What are some distinctive cultural traits of the Sioux (Lakota) Indians?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say that one of the most distinctive cultural traits of the Sioux lies in their resistance to White America.  I think that it can be seen as cultural because throughout different periods in their history, the culture of resistance defiance have been present.  For example, while the Shoshone treated Lewis and Clark in a hospitable manner, the Lakota people outwardly treated them in a hostile and aggressive manner, seeming to recognize early on that White exploration of land usually translated into White takeover of land.  The Sioux greeted American expansionism with aggressiveness and a sense of mistrust, demanding that agreements be drafted between their tribe and the United States government in order to create a zone where they would not be bothered.  The cultural hostility towards White society manifested itself with Custer's slaughter, as well as the Great Sioux War.  While the tribe's experience with White America has been an overall negative one, the cultural trait of resistance still is present.  Members of the Sioux tribe have significantly touted their membership in the UNPO (Unrepresented Nations and People Organization) "to seek protection and recognition for their cultural and land rights."  It is here that the cultural trait of resistance and dissent seemed to be part of what defines the Sioux people and their relationship with White America.