where does the word "slota" come from ?
ie, what is its origin & etymology?

slo'ta, adj. (?). Iéslota, One who tells the truth, perhaps. Iémaslota. Bl. Cf. slolya.
slolya', v.a. To know, have knowledge of anything or person. Slolwaya. ...
slo'ta, adj. Aware of things. Slotá is the more correct form. Ieslota, One who tells the truth. Iemaslota. Bl. LHB. Cf. slolya.

- A Dictionary - Oie Wowapi Wan of Teton Sioux, Lakota - English : English - Lakota,
compiled by Rev. Eugene Buechel, S.J., Red Cloud Indian School, Inc.,
Holy Rosary Mission, Pine Ridge, South Dakota, 1970/1983, pp 457, 825


SLOLYE / CONOSCERE [english: v. to know (spanish: conocer)]

SLOTA/ FUMO [english: n. smoke (spanish: humo)]

Dizionario Lakhota/Italiano
a cura di Wichasa Hita Pi Yo

HITA / SPAZZOLA - brush, PI / FEGATO - liver


slotas: red river metis


Slotas is a term used to indicate French speaking half-breed itinerant traders who ranged across the northern Great Plains in southern Canada and the northern U. S. A.. They had previously traded with Sitting Bull's Hunkpapas, as they were a source of the more modern firearms and ammunition which the Indians realised that they needed in order to increase their chances in combat against the whites. Unfortunately, in 1872 a group of Slotas had unwisely included a large consignment of whiskey with their trade goods. This led to conflict among the Indians, many of whom went on drunken binges, even killing one another under the influence. The Slotas left this particular trde meeting early. During April a large group of Slotas, possibly including some of the same ones involved in the whiskey incident during the previous year, were intercepted having crossed the Yellowstone and progressing up the valley of the Rosebud. At first a single Hunkpapa was killed in a small incident, but this led Sitting Bull to get a war party together in order to attack the Slotas. Possibly the Slotas were intending to look for gold in the area, though this is speculation.
"Sitting Bull Attacks the Slotas on The Rosebud During 1873"

(revised June 21, 2000)
Lee Sultzman


The Northwesters and XYZ merged in 1804 ending the worst abuses, but British traders were all over the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin and an increasing concern to the Americans. The factory system was created during the 1790s to compete with the British, but it was poorly managed and ineffective. During his exploration of the upper Mississippi in 1806, Zebulon Pike ordered the Ojibwe to stop trading with the British and arranged a truce between them and the Dakota. Pike had barely started back down the Mississippi, when war with the Dakota and trade with the British resumed. John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company entered the Lake Superior trade just after the War of 1812. The British were still allowed to trade in the area, but United States law now required a permit. For some reason, these were difficult to obtain, and Astor was soon able to buy out the Northwesters. However, farther west in Minnesota, the Dakotas, and northern plains, British and Métis traders from the Red River remained active for many years. Known to the Lakota as the Slota, Métis traders took their high, two-wheeled Red River carts out on the plains. They were an important source of firearms for the Lakota until the 1870s.




Below is a partial list of names of individuals/families for which we have genealogies and/or biographies on file. Major additions are added periodically.

Metis organizations in Alberta, Saskatchewan & Manitoba want to restrict the definition of Metis to be limited to those people of mixed ancestry who can trace their ancestry back to a traditional Metis homeland. In actuality, there is no such place as a Metis homeland, as the original Metis were born throughout the Canadian north and west. Presumably they mean Red River, the homeland of the so-called Metis Nation. However, most Metis (including the Red River residents) came from elsewhere. By that definition, Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont were not Metis. {01}

Robert M. Utley, The lance and the shield: the life and times of Sitting Bull (Henry Holt: New York 1993)

With the fighting of 1863-4, furthermore, Sitting Bull's ambivalence toward white people, especially the Long Knives, began to fade. He would continue to do business -- not always amicably -- with white traders at Forts Pierre, Berthold, and Union, as also with the wandering Red River Métis, the Slota, from the Grandmother's country to the north. They were the source of manufactures on which the Sioux depended, most importantly powder, lead, and muskets, and finally repeating rifles and metallic ammunition. They had to be tolerated.
p 64

A ban he [Sitting Bull] had imposed on all trade between his people and white traders had proved self-defeating. Slotas could provide arms, ammunition, and other goods, but they were nomadic and offered a less certain source that fixed trading posts.
p 93

Gradually, in the 1870s, the Sioux began to acquire rifles and pistols that fired metallic cartridges. ...
Despite obstacles, the hunting bands found arms sources. ... Presenting still another opportunity were the Slotas, the Red River Métis who wandered the plains north and east of the Missouri.(19)

The Slotas had long traded with the Lakotas intermittently, but in the summer of 1872 Sitting Bull decided to establish a firm connection. The conflict with the whites had grown more threatening, and his men needed rifles and cartridges. Journeying to one of the Slota camps north of the Missouri, he entered into his own version of a treaty, in which the Slotas agreed to bring a caravan of trade goods to the Hunkpapa camp.

