Texternal image lakota_indians_2.jpghere is no real difference. "Lakota" and "Dakota" are different pronunciations of the same tribal name, which means "the allies." One Sioux dialect has the letter "L" in it, and the other dialect does not. This is only a pronunciation difference, not a political one. Of the 13 Sioux political subdivisions, seven pronounce the word "Lakota," four pronounce it "Dakota," one pronounces it "Nakota," and one is split between pronouncing it "Dakota" and "Nakota." But they all consider themselves part of the same overall culture.

"Sioux," on the other hand, is not a Lakota or Dakota name. It comes from the Ojibway name for the tribe, which means "little snakes." Many Lakotas and Dakotas use the word Sioux to refer to themselves when they're speaking English, however.

external image woodbead.gifWhere do the Sioux people live?
The original Lakota/Dakota homelands were in what is now Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North and South Dakota. The Sioux traveled freely, however, and there was also significant Sioux presence in the modern states of Iowa, Nebraska, Montana, and northern Illinois, and in south-central Canada. Today, most Sioux people live in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Saskatchewan.
The Lakota were originally referred to as the Dakota when they lived by the Great Lakes. Encroaching European-American settlement led them to migrate west from the Great Lakes region. They later called themselves the Lakota, and were also called Sioux. They were introduced to horse culture by the Cheyenne about 1730.[3[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakota_people#cite_note-cheyenne-2|]]]
After their adoption of the horse, šúŋkawakȟáŋ ([ˈʃũka waˈkˣã]) ('dog [of] power/mystery/wonder') their society centered on the buffalo hunt with the horse. There were estimated to be 20,000 Lakota in the mid-18th century. The number has now increased to about 70,000, of whom about 20,500 speak the Lakota language.[4[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakota_people#cite_note-3|]]]
After 1720, the Lakota branch of the Seven Council Fires split into two major sects, the Saône who moved to the Lake Traverse area on the South Dakota–North Dakota–Minnesota border, and the Oglala-Sicangu who occupied the James River valley. By about 1750, however, the Saône had moved to the east bank of the Missouri River, followed 10 years later by the Oglala and Brulé (Sičangu).
The large and powerful Arikara, Mandan, and Hidatsa villages had prevented the Lakota from crossing the Missouri for an extended period. Smallpox and other infectious diseases nearly destroyed these tribes, the way was open for the first Lakota to cross the Missouri into the drier, short-grass prairies of the High Plains. These Saône, well-mounted and increasingly confident, spread out quickly. In 1765, a Saône exploring and raiding party led by Chief Standing Bear discovered the Black Hills (which they call the Paha Sapa), first the territory of the Cheyenne. Just a decade later, in 1775, the Oglala and Brulé also crossed the river. The great smallpox epidemic of 1772–1780 destroyed three-quarters of the American Indian populations in the Missouri Valley. In 1776, the Lakota defeated the Cheyenne, as the Cheyenne had earlier defeated the Kiowa.[citation needed] The Cheyenne moved west into the Powder River Country,[3[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakota_people#cite_note-cheyenne-2|]]] and the Lakota gained control of the land which became the center of the Lakota universe.