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Flandreau Santee Sioux Reservation

Reservation: Flandreau Reservation; Moody County
Division: Santee
Bands: Mdewakanton and Wahpekute
Land Area: 2,356 Acres
Tribal Headquarters: Flandreau, SD
Traditional Language: Dakota
Enrolled Members Living on Reservation: 726
Major Employers: Flandreau Indian School, Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe and Royal River Casino

Location of Flandreau Santee Sioux Reservation

The Flandreau Santee Sioux Reservation is located in the southeastern region of the state and borders the State of Minnesota on the east.

Flandreau Santee tribal flag
Flandreau Santee's Tribal Flag

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 terms of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 allowed the Santee Sioux to homestead if they renounced their tribal membership. Seventy-five families chose this option and homesteaded near Flandreau, South Dakota between 1868 and 1873.

The government established a boarding school in Flandreau in 1870. In 1929, the community voted to establish itself as the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe. Six years later, the community asked Congress to establish it as a reservation under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. Unlike most Sioux reservations, which hold popular elections, the Flandreau Reservation is governed by an executive committee.

The Isanti Dakota are members of the Great Dakota (Sioux) Nation and refer to themselves as Dakota which means friend or ally. The Isanti is comprised of four bands that lived on the eastern side of the Great Sioux Nation:

  • Mdewakanton
  • Wahpetowan
  • Wahpekute
  • Sissetowan

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.

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

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