"Even today, you live in the United States of Dakota. All of this is Dakota Territory."
Ray Owen, Prairie Island Indian Community, 2010
Mni Sota, according to the oral histories of many, has been Dakota homeland for thousands of years. "Dakota” is a word for “ally” and is most likely a reference to the Oceti Ŝakowiŋ (Seven Council Fires)—or main political units—of the Dakota people. The name "Sioux" has also been used for Dakota people. The Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) called the Lakota and Dakota "Nadouwesou" meaning "adders," or possibly referring to "the people of the snaking river" or "people like snakes in the grass." French newcomers mispronounced this name, calling the nation "Sioux."
Map source: "Aboriginal Map of North America denoting the Boundaries and Locations of various Indian Tribes". The House of Commons. Britain: 1857.