Deep in the following winter, the Slotas arrived with a caravan of sleighs loaded with merchandise. This was the winter when most of the Hunkpapas clustered around Fort Peck drawing rations, but Sitting Bull and his small following camped at the head of the Big Dry. Ominously, five of the Slota sleighs contained whiskey, and many in the camp embarked on a prolonged binge. Pandemonium reigned, with fights, maimings, and even killings dominating the trading and accentuating factional divisions. The Slotas disposed of firearms and other trade goods -- White Bull bought a breech-loading rifle -- but their whiskey made a shambles of Sitting Bull's trade treaty.

"The French half-breeds left after they saw what they had started," related Frank Grouard, who was there. "They pulled up stakes and left in the night and took what whiskey was left with them."(20)

Only a few months later, in April 1873, the Hunkpapas had another encounter with Slotas, this one even more violent. Some two to three hundred Slotas had crossed the Yellowstone and moved south up the Rosebud. They had thus penetrated deep into Sioux hunting grounds, and the Sioux looked on them as interlopers, far from their rightful territory and probably prospecting for gold. His people had never fought the Slotas before, observed Old Bull, but they were trespassing. ...(21) ...

At least eight Hunkpapas died in the futile assault on the Slota position. ... the Slota fight again highlighted the flaws in the Sioux style of combat against a well-armed and disciplined foe. ...
pp 102-4

By April 16 [1877] Sitting Bull had reached a Slota trading camp on the Big Bend of Milk River, clearly headed for the international boundary.(21)
p 181

[May 1877, moving up the White Mud River] Sitting Bull had occasionally been in this country in the past, following the buffalo or seeking Slotas to trade with. He would later say that he had been reared among the Slotas, who taught him to shoot. They may have, although the relationship doubtless occurred less in the Queen's country than in Dakota and Montana, where the Slotas also ranged much as did the Sioux.
p 184

For the young Lakotas, because of the warnings of the police and their own chiefs, the boundary exercised a more inhibiting influence than it did for the other tribes and the Slotas who moved back and forth following the buffalo.
p 191

... Buffalo grew increasingly scarce north of the boundary, and hungry Indians, whether refugees from the United States or natives of Canada, had to ride south to Milk River or beyond to find meat.
Although larger forces than the northward migration of six thousand Sioux ordained the fate of the buffalo, the canadian tribes held the newcomers at least partly responsible. Blackfeet, Blood, Piegan, Sarsi, Cree, Salteaux, and even Slotas regarded the Sioux as commandeering food that belonged in the mouths of their own hungry children. That they themselves frequently sought the herds as far south as the former Sioux ranges in Montana did not make them any more hospitable toward the invaders.
p 201

[in Canada] Soldiering [akicita] incidents sometimes created lasting animosities, as when Gray Eagle, Sitting Bull's brother-in-law, joined with three other men to steal 150 Slota horses. Assembling One Bull [his nephew, adopted son, and akicita leader] and his akicita, Sitting Bull summoned the culprits and castigated them for breaking the Grandmother's [Queen's] law and bringing on trouble with the redcoats. He then ordered them to run over a nearby hill while the akicita fired over their heads, obtain the stolen animals, and return them to Sitting Bull's lodge. The men did as ordered, suffering public dishonor as the akicita fired above them.
p 211

[1881, on the shores of Lake Qu'Appelle, Canada, visit of Indian Commissioner Edgar Dewdney]
Sitting Bull took the lead, volubly pouring words on Dewdney, not all of which emerged from the interpreter in an understandable sequence. He spoke of Canada, of the Grandmother, of peace, and of his solution to the present impasse: gather ten principal men each of the Sioux, the Americans, the Canadians, the Crees, the Slotas, and even the Catholic priests, "so they could talk it over and put everything straight." ...
p 227-8

On July 12 [1881], with thirty-seven carts and wagons containing flour and pemmican, [trader Jean Louis] Legaré and eleven Slota employees headed out on the road for Buford. At Sitting Bull's camp some of the Indians packed themselves into the carts while the rest, including Sitting Bull, sat in sullen defiance. ...
p 229

on iyeska & washichu

i,    n. The mouth. Mii, nii, wecái.
ia,    v.n. Same as iyá. To speak.
ie,    v. Same as ia.
ska,    adj. White, clear.

iye'ska. same as ieska.

ie'ska. 1) One who speaks well, an interpreter. Iyémaska, iyéniska.
2) v.n. To be fluent, to speak a language intelligibly. Iamaska.

- A Dictionary - Oie Wowapi Wan of Teton Sioux, Lakota - English : English - Lakota,
compiled by Rev. Eugene Buechel, S.J., Red Cloud Indian School, Inc.,
Holy Rosary Mission, Pine Ridge, South Dakota, 1970/1983, pp 457, 825

usage on the web ...

