A Field Guide to the Prairie

Dakota Prairie Terms and Pronunciations

Click on the terms below to hear how to pronounce them in the Dakota language.

The Dakota are a Plains Indian nation who live mainly in the Upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. The Dakota heavily depended on the bison (Bison bison) for their livelihood. Virtually every part of the bison was used in some way for the benefit of the tribe. Not only did Plains Indians find uses for animals on the prairie, the grasses and other plants provided them many resources. Several plants are used today for their healing or nutritious properties first discovered by American Indians. Unfortunately, Dakota language is spoken less often because fewer young tribe members are able to speak their native language.


earth - maka
prairie - tinta
prairie turnip - tipsinna
grass - peji
flower - wahca
tree - can
sage -
spring - wetu
summer - bdoketu
fall - ptanyetu
winter - waniyetu
bison (buffalo bull) - tatanka
buffalo cow - ptewiye
buffalo calf - ptezincada
moose - ta
deer - tahca
bear - mato
wolf - sunktokca
coyote - micaksica
horse - sunktanka
dog - sunka
fish - hogan
eagle - wambdi
hawk -cetan

loon - bdoza
prairie chicken - siyo
butterfly - kimama
mosquito - caponka
mother - ina
father - ate
children - siceca
boy - hoksida
girl - wiciyanna
hunt - ihni
play - skata
fire - peta
water - mni
lake - bde
river - wakpa
rain - magazu
story - woyake
song - odowan
dance - wacipi
game - woskate
lacrosse - takapsicapi
sky - mahpiyato
sunshine - wiiyoyanpa

On the Prairie

College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences
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