The word Sioux originates from the expression “less than snake”, a derogatory way of the Algonquins to refer to the people who lived in the great central plains of the United States and southern Canada, between the river Platte and Mount Heart and from the Minnesota forests to Missouri and beyond, to the mountains called Big Horn. The misinterpretation arose when French explorers asked a man belonging to the Chippewa tribe, traditional enemies of the people who lived on these territories. From then on the name Sioux was used to indicate Dakota and Lakota people (variations of the same word that means something like “friend” or “ally”) who have a common language and the same cultural traditions. Today, this people has accepted to be defined as “Lakota”. The seven ceremonies: Until 1870, the Sioux had many rituals. However, after 1870 the US Government prohibited native ceremonies and the use of traditional languages, banning any non-Christian ritual. With these laws, the “whites” wanted to force natives to integration, transforming them from nomadic hunters to sedentary farmers. The Lakota, together with the Cheyennes, were one of the few tribes on the Plains who limited the damage caused by these laws and continued to practise their rites secretly. The sacred pipe. The Pipe is the holiest object for the people of the Great Plains and it's also common for other cultural areas. First of all, it's a tool used for praying and in the Lakota language its name was Chanupa. According to the tradition, the Pipe was given to human beings by Whopi, the White Bison Woman. The Lakota considered the circle very important: the village would be built in a circle, the elders would sit in a circle during the ceremonies, the sky and the earth were thought to be circular. Their spirituality is based on wakan, the expression of a supernatural power that permeates universe, people and things, of which the God Wakan Tanka was the highest embodiment (Wakan Tanka was and will always be, as the Sioux say - He is the Great Mystery, the Great Spirit. Probably, the Sioux originally were seminomadic farmers but very soon they became nomadic hunters, who used to follow the huge bison herds. These animals would provide them with meat, leather and furs. Besides hunting, the men's main occupation was making war. The Sioux went down in history for their incredible resistance against the invasion of ”white men”. In many ways, the Sioux considered war as a game based on merits and bravery. Sometimes they would just touch their enemy to symbolize his killing and often they would leave their enemy alive. Prestige was conquered with deeds of pure merits and each “strike” was represented by an eagle feather to adorn their hair.