Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings  Intructional Resources


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In 2008, the Oceti Sakowin core concepts were developed by a team of educators and experts in culture, history, oral traditions, and language that collaborated with the South Dakota Department of Education. The team had identified the core concepts that focused on the essential to understanding and teachings of the Oceti Sakowin history and culture. Upon completion of this phase of development in August 2010, another team began to develop the essential understandings. The work was designed to provide compatibility to the South Dakota social studies standards. The essential understandings captured the core concepts that were identified at the beginning of the project. Indicators, standards, and activities were written to provide a framework for additional work and various forms of implementation. Culturally appropriate work created by other sources was identified to support suggested activities. The Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards are used in schools across South Dakota. They provide a foundation for teaching about the history and culture of the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires).


OSEU 1: Lands & Environment The original land base and natural resources of the Oceti Sakowin [oh-CHEH-tee shaw-KOH-we] were under communal stewardship prior to immigrant settlement. Oceti Sakowin have a distinct and unique interrelationship with the environment that is essential to South Dakota.

Week 1  

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Week 2  

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OSEU 2: Identity & ResiliencyThere is variety and resiliency among individuals within the Oceti Sakowin [oh-CHEH-tee shaw-KOH-we] Oyate [oh-YAH-tay] (people) as identity is developed, defined and redefined by entities, by organization, and by people. A continuum of tribal identity, unique to each individual, ranges from assimilated to traditional lifestyle. There is no “generic American Indian.”

Week 3  

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Week 4  

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Week 5  

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OSEU 3: Culture & Language  The origin, thought and philosophy of the Oceti Sakowin [oh-CHEH-tee shaw-KOH-we] continues in the contemporary lifestyles of Tribal members. Tribal cultures, traditions and languages are incorporated and observed by many Tribal members both on and off the reservations.

Week 6  

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Week 7   

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OSEU 4: Kinship & HarmonyOceti Sakowin [oh-CHEH-tee shaw-KOH-we] kinship systems provide a framework for both individual and group behavior. Its unwritten rules promote harmony, compromise, a sense of order, and group cohesion.

Week 8  

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Week 9  

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OSEU 5: Oral Tradition & StoryHistory told from the Oceti Sakowin [oh-CHEH-tee shaw-KOH-we] perspective, through oral tradition and written accounts, frequently conflicts with the stories told by mainstream historians. An analysis of multiple perspectives reveals history in a more inclusive and accurate way.

Week 10  

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Week 11  

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Oceti Sakowin Essential Understanding

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Upcoming Resource Release Dates


Week 12: OSEU 6: Sovereignty & Treaties - 5/3/2021 

Week 13: OSEU 6: Sovereignty & Treaties - 5/10/2021 


Week 14: OSEU 7: Way of Life & Development - 5/17/2021 

Week 15: OSEU 7: Way of Life & Development - 5/24/2021 


Conclusion - 6/01/2021