Published on March 10, 2013 by Casey
The Standing Rock Indian Reservation is a Lakota, Yanktonai and Dakota Indian reservation in North Dakota and South Dakota in the United States. The sixth-largest reservation in land area in the United States, it comprises all of Sioux County, North Dakota, and all of Corson County, South Dakota, plus slivers of northern Dewey County and Ziebach County in South Dakota, along their northern county lines at Highway 20.
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The reservation has a land area of 9,251.2 square kilometers (3,571.9 sq mi) and a population of 8,250 as of the 2000 census. The largest communities on the reservation are Cannon Ball, Selfridge, and McLaughlin. Other communities within the reservation include Bullhead, Fort Yates, Kenel, Little Eagle, Porcupine, and Wakpala.
The Yanktonai and Dakota live in North Dakota, the Lakota live in South Dakota. The Upper Yanktonai people used a language called Ihanktonwana which translates “Little End Village” and Lower Yanktonai, called Hunkpatina in their language, “Campers at the Horn” or “End of the Camping Circle”. Thunder Butte, a prominent landmark, is along the border between the Standing Rock Reservation and the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. The latter is occupied by the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation based upon Nomadic people who lived in teepees year round. Their culture was also based strongly upon horses and buffalo.
Sitting Bull was a highly respected Lakota war chief and medicine man who led the Lakota in years of resistance to the United States in the late 19th century. He commanded forces that defeated General George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876. His grave is on the reservation. Sitting Bull College was named in his honor. His people, the Hunkpapa (Húŋkpapȟa), mainly reside on this reservation. Húŋkpapȟa means “Head of the Circle”, due to the tradition of their setting their lodges at the entryway to the circle during Sioux council.
Originally with a territory of 4 million acres (16,000 km2) in 1864, the reservation was reduced in size after the Indian Wars of the 19th century, resulting in more land available for European-American settlers.