Staff:

  • Traditional American Indian flag
  • Symbol of the First Nation
  • Contains sacred eagle feathers


  • Dome-shaped home made of logs and covered with willow branches, grass, and earth


  • Fit to eat


  • Older persons
  • Most respected members of a tribe

Extended family:

  • Parents and children plus other relatives such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins


  • Ceremony in which possessions are given away in honor of someone
  • Shows the importance of generosity


  • Animal skins


  • Strip of soft skin or cloth worn between the legs and folded over a belt in front and back
  • Item worn by men in the summer

Medicine bundle:

  • Collection of objects with spiritual value
  • Started when a baby was born
  • Person would add more objects throughout life
  • Buried with the person at death

Medicine Wheel:

  • Symbol showing the circle of life
  • Reminder that all things are connected
  • The center of the Wheel represents the person’s will


  • Rawhide case used for storing pemmican


  • Healthful food made of dried meat mixed with dried fruit
  • Often used by hunting parties because it was nutritious and easy to carry

Plains Indians:

  • Indians who live on the plains
  • Includes all of North Dakota’s Indian tribes


  • Gathering of dancing, singing, and getting together with friends
  • Oldest public festival in North America
  • The drum is the basic instrument
  • Whole setting of a powwow is in a circle


  • Allowance of food
  • Provided to Indians on reservations after the bison were gone


  • Special outfits worn for special occasions

Sun Dance:

  • Most important religious event of the Lakota and other Plains Indians
  • People took part in this sacred ceremony when they wanted something special


  • Cone-shaped tent covered with hides
  • Sioux word that means “dwelling”
  • Main home of nomadic tribes
  • Could be set up and taken down quickly

Tipi ring:

  • Circle of stones used to hold the bottom of the tipi in place
  • Many tipi rings have been found in North Dakota


  • A change from one condition to another


  • Triangle-shaped pole frame used for transporting goods
  • Pulled by dogs or horses


  • Person who offers items for sale


  • A person who has served in the military
  • Shown special honor and respect


  • Seeing something in a dream or in the mind


  • Originally, an Indian who went to war
  • Today, a man or woman who serves in the military

White Buffalo Calf Woman:

  • Story about how the Lakota people received the sacred pipe


  • Cone-shaped dwelling made of poles set in the ground and covered with bark from birch trees
  • Main type of home used by the Chippewa


  • Wise thinking