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Lakota Religious Traditions Goeckner, Ryan
The Lakota people are the westernmost members of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (Seven Council Fires). Primarily a linguistic designation, Lakota people are made up of a variety of different thiyóšpaye (bands) and today reside on the Cheyenne River, Pine Ridge, Standing Rock, and Rosebud reservations in western North and South Dakota as well as in various off-reservation communities around the United States. The goal of this entry is to focus primarily on the practice of Lakota religious traditions from the beginning of the reservation era to the present (2018). Membership in this group is primarily determined by acceptance within the community, however colonial policies of blood quantum continue to be imposed by the United States federal government, alongside other American Indian communities, complicating who may or may not be considered a legitimate practitioner of Lakota religion by other Lakotas. Additionally, political membership within Lakota communities does not guarantee any given individual's personal practice of these traditions because various Christian denominations continue to be practiced in these on and offreservation communities.
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