"Let me try to explain the kinship system of the Dakotas as simply as I can ... you have, of course, your natural father and mother and siblings; that is, all their other children, your brothers and sisters. But now, in addition, there are any number of men and women whom you also call father and mother, your secondary or auxiliary parents ...
Now you can see where you get so many other brothers or sisters besides your own, and where you get so many cousins. These extended siblings and these cousins constitute your generations; you belong together."
Ella Cara Deloria (Dakota). Deloria describes the strengths and attributes of Dakota kinship.
What qualities might help someone be a "good relative"?
Each family set up its tipi in such a way as to help form the camp circle, the unifying ring of which they were all a vital part.
All tipis faced the council tipi, which stood in the great open common and that was the focus of community life and thought . . . the tipi I said was home to family.
But the father-mother-child unit was not final and isolated; it was only one of several others forming the larger family, the tiyospaye (tee-yo'-shpah-yay).
This Dakota word is essential in describing tribal life. It denotes a group of families, bound together by blood and marriage ties, that lived side by side in the camp circle.
Think about sites or locations in your community where friends and families gather. What do places like this provide for a community?
Jace DeCory, Instructor at Black Hills State University in South Dakota, encourages students to think deeply about their identity, even when simply introducing themselves to another.
What does this quotation tell you about the relationship between kinship and identity for the Oceti Sakowin Nation?