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confederation of Native North American tribes, the dominant group of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock, which is divided into several separate branches (see Native American languages).
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a group of Indian tribes in North America that speak Siouan languages. During the 16th century they inhabited the Great Lakes region, engaging in hoe farming, wild-rice gathering, and hunting. In the 17th century they were driven westward into the plains region by the Ojibway (Chippewa) tribes. In the process of migrating, they broke up into several tribes and groups; although differing in social and economic relationships, these tribes and groups formed a confederation, the Seven Council Fires. During the latter half of the 19th century the lands of the Dakota were seized by colonizers, and the Dakota themselves were forced to live on reservations in the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. The modern Dakota are greatly assimilated, practice farming, and work as hired hands. Population is approximately 30,000 (1967, estimate).