What Did the Lakota Indians Eat?

did-lakota-indians-eat Credit: Dramatic landscape, architecture, and object photography./Moment/Getty Images

Before moving to reservations in the 1860s, the Lakota Indians ate buffalo and occasionally engaged in agriculture, primarily growing corn and tobacco. Hunting was a way of life for the Lakota, and they followed the seasonal migrations of buffalo herds. As a result of their nomadic lifestyle, the Lakota lived in teepees throughout the year.

The Lakota are one group of Plains Indians, also referred to as Native Americans and First Nations people. They lived and hunted on the Great Plains in North America until conflicts with white settlers, and later negotiations with the U.S. government moved them onto reservations in the 19th century.

Buffalo served as both a source of food and goods for Plains Indians. They used the hide, bones and flesh of buffalo to make tools, knives, clothing and cups. Starting in the 17th century, the Plains Indians began to obtain horses by stealing them from Spanish settlers in New Mexico. Horses assisted the Plains Indians in hunting buffalo and contributed to the mobile lifestyle. Buffalo became almost extinct in the late 1800s due to hunting. The U.S. government promoted hunting buffalo to pressure the Plains Indians to remain on reservations.

The Lakota constitute the largest division of the Sioux language group. As of 2014, the Lakota live in and around the South Dakota portion of the Standing Rock Reservation.