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Janeen antoine sisseton.jpg
Janeen Antoine (Sicangu Lakota), curator and educator[1]
Regions with significant populations
 United States
( South Dakota)
Lakota, English
traditional tribal religion, Sun Dance,
Native American Church, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
other Lakota people

The Brulé are one of the seven branches or bands (sometimes called "sub-tribes") of the Teton (Titonwan) Lakota American Indian people. They are known as Sičháŋǧu Oyáte (in Lakota), or "Burnt Thighs Nation". Learning the meaning of their name, the French called them the Brûlé (literally, "burnt"). The name may have derived from an incident where they were fleeing through a grass fire on the plains.


Many Sicangu people live on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota and are enrolled in the federally recognized Rosebud Sioux Tribe, also known in Lakota as the Sicangu Oyate. A smaller population lives on the Lower Brule Indian Reservation, on the west bank of the Missouri River in central South Dakota, and on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, also in South Dakota, directly west of the Rosebud Indian Reservation. The different federally recognized tribes are politically independent of each other.



The term "Sičhą́ǧu" appears on pages 3 to 14 of Beginning Lakhota.[2]

"Ká Lakȟóta kį líla hą́ske. 'That Indian (over yonder) is very tall.'"
"Hą, hé Sičhą́ǧú. 'Yes, that's a Rosebud Sioux.'"

It appears to be a compound word of the Thítȟųwą Lakȟóta dialect, meaning "burned thigh".[3]

Historic Brulé Tiyošpaye or bands[edit]

Together with the Oglala Lakota, who are mostly based at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, they are often called Southern Lakota.

They were divided in three great regional tribal divisions:

  • Lower Brulé (Kul Wicasa Oyate, ″Lowland People″, lived along the White River to its mouth at the Missouri River (Mnišoše) as well in the Missouri River Valley in South Dakota; some ventured south to the Niobrara River).[4]
  • Upper Brulé (Heyata Wicasa Oyate - ″Highland People″, ventured further south and west onto the Plains along the Platte River between the North and South Platte River in Nebraska in the search for buffalo. The allied Southern Cheyenne and Southern Arapaho welcomed them as strong allies to this lands which they had further claimed, along the Loup River - the former center of the Skidi or Wolf/Loup Pawnee. They went south to plunder enemy Pawnee and Arikara camps, and were therefore also known as: Kheyatawhichasha - ″People away from the (Missouri) River″)
  • (Upper) Brulé of the Platte River (a splinter group of the Upper Brulé and the southernmost Brulé group, generally along the South Platte River in Colorado, with hunting bands south to the Republican River - home to the enemy Kithehaki / Kitkehaxki of the South Bands Pawnee, also known as: Kheyatawhichasha - ″People away from the (Missouri) River″)

According to the Brulé Medicine Bull (Tatánka Wakan), the people were decentralized and identified with the following tiyošpaye, or extended family groups, who collected in various local tiwahe (English: camps or family circles):

  • Apewantanka
  • Chokatowela
  • Ihanktonwan
  • Iyakoza
  • Kanghi yuha
  • Nakhpakhpa
  • Pispiza wichasha
  • Shawala
  • Shiyolanka
  • Wacheunpa
  • Waleghaunwohan


The Brulé give pulverized roots of Asclepias viridiflora to children with diarrhea. Nursing mothers take an infusion of the whole plant to increase their milk.[5] They brew the leaves of Ceanothus herbaceus into a tea.[6]

Notable Sicangu (Brulé)[edit]

Chief Iron Nation

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Native American Heritage Month: S.F. gallery director wins praise for breaking with past."[permanent dead link] San Francisco Chronicle. 12 Nov 1995 (retrieved 20 Dec 2009)
  2. ^ Beginning Lakhota, Volume 1 (Boulder: University of Colorado Lakhota Project, 1976).
  3. ^ Famous Indians of Northwest Nebraska. Chadron Centennial Committee. 1983. p. 34.
  4. ^ Lower Brule
  5. ^ Rogers, Dilwyn J, 1980, Lakota Names and Traditional Uses of Native Plants by Sicangu (Brule) People in the Rosebud Area, South Dakota, St. Francis, SD. Rosebud Educational Society, page 34
  6. ^ Rogers, Dilwyn J., 1980, Lakota Names and Traditional Uses of Native Plants by Sicangu (Brule) People in the Rosebud Area, South Dakota, St. Francis, SD. Rosebud Educational Society, page 56
  7. ^ Brown, Dee (1970). Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, ch. 6. Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-11979-6.

External links[edit]