Rosebud Sioux Tribe of the Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota

Published on October 4, 2013 by Amy

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Rosebud Sioux Tribe
Rosebud Sioux Tribe

The Rosebud Indian Reservation (RIR) is an Indian reservation in South Dakota, United States. It is the home of the federally recognized Sicangu Oyate, also known as Sicangu Lakota, the Upper Brulé Sioux Nation, and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe (RST), a branch of the Lakota people. Sicangu Oyate translates from Lakota to English as “Burnt Thigh Nation”; it is sometimes translated via French as “Brulé Sioux”.

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The Rosebud Indian Reservation was established in 1889 by the United States’ partition of the Great Sioux Reservation. Created in 1868 by the Treaty of Fort Laramie, the Great Sioux Reservation originally covered all of West River, South Dakota (the area west of the Missouri River), as well as part of northern Nebraska and eastern Montana. The reservation includes all of Todd County, South Dakota and communities and lands in the four adjacent counties, which had at one time been entirely part of the reservation.

Geography and population

The RIR is located in south central South Dakota, and presently includes within its recognized border all of Todd County, an unincorporated county of South Dakota. However, the Oyate also has communities and extensive lands and populations in the four adjacent counties, which were once within the Rosebud Sioux Tribe (RST) boundaries: Tripp, Lyman, Mellette, and Gregory Counties, all in South Dakota. Mellette County, especially, has extensive off-reservation trust land, comprising 33.35 percent of its land area, where 40.23 percent of the population lives.

The total land area of the reservation and its trust lands is 1,970.362 sq mi (5,103.214 km²) with a population of 10,469 in the 2000 census. The main reservation (Todd County) has a land area of 1,388.124 sq mi (3,595.225 km²) and a population of 9,050. The RIR is bounded on the south by Cherry County, Nebraska, on the west by the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, on the north by the White River, and originally, on the east by the Missouri River.

The Oyate capital is the unincorporated town of Rosebud, established when the Spotted Tail Indian Agency (named after the 19th-century war chief, whose Lakota name was Sinte Gleska) was moved from northwestern Nebraska to the banks of Rosebud Creek near its confluence with the Little White River. The largest town on the reservation is Mission, located at the intersections of US Highways 18 and 83. Mission’s near neighbor of Antelope is one of the many tribal band communities established in the late 1870s and growing since then. Other major towns in the reservation are Saint Francis, located southwest of Rosebud and the home of Saint Francis Indian School, a private Catholic institution first established as a mission school. Saint Francis, with a current population of about 2000, is the largest incorporated town in South Dakota without a state highway for access.

Located on the Great Plains, just north of the Nebraska Sandhills, Rosebud Indian Reservation has large areas of Ponderosa Pine forest scattered in its grasslands. Deep valleys are defined by steep hills and ravines, often with lakes dotting the deeper valleys.

Economy and services

The RST owns and operates Rosebud Casino, located on U.S. Route 83 just north of the Nebraska border. Nearby is a fuel plaza, featuring truck parking and a convenience store. Power for the casino is furnished in part by one of the nation’s first tribally owned electricity-generating wind turbines. The tribe allows alcohol sales on the reservation, which enables it to keep the sales taxes and other revenues generated, as well as to police and regulate its use. A new residential community, Sicangu Village, was recently built along Highway 83 near the casino and the state line.

The RST population is estimated at 25,000 (2005). It is served by the Oyate administration and agencies, as well as the BIA Rosebud Agency, Todd County School District, Saint Francis Indian School, the Rosebud Indian Health Service Hospital, and Sinte Gleska University. The tribal university is named after the 19th-century Sioux war chief and statesman, whose name in English was Spotted Tail.

General information

  • Land Area: 882,416 acres (3,571.01 km2)
  • Tribal headquarters: Rosebud, South Dakota
  • Time zone: Central
  • Enrolled members living on reservation: 21,245
  • Major employers: Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Todd County School District
  • Source: wikipedia

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