Bands and Political Organization
have written a paper about early Brule bands and political
organization, to appear in a forthcoming volume of tributes
to Colin Taylor. It covers this stuff in some detail,
but briefly at the beginning of the 19th century the
Brules were rated by both Tabeau and Lewis & Clark
as comprising the following bands:
Isanyati, or Isanyati Ektapa, Toward
the Santee. Largest band in 1804, chief Black Bull.
Still rated a band in the Upper Brule tribal circle
at Rosebud ca. 1880, settled in Okreek Community, leading
families still included the Black Bulls. Part of the
Loafer-Corn band division of the tribe by this period.
Choka-tunwan, Middle Village or Sichangu proper.
The parent-band of the tribe, from which bands offshooted
or to which outside bands joined. Chief Medicine Bull
in 1804, descendant of same name was second chief at
Lower Brule Agency after 1870. Part of the band also
at Rosebud, name rendered Chokatowela, settled
between Rosebud village and Parmelee.
Wacheunpa or Meat Roaster. Chief Partisan in
1804. Offshoot bands of this band at both Lower Brule
and Rosebud. Little Thunder family was connected to
this band in early times. Rosebud Wacheunpa
groups settled at Grass Mountain.
Minisha, Red Water. Band broke up in 1840s,
part joining the Oglalas and part the Sans Arcs. Undoubtedly
some families joined other Brule bands. A man with the
personal name Red Water crops up in some Lower Brule
censuses. The band name was borne by a Sans Arc band
associated with the keepers of the Calf Pipe Bundle,
and I think the band originated there. Part joined the
emerging Brule tribe in period 1750-75.
Wazhazha, Osage. Smallest band in 1804, chief
Mazomani. Later associated with the Upper Brules and
Oglalas, with bands settled at both Rosebud (Black Pipe
District) and Pine Ridge (Porcupine District). I think
the 'cut into strips' translation is a folk etymology,
used to explain a term no longer understood. Nicollet
(in 1839) obtained the story that this band grew out
of intermarriage between Lakotas and the Wazhazha
clan of the Ponca tribe. My feeling is that this also
happened in the 1750-75 frame.
for the Upper/Lower Brule division, this is best understood
as a process rather than a single event, taking place
during the frame 1825-50. Key to understanding it is
the geographical distribution of trading posts. Branch
posts serving Brule communities between the Missouri
and White Clay Creek were outfitted from Ft Pierre,
and served the Lower Brules. After 1835 branch posts
were located on upper White River from Ft Laramie and
the North Platte. The bands served by these several
posts (e.g. at Bordeau Creek, Chadron Creek) became
the Upper Brule tribal division. That indicates a basic
wintering division, although I think that the Brules
continued to offer a single Sun Dance (summer operations)
until the 1850s. Then, with the move of the Southern
Men band into southwest Nebraska and certain Northern
Brule bands (Wazhazhas, Orphans) into Wyoming,
separate Sun Dance complexes crystalised. —
forgot to address [two] other bands, Wagmeza-yuha
or Corn-owner, and Wablenicha or Orphan (also
rendered Hunku-wanicha, No Mothers).
These are examples of groups in-marrying into the Brule
tribe during the early 19th century. Both seem to have
included strong elements of Miniconjou people. The first
band, then known as Red-Top Tipis, was identified with
the tiwahe of Swift Bear (via his father Lone Dog and
grandfather Red Warbonnet). I think it became part of
the Isanyati band we discussed above, and by
the 1850s was the leading group within that band. Because
they practiced a little corn planting the name changed
to Wagmeza-yuha. Contemporary accounts and
reports simply call them "the Corn Band".
Settled Ponca Creek, or Milk, District at Rosebud.
Orphans I think joined the Brule circle during the frame
1805-20. There were significant numbers of Northern
Teton people who joined the Brules in this period (my
hunch is because of US trade advantages). This band
was associated with the tiwahe of Iron Shell
(and his father Shot in the Heel and grandfather Bone
Bracelet) and thence his descendants (Hollow Horn Bear,
et al.) Settled in Upper Cut Meat Dist., Rosebud.
Orphans band story is one that George Hyde got wrong.
The story of the killing of Male Crow and his war party
by Crows and Snakes, fall 1844, is the origin of the
Orphan band among the Oglalas. Survivors' families formed
a band which ultimately (after 1880) settled on Pine
Ridge at the site of the Wounded Knee Massacre. In the
period 1845-75 it was a small sub-band of the Southern
or Kiyaksa Oglala division, hunting south of the Platte
Orphans among the Brules were a different group, although
I'm sure there must be family connections that linked
all these groups. Big Partisan (Blotahunka Tanka,
born about 1809) was associated with the Corn band,
not the Orphans. He was chosen as one of four Brule
Wichasha Yatapika in 1850. In the 1860s he
led a more conservative sub-band of the Corn band than
Swift Bear's tiwahe - and probably 'ran with'
the Orphans and other so-called Northern Brules in the
Powder River Country. Big Partisan settled at Butte
Creek community on the Rosebud. This community or at
least part of it corresponds to the band Oglala-ichaga
(Makes Himself an Oglala) listed in the ca. 1880 camp-circle
published by Dorsey.
Loafer band: formed about Fort Laramie and the North
Platte trading posts in the 1850s. Most were Oglalas
and Brules in-married with trading and army personnel,
but a Loafer speaker in council in 1867 said the band
included "grandmothers from all the bands"
- rather a neat formulation I thought. The band went
went to Whetstone Agency on the Missouri in the period
1868-70. Ultimately some rejoined the Oglalas at Red
Cloud Agency, but a significant number remained at the
Brule agency as it moved up and down White River in
the 1870s. It formed a single band organization with
the Corn band, hence references to the "Corn band
and Loafers" etc.
the top of my head the following are additional Brule
Shell (in Hassrick's THE SIOUX).
Big Missouri (valuable because it is a Lower Brule count,
all others are Upper Brule)
High Hawk - the son of Battiste Good, produced several
variants of his father's count
are more in the Buechel Collection at St. Francis (Rosebud
Res.). Their website has very valuable papers by Linea
Sundstrom which includes transcripts of the counts,
e.g. the Ring Bull count, which is a variant of Iron
— Kingsley Bray