Among the Lakota there existed several Warrior Societies. From some of these, prominent men were chosen to serve in the a
Aki'cita, a tribal police force, or guard unit, if you will. They also were responsible for the order of the annual Buffalo hunt.
The main function of these societies was for the training and development of fighting skills and the warrior ethos. Moral character was also cultivated and taught.
Kangi'yuha, Crow owners society- Were a prominent group who was eligible for service in the Aki'cita. Members were proven warriors who emulated the crow, in that they strove to be first in striking in battle, as the crow was first to fall upon dead warriors on the field. With arrows that flew straight, as the crow and with a stuffed crow worn around the neck in battle. They also were chosen to search out winter camps.
Toka'la, Kit Fox Society- another prominent Aki'cita society, wore a fox skin around the shoulders, head hanging in front and tail down the back. Warriors were expected to pledge bravery, generosity and honor, in all affairs. They were renowned for concern and good acts within the tribe in peacetime and in war. They were noted as volunteers for whatever the tribe needed done.
Cante'tinza, Strong Heart Society-Members pledged self-control in ther thoughts and actions. Emotional stability as well, and to care for the poor and needy. Often seen wearing a feather headress with buffalo horns on the sides. Another Aki'cita eligible society.
Ino'ka, Badger Society-Also Aki'cita eligible, the order was founded by a man who dreamed a badger, and pledged to take on th aspect of the fearless badger. So, the society was renowned for extreme ferocity in battle, and fought fearlessly despite the number of the enemy. They displayed crooked lances wrapped in wolf skin and otter fur on the wrists and around the neck. It is said they embedded mirrors in the otter fur to reflect the sun and blind the enemy in battle.
Wi'ciska, White Marked Society-They wore feathered headdresses, trailing to the ground and the members were hardened veterans. They collected white, black tipped eagle feathers, as honors in battle.
Sotka'yuha, Bare Lance Owners Society-Often comprised of younger warriors, the bare lance was symbolic of a warrior waiting to collect war honors in battle.
Miwa'tani, Mandan Society-Also called the owl headdress society. Admission was difficult in that each member pledged to sacrifice his life, if need be, to save a wounded comrade. They wore a long sash which they would stake into the ground, pinning themselves so they could not retreat in a desperate battle. They would fight to the death and not submit. They could only move from the spot if a fellow Mandan member released them.
Sunk'ska akan'yanka, White Hose Riders Society-These were battle veterans who made markings on their white horses to display their valorous acts to enemies. They also fed the families of incapacitated warriors.
Oma'ha. Grass Dance Society-the traditions originated with the Omaha tribe. They danced ceremoniously, the Grass dance, for healing, and the Horse and Kettle dances.
It was not uncommon for warriors to belong to more than one society as he progressed in life, but was only a member of one society at a time.