The Dakota (or Sioux) people are a Native
American group living primarily in Minnesota and South Dakota,
but also in North Dakota, neighboring Canada, and other places.
They are divided into three main groups: the Santee, Yankton (or
Nakota), and Teton (or Lakota). While these groups do have different
dialects, most are mutually intelligible.
Around 20,000 people speak the language, making it one of the largest
Native American tongues.
Missionaries from the Episcopal Church were quite
active among the Dakota, with the result that many today are practicing
Episcopalians. Approximately half the Epicopalians in South Dakota
today are Dakota.
Portions of the American Book of Common Prayer
were first translated into Dakota in 1865; the text presented here
is the second, from 1870, and appears in David Griffiths' Bibliography
of the Book of Common Prayer as 24:2. It is in the Santee
dialect. Since this time translations have been made of all editions
of the U. S. BCP, including the present 1979 edition. Two of these,
one a 1900 printing of an 1875 edition (Griffiths
24:3), and another an 1891 printing of an 1878 edition (Griffiths
24:4, the first time an
American BCP was translated in full into a Native American tongue)
are available from Google Books.
Like most languages, Dakota has evolved over the
years, and today is spelled somewhat differently than is seen here.
In particular, a number of diacritical marks are used now, but
were not when this book was published.