The Assiniboine are a Siouan-speaking people closely related linguistically to the Sioux and Stoney. Contemporary Assiniboine live on two reservations in northern Montana and on four reserves in southern Saskatchewan. The traditional economy was focused on buffalo hunting for food and for most material culture.
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North America --Plains and Plateau
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Documents referred to in this section are included in the eHRAF collection, and are referenced by author, date of publication and eHRAF document number.
The Assinboine file consists of 20 documents, all in English, with a time span ranging from approximately 1640 to the early twentieth century. The major focus of the file, however, is on the period from the mid nineteenth century to about 1940. The most detailed works for a general understanding of the traditional ethnography of the Assiniboine will be found in Denig (1930, no.5; 1961, no. 12), Lowie (1909, no. 17), Dusenberry (1960, no. 7), and Kennedy (1972, no. 14). Other major topics of special note in this file are: the history of the Assinboine fur trade in Ray (1974, no. 23); the Bear and Horse cults in Ewers (1955, no. 8; 1956, no. 9); the Cypress Hill Massacre in Allen (1983, no. 1), and Goldring (1973, no. 13); social change and acculturation in Rodnick, (1938, no. 25); Assiniboine and Cree relationships in Sharrock, (1974, no. 28), and Sioux-Assiniboine-Stoney linguistic relationships in Parks (1994, no. 30).
For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this file, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.
There has been confusion in ethnic identification between Assiniboine and Stoney in the literature. Where cultural data may overlap in some of the documents in this file, the reader is advised to consult also the Stoney file (OWC NF12) in the eHRAF collection.
This culture summary is a slightly expanded version of the article "Assiniboine" by David Reed Miller in the Encyclopedia of World Cultures Supplement, edited by Carol R. Ember and Melvin Ember with the assistance of Ian Skoggard. Macmillan Reference/Gale, 2002. The Human Relations Area Files would also like to thank David R. Miller for his bibliographical suggestions in the preparation of this file. The synopsis and indexing notes were written by John Beierle in January 2002.
AHKITCHETAH (AKIEITA) -- soldiers or camp guards -- categories 701, 625
counting coup -- category 555
Crazy Bear -- head of the Assiniboine nation after the treaty of Laramie in 1851 -- category 643
Family Allowance Act Program -- category 746
Fort Union -- a trading post and trading center for the Assiniboine -- categories 443, 366
Great Spirit/Great Power -- categories 776, 778
made beaver (MB) -- a standard unit of evaluation in the fur trade -- category 436
medicine bundle -- category 778
soldier's lodge -- category 344
Sun Dance -- category 796
Thunder Bird -- category 776
WAK-KON -- sacred objects -- category 778
WAKOÑDA -- great unknown power -- categories 776, 778