Iyeska - interpreter, used also as a name for a person of mixed blood, half Lakota half white. Many mixed bloods interpreted for the U.S. Cavalry.

Iyeska - or mixed blood - also means translator.

Iyeska is the spirit who stands at the crossroads between the invisible and visible worlds.

I am an Iyeska (mixed-blood) Lakota, but would consider myself as traditional as an Iyeska can be in this day and age.

He too, was an IYESKA, a guardian of the dreamtime.

Rick Two Dogs, who serves as a Wakan Iyeska (spiritual interpreter) for Wakanyeja Pawicayapi [In the Lakota language Wakanyeja Pawicayapi means "The children first." Also in the Lakota language the word for child Wakanyeja means "sacred gift."]

Or "iyeska" in Lakota, meaning "mixed-blood" if you're talking about someone's ancestry/culture, "translator" if about language, and "shaman" if about the sacred. But they're still talking about the underlying process of going between in each case, focusing on dancing not dancers.

"It is not the big, dramatic things so much that get us down, but just being Indian, trying to hang on to our way of life, language, and values while being surrounded by an alien, more powerful culture. It is being an iyeska, a half-blood, being looked down upon by whites and full-bloods alike [in South Dakota]." Mary is evidently using "half-blood" to mean "mixed-blood", not intending a strict "half".

TwoTrees, an Iyeska (mixed blood/interpreter), brings the languages and cultures of her Native American, African and European heritages to her work.

The reason I am fighting this is because my kids are what the Cheyenne call iyeska (mixed breeds or half-bloods).

The iyeska wicasa (medicine men) in our tiospaye who help us tell us the same thing. They respect our power.

[Sara] Trechter's paper for the conference was "White between the Lines: Ethnic Positioning in Lakhota Discourse." In the abstract, she writes, "Given the Lakhota experience of continued colonialization, white people are understandably regarded as encroaching and greedy. An oft-cited exemplar of white greed is the etymology for wasicu, 'white person.' By folk definition, this word has come to mean 'fat-take,' encoding the view that Anglo-Americans consume everything. Taken in conjunction with iyeska, 'speak white' ... 'whiteness' is ideologically construed with material, linguistic, and spiritual encroachment."

A note is in order concerning the derivation of the term wašíčhu̜, which is found throughout this account. Sioux people of all cultural and linguistic divisions have forgotten, or deny, that wašíčhu̜ is an old name for a medicine or sacred bundle. It was applied to the seemingly magical bundles of trade goods transported by the first whites seen in the Great Lakes area, the French. Their guns and other metal weapons and tools, mirrors, glass beads, and cloth were wakhá̜ [wakaη], that is, sacred, mysterious, and powerful. To this day, some Sioux distinguish the French from other whites by calling them wašíčhu̜ ikčéka, real (or regular or original) whites.
preface, xv

Any man who conducts [medicine] meetings can be called iyéska (interpreter), the same term designating mixed-bloods.

- Stephen E. Feraca, Wakinyan: Lakota religion in the twentieth century (University of Nebraska Press 1998 [1963])

śi ´ca, śi ´ce, adj. Bad, ugly, wicked. Maśi ´ca.

waśi ´, v.a. To employ.

waśi ´cuη, n. The white man, as used esp. disparagingly; any person or thing that is wakaη, as tunkaη - , yuwipi, etc. The white man seemed to be wakaη so they called this new comer among Indians, coming from across the ocean, mni -; while others met in the central United States, pusyata -. Buechel speculates that the word may be wa-śica-uη, One (wa) wearing (uη) bad or short (to the Indian eye) clothes, as is said: sapuη, skauη. Also, a person or thing having or characterized by special powers resident in the universe and looked upon as a container or carrier of toη, i.e. that by which the person or thing is wakaη; also, any object into which has been put toη by a person such as a wicaśa wakaη for his ceremonials and carried about by him in a bag, not the medicine bag. Waśicuηpi. WJR. 153.
waśicuη ciηca, n. A mixed blood.
waśicuη hokśila, n. A white man's boy.
waśicuη wakͨáη, n. The white man's doctor.
waśicuη wiciηcala, n. A white man's girl.
waśicuη cuta, prep. n. At or to a white man's town.

waśiη´, n. Fat not dried out, fat meat; pork.

waśi'yuta, n. (wasicuta). A place where white people live. - mni kte. - wai. This was the first name for an agency, and perhaps a first attempt for Washington.

- A Dictionary - Oie Wowapi Wan of Teton Sioux, Lakota - English : English - Lakota,
compiled by Rev. Eugene Buechel, S.J., Red Cloud Indian School, Inc.,
Holy Rosary Mission, Pine Ridge, South Dakota, 1970/1983, pp 457, 825

tom kunesh 20oct02, 1apr04