January 30, 2002

Flandreau Santee Sioux Reservation


The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe is a member of the Isanti division of the Great Dakota (Sioux) Nation. The Tribe is composed of descendants of the Isanti people. The Isanti is comprised of four bands (Mdewakanton, Wahpetowan, Wahpekute, and Sissetowan) that lived on the eastern side of the Great Sioux Nation.


Flandreau Santee Sioux ReservationThe United States Government as defined by the United States Constitution has governmental relationships with International, Tribal, and State entities. The Tribal nations have a government-to-government relationship with the United States. The Tribes of the Great Sioux Nation signed treaties in the 1800’s with the United States which are the legal documents that established our boundaries and recognized our rights as a sovereign government.

The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe is a member of the Isanti division of the Great Dakota (Sioux) Nation. Many of
the Tribal members were relocated to the reservation after Little Crow’s War in Minnesota. The Tribe was originally designated lands in present day Minnesota, North and South Dakota recognized in treaties with the United States.

The current reservation is in South Dakota and was established under the Indian Reorganization
Act of 1934. The Tribe claims jurisdiction over all right-of-way, waterways, watercourses and streams running through any part of the reservation and to such others lands as may hereafter be added to the reservation under the laws of the United States.

The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe operates under a constitution and is governed by an Executive Committee, known
as the Tribal Council. The Tribal Council consists of a President, Vice-President, Secretary, and 4 additional Trustees
who are elected by the tribal members. A Tribal Treasurer is appointed.

The Tribal President serves as the administrative head of the Tribe. The Tribal President, Officers and Trustees serve a term of 4 years and are elected from the reservation. The Tribe is governed by an Executive Committee elected by general council who are all qualified tribal voters, each even numbered year.. The majority of the population live in
the community on trust land in Flandreau, SD.

Tribal/Agency Headquarters: Flandreau, South Dakota 

Counties: Moody County, South Dakota;

Number of enrolled members: 684
Reservation Population: 271
Language: Dakota and English

Land Status: Acres
Total Trust Property 2,194
Total Non-Trust Property 485
Highway 85-Black Hills (Lawrence Cty) 127
Highway 34 (Moody County) 320
County Road 2 (Moody County) 29
Total Trust and Non-Trust 2,679



The Flandreau Santee Sioux Reservation is located in the southeastern region of the state and borders the State of Minnesota on the east. The reservation is located in a region of South Dakota known as the Prairie Coteau, consisting primarily of undulating or gently rolling land. The Big Sioux River flows through the center of the area. 

The headquarters of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe is adjacent to the community of Flandreau in Moody County,
South Dakota. The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe maintains the right and responsibility to provide environmental authority in compliance with tribal and Federal law for protection of the land and resources within the exterior boundaries of the reservation through code development and regulatory mechanisms. The maintenance and protection of the land is very important to the Dakota people and our future generations.


The Isanti Dakota are members of the Great Dakota (Sioux) Nation and refer to themselves as Dakota which
means friend or ally. The United States government took the word Sioux from (Nadowesioux), which comes from a Chippewa (Ojibway) word which means little snake or enemy. The French traders and trappers who worked with the Chippewa( Ojibway) people shortened the word to Sioux.

The Tribe is composed of descendants of the Isanti people. The Isanti is comprised of four bands (Mdewakanton, Wahpetowan, Wahpekute, and Sissetowan) that lived on the eastern side of the Great Sioux Nation. The Isanti speak
the ‘D’ dialect of Siouan language. They were a river-plains people who did some farming as well as buffalo hunting.The Tribe consists mainly of descendants of the Mdewakanton band.

The oral tradition of our people relates that the Lakota and Dakota people were one nation. The Lakota people
moved frequently and live in the west. The Dakota people still practice their sacred and traditional ceremonies which encompass the seven rites of Dakota Nation brought by the White Buffalo Calf Woman.

The Flandreau Santee Sioux Reservation is located near Pipestone National Monument, the source of the stone
used to make the sacred pipe for prayer, healing and ceremonies.This is a sacred site to all the Dakota Nation as it is the blood of our people remaining after a great flood at the change of one of the ages of Mother Earth. The area is protected from unauthorized removal of pipestone and desecration by the Tribal and the federal governments.

Social activities such as powwow, rodeos, and races are celebrated in the summer months. Special powwows are held for individuals who reached a certain stage in their lives such as graduation or acceptance into the armed forces with traditional honoring ceremonies, give aways, and feasts to celebrate their accomplishments. The oral tradition is still passed down from the elders to the youth.

The future of our people is in the hands of our children and our ability to sufficiently enable them to protection our resources, restore our economy and govern ourselves. The children of the Great Sioux Nation will bring us into the 21st century with pride.


The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, descendant of the Mdewakantonwan of the Great Dakota Nation which signed the 1805, 1851, 1858, 1863, and 1868 treaties with the U.S. government. At one time, The Great Dakota Nation extended from the Big Horn Mountains in the West to the west side of Wisconsin in the East. The Isanti Division is composed of four bands: Mdewakantonwan, Wahpetowan, Wahpekute, and Sissetowan.

