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Assiniboine Family, Montana, 1890-1891.

The Assiniboine (pl. Assiniboines, Assiniboins, (esp. collectively) Assiniboine, Assiniboin) or Hohe, also known by the Ojibwe name Asiniibwaan "Stone Sioux", and by the endonyms Nakota-Nakoda-Nakona, are a Siouan Native American/First Nations people originally from the Northern Great Plainsmarker of the United Statesmarker and Canadamarker, centered in present-day Saskatchewanmarker; they also populated parts of Albertamarker, southwestern Manitobamarker, northern Montanamarker and western North Dakotamarker. They were well known throughout much of the late 1700s and early 1800s. Images of Assiniboine people were painted by such 19th century artists as Karl Bodmer and George Catlin. The Assiniboine have many similarities to the Lakota Sioux in lifestyle, language, and cultural habits, and are considered a separated part of the central sub-group of the Sioux nation. It is believed that the Assiniboine broke away from Yanktonai Dakota in the 16th century. They are also closely linked to the Stoney First Nations people of Albertamarker - who are also Siouan people who use a Nakoda variant of the Sioux language.

Assiniboine man, Montana, 1890-1891.
The Assiniboine were close allies and trading partners of the Cree, engaging in wars against the Atsina (Gros Ventre) alongside them, and later fighting the Blackfeet. A Plains people, they generally went no further north than the North Saskatchewan River and purchased a great deal of European trade goods through Cree middlemen from the Hudson's Bay Company.

The life style of this group was semi-nomadic, and they would follow the herds of bison during the warmer months. They did a considerable amount of trading with European traders, and worked with the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara tribes, and that factor is strongly attached to their life style.

Though their description of the group was not all together favorable, the tribe's existence was noted in the journals of Lewis and Clark on their return journey from Fort Clatsopmarker down the Missouri Rivermarker. They had heard rumors that this was a ferocious group, and hoped to avoid contact with them. They did not see any of these people, and were not able to prove those rumors.

The names by which the Assiniboine are usually known are not derived from the way they refer to themselves. As a Siouan people, they traditionally thought of themselves to themselves as the Hohe Nakota. With the widespread adoption of English, however, many simply use the English name consistently. Assiniboine, however, is a word that English borrowed from French, which in turn took it from the Ojibwe word asinii-bwaan , meaning stone Sioux as well as the Cree term asinîpwâta (asinîpwâta ᐊᓯᓃᐹᐧᑕ NA sg, asinîpwâtak ᐊᓯᓃᐹᐧᑕᐠ NA pl). In the same way, Assnipwan comes from the word asinîpwâta in the western Cree dialects, from asiniy ᐊᓯᓂᐩ NA - "rock, stone" - and pwâta ᐹᐧᑕ NA - "enemy, Sioux". Early French traders in the west were often familiar with Algonquian languages, and many Cree or Ojibwe words for other western Canadian peoples were adopted into French in the early colonial era, and thence into English.

They were referred with the name "stone" because they cooked with primarily stones. They would drop hot stones into water, causing the water to boil, which would cook the meat.

Today, a substantial number of Assiniboine people live jointly with several branches of the Sioux people on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in northeastern Montanamarker, and with the Atsina people on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in north central Montana.

Canada Steamship Lines paid tribute to them by naming one of their new ships CSL Assiniboine.


Image:A skin lodige of the Assiniboin chief 0016v.jpg|A skin lodge of the Assiniboine IndiansImage:Tombs of Assiniboin indians on trees 0063v.jpg|Tombs of Assiniboine Indians on treesImage:Assinniboine.jpg|Assiniboine in Montana, 1890-1891.

See also


  1. for a report on the long-established blunder of misnaming “Nakota” the Yanktonai people, see the article Nakota

Further reading

  • Denig, Edwin Thompson, and J. N. B. Hewitt. The Assiniboine. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2000. ISBN 0806132353
  • Fort Belknap Curriculum Development Project. Assiniboine Memories Legends of the Nakota People. Harlem, Mont: Fort Belknap Education Dept, 1983.
  • How the Summer Season Came And Other Assiniboine Indian Stories. Helena, Mont: Montana Historical Society Press in cooperation with the Fort Peck and Fort Belknap Tribes, 2003. ISBN 0917298942
  • Kennedy, Dan, and James R. Stevens. Recollections of an Assiniboine Chief. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1972. ISBN 0771045107
  • Nighttraveller, Will, and Gerald Desnomie. Assiniboine Legends. Saskatoon: Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College, 1973.
  • Nighttraveller, Will, and Gerald Desnomie. Assiniboine Legends. Saskatoon: Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College, 1973.
  • Schilz, Thomas F. 2009. "Brandy and Beaver Pelts Assiniboine-European Trading Patterns, 1695-1805". Saskatchewan History. 37, no. 3.
  • Writers' Program (Mont.), James Larpenteur Long, and Michael Stephen Kennedy. The Assiniboines From the Accounts of the Old Ones Told to First Boy (James Larpenter Long). The Civilization of the American Indian series. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1961.

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