July 12, 2012

Lower Brule Sioux Tribe of the Lower Brule Reservation


The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe is a sovereign nation defined by its government-to-government relationship with the United States. The Tribe was chartered under the Indian Reorganization Act of June 18, 1934.

Official Tribal Name: Lower Brule Sioux Tribe of the Lower Brule Reservation

Address: PO Box 187, Lower Brule, SD 57548-0187
Phone: (605) 473-5561
Fax: (605) 473-5606

Official Website:

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning:

Kul Wicasa Oyate , meaning “lower…men…nation.” The Lower Brule Sioux, are members of the Sicangu (Burnt Thigh), one of the bands of the Lakota Tribe.

Common Name:

Lower Brule or Lakota

Meaning of Common Name:

The name ‘Brule’ comes from the French word brulé (burnt), the name French fur traders used for the Sicangu in the late 17th century. The Sicangu divided into the Lower Brule and the Heyata Wicasa, or Upper Brule, in the late 18th century. The Lower Brule favored lands where the White River empties into the Missouri River, while the Upper Brule lived further south and west. Lakota is commonly reported to mean “friend or ally.” This is actually incorrect. The real definition of Dakota/Nakota/Lakota is “those who consider themselves kindred.” See this detailed explanation of Sioux Names.

Alternate names / Alternate spellings / Misspellings:

Name in other languages:

Region: Great Plains

State(s) Today:South Dakota

Traditional Territory:

Confederacy: Great Sioux Nation


As part of the Great Sioux Nation, the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe signed treaties in 1824, 1851, 1865 and 1868 with the federal government that constitute the legal documents establishing boundaries and recognizing the rights of sovereign tribal governments.

Reservation: Lower Brule Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land

Lower Brule Reservation – The Lower Brule Sioux Reservation is located in central South Dakota on the western edge of the Missouri River.
Land Area: 132,601 acres
Tribal Headquarters: Lower Brule, SD
Time Zone: Central

Population at Contact:

Registered Population Today:

1,308 enrolled tribal members living on the reservation as of 2010

Tribal Enrollment Requirements:

Genealogy Resources: 


Charter: Chartered under the Prvisions of the IRA of 1934; Approved October 5, 1935. Name of Governing Body: Lower Brule Sioux Tribal Council
Number of Council members: 3, plus executive officers
Dates of Constitutional amendments: June 17, 1974; September 2, 1986. Its constitution was ratified on July 11, 1936, and bylaws were approved in 1960. The Tribe has contracted several aspects of self-government under the 1975 Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act, PL 93-638. In 1986, the Constitution/By-laws were amended and a code of ethics adopted.
Number of Executive Officers: (4) Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Treasurer, and Secretary


Lower Brule does not have voting districts and all representatives are voted for “At-Large.”

All Representatives serve 2 year terms. Elections are not staggered, so all elections occur simultaneously.

Tribal meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month.

Language Classification: Souian-Catawban -> Siouan

Language Dialects: Lakota

Number of fluent Speakers:



Bands, Gens, and Clans

Division: Teton
Bands: Sicangu (Brule or Burnt Thigh)

Related Tribes:

Sioux divisions, tribes, and bands

Traditional Allies:

Traditional Enemies:

Ceremonies / Dances:

Sun Dance, Sweat lodge and Vision Quest

Modern Day Events & Tourism:

Golden Buffalo Casino
The Buffalo Interpretive Center
Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center, Chamberlain, South Dakota (FREE ADMISSION – This museum is off the beaten path, but well worth the detour!)
Hunting and Fishing on the Lower Brule Reservation

Legends / Oral Stories:

Create your own reality
Lakota Star Legends
Legend of the Talking Feather
The End of the World according to Lakota legend
The Legend of Devil’s Tower
The White Buffalo Woman
Tunkasila, Grandfather Rock
Unktomi and the arrowheads

Art & Crafts:

The Sioux people are best known for their intricate beadwork using thousands of tiny glass seed beads.





Economy Today:

Major Employers: Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe Golden Buffalo Casino, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian Health Service. The Lower Brule Farm Corp. is the nation’s number-one popcorn producer.

Religion & Spiritual Beliefs:
The Sioux Drum

Burial Customs:

Wedding Customs

Education and Media:

Tribal College: Lower Brule Community College, Lower Brule SD

St. Joseph’s Indian School, Chamberlain, South Dakota

Famous Sioux Chiefs and Leaders:

Chief Iron Nation (1815-1894) led the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe through some of its most challenging years. He worked diligently, both as a warrior and statesman, to ensure the survival of his people. Iron Nation signed the treaty to establish the Great Sioux Reservation in 1868.

Sinte Gleska (Spotted Tail) Sicangu Oyate Lakota (ca. 1823-1881) – Sinte Gleska was a Brule Sioux leader who became one of the most important individuals in the Northern Plains. Known as Jumping Buffalo in his youth, the future leader received his new name after a trapper gave him a raccoon. 


Arthur Amiotte, (Oglala Lakota)-Painter, Sculptor, Author, Historian


Bryan Akipa, flutist (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate)

Catastrophic Events:

Tribe History:

In 1963, the Big Bend dam on the Missouri River was completed. The operation of the dam caused flooding on the Lower Brute community and surrounding bottomlands in the heart of the reservation. The waters inundated miles of roadways and a significant amount of fertile farmland and destroyed most of the Reservation’s native trees, shrubs and medicinal plants. The federal government established the Lower Brule Infrastructure Development Trust Fund Act in 1997 in compensation for the lands lost nearly 50 years before.In response to the Act the Tribe established the Infrastructure Development Authority, a committee of tribal members who oversee the Trust Fund and recommend action and expenditures to the Tribal Council.

Descendants Remember Battle of Little Big Horn

In the News:

Further Reading:

The Plains Indians of the Twentieth Century

Spotted Tail’s Folk: A History of the Brule Sioux

American Carnage: Wounded Knee, 1890

US Tribes K to M
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