The Dakota inhabited the eastern part of the Nation in what is now Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

The Black Hills are located in the center the Great Sioux Nation. The Black Hills are sacred to the Lakota/Dakota people and today are considered an important part of our spiritual lives. A direct violation of the 1868 Treaty was committed in 1874 by General George A. Custer and his 7th Cavalry. The 7th Cavalry entered the Black Hills and found gold in the Black Hills. The Gold Rush started the conflict between the United States and Great Dakota Nation. The Great Dakota Nation opposed this violation of the treaty. The United States Government wanted to buy or rent the Black Hills from the Lakota people. The Great Dakota Nation has refused to sell or rent their
sacred lands.

After Little Crow’s War in Minnesota in 1862, many of the Isanti people were scattered across the western
parts of the Nation and Canada to escape persecution and live life in peace. Others shared a different fate as 38 men were hung in Mankato, Minnesota as punishment for the uprising. The remainder of the 300 wer imprisoned. The rest of the 1,200 survivors were rounded up and relocated to Fort Thompson and present-day Niobrara Nebraska. Some of the Isanti moved to Fort Totten, North Dakota and Flandreau, South Dakota while the
remainder live on the Sisseton-Wahpeton Reservation in northeastern South Dakota.

The 7th Cavalry under General George A. Custer was requested to bring the Sioux bands in and place them on the
reservation lands. On June 25, 1876, the Battle of the Little Big Horn took place at Greasy Grass, Montana between the 7th Cavalry and Lakota Nation with their allies the Cheyenne and Arapahos. The Dakota Nation won a victory over General George A. Custer and his 7th Cavalry.

The Great Dakota Nation scattered, some to Canada and others surrendered to the reservations. The United
States Government demanded that the Dakota nation move to the reservations. The Allotment Act of 1887 allotted Indian lands in 160 acre lots to adult male heads of household and 80 acre lots to adult males to further divide the nation. The Act of 1889 broke up the Great Dakota Nation into smaller reservations, the remainder of which exist today at about one half their original size in 1889.

The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe is a survivors of the wars and were granted trust status for their present
reservation land under the authority of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.


The climate of the area is subject to wide variations in temperature and precipitation from year to year. The average annual temperature is 44 F; average annual precipitation is 22.6 inches occurring between April and September. The region is subject to severe thunderstorms, often spawning tornado conditions. The winter months are usually cold, with temperatures frequently dropping to below zero. Blizzard conditions are not uncommon during these months.


Highways 32 and 34 lead from Flandreau to the well maintained Interstate 29 which passes seven miles west of Flandreau. State Highway 13 passes through Flandreau south to north. The Jackrabbit Bus Lines run through Flandreau. Commercial air services are available at Sioux Falls and limited service at Brookings, South Dakota. The Flandreau Municipal Airport is maintained as a supplementary or emergency facility located three miles south of the city.

The residents of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe live mainly in the community of Flandreau which is about 30
miles north of Sioux Falls, the largest city in the state of South Dakota. Sioux Falls serves as the primary commercial and medical referral center for the service area residents.


The major employers on the Flandreau Santee Sioux reservation are Tribal administration, Tribal health care,education and Tribal Casino operations. In addition to Tribal government and services, the Tribe also operates the Royal River Casino and bingo, motel, gas station/convenience store, and a bowling alley.

Commercial business by private operators include artists skilled in painting and handcrafts, musicians, and a recording studio.

Other major employment is provided by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Flandreau Indian School.


The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe is located in the middle of some of the finest hunting and fishing in the area. Water sports are enjoyed by many on the numerous lakes near the reservation. The Tribe operates a motel along with the Royal River Casino and Restaurant with high stakes gambling and bingo games.

The Tribe sponsors an annual pow-wow in July. In addition to the dancing competition, the summer event also
includes a softball tournament. There are several beach areas near with boat ramps for fishing and water sports. During the year other sports activities such as softball, volleyball, trap shooting, 9-hole golf course, and basketball tournaments are also held during the year. Tourist attractions include the pipestone quarry and the dells of the Big Sioux River.


Electric utility services for the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe are provided by the City of Flandreau and Sioux Valley Electric. US West Communications Company provides telephone service to the reservation.


The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe operates a Health Center Clinic and maintains all health services independently under a :PL 93-638 contract with the Indian Health Service (IHS). According to the IHS User Population Estimates for FY-1991, the Flandreau Service Area serves 1,399 Indians. This estimate includes members of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe and other eligible Indians, as well as students attending the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Boarding School.

The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe provides an Elderly Nutrition Program and Youth Cultural/ Recreational
Activities. Health care is provided by the Tribal Health Department at the Health Center Clinic including the Community Health Representative and Ambulance Service. The Health Department also provides examinations and eyeglasses to all residents at reduced rates.


Housing in the Indian community consists of HUD low-rent housing projects and individual scattered sites. The Tribal Housing Authority manages the housing program, provides maintenance and has won awards for well kept housing conditions. Limited quarters are available for BIA employees. Private purchase and rental housing is available in Flandreau, Brookings,and Sioux Falls, South Dakota and in Pipestone, Minnesota.


The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe desires to continue progress in providing for our people and the development of increased self-sufficiency. There are plans underway to develop human and cultural resources to preserve traditions and educate Tribal members and non-members, and strengthen the economy on the reservation. The Tribe will continue to search for ways to maintain our culture and develop new economic opportunities for our future generations.

Environmental Problem Statement:

The lack of an air and water quality monitoring system to monitor the effects of the 3M medical facility, the largest
air pollution producer in the state, which is located upwind from tribal lands.

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