Cheyenne River Indian Reservation

Cheyenne River Indian Reservation
Cheyenne River Indian Reservation
—  Reservation  —
Farmland on the reservation
Location of Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, South Dakota
Coordinates: 45°04′35″N 101°13′33″W / 45.07639°N 101.22583°W / 45.07639; -101.22583Coordinates: 45°04′35″N 101°13′33″W / 45.07639°N 101.22583°W / 45.07639; -101.22583
Country United States
State South Dakota
Counties Dewey / Ziebach / Stanley / Haakon / Meade
Established 1889
 - Governing body General Tribal Council
 - Total 4,266.987 sq mi (11,051.447 km2)
Population (2000)
 - Total 8,470
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
 - Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
Website Official Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Website

The Cheyenne River Indian Reservation was created by the United States in 1889 by breaking up the Great Sioux Reservation, following its victory over the Lakota in a series of wars in the 1870s. The reservation covers almost all of Dewey and Ziebach counties in South Dakota. In addition, many small parcels of off-reservation trust land are located in Stanley, Haakon, and Meade counties.

The total land area is 4,266.987 sq mi (11,051.447 km²), making it the fourth-largest Indian reservation in land area in the United States. Its largest community is North Eagle Butte.



The terms of the Treaty of Fort Laramie concluded in 1868 granted the Lakota a single large reservation that covered parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, and four other states. After conclusion of the Indian Wars in the 1870s, the US government confiscated about one half of this reservation and assigned bands to five distinct reservations in the area. Many notable Lakota chiefs settled here, most notably Touch the Clouds, who lived here until his death in 1905.

The government dammed the Missouri River for electrical power and flood control. Started in 1948, the project resulted in the submerging of an additional 8 percent of the land area of the Reservation.

Current conditions

The CRIR is the home of the federally recognized Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (CRST) or Cheyenne River Lakota Nation (Oyate). The members include representatives from four of the traditional seven bands of the Lakota, also known as Teton Sioux: the Minnecojou, Sans Arc, Blackfoot and Two Kettles.

The CRIR is bordered on the north by the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, on the west by Meade and Perkins Counties; on the south by the Cheyenne River; and on the east by the Missouri River in Lake Oahe. Much of the land inside the boundaries is privately owned. The CRST headquarters and BIA agency are located at Eagle Butte, South Dakota. The reservation is reached via US-212.

The 2000 census reported a population of 8,470 persons. Many of the 13 small communities on the Cheyenne River Reservation do not have water systems, making it difficult for people to live in sanitary conditions. In recent years, water systems have been constructed that tap the Missouri Main Stem reservoirs, such as Lake Oahe, which forms the eastern edge of the Reservation.

With few jobs available on the reservation or in nearby towns, many tribal members are unemployed. Two-thirds of the population survives on much less than one-third of the American average income. Such dismal living conditions have contributed to feelings of hopelessness and despair among the youth. Indian Country Today reports than one in five girls on the Cheyenne River Reservation has contemplated suicide and more than one in ten has attempted it. As of 2009, a modern medical center was under construction in Eagle Butte to replace an outdated facility.[1]

Beginning on January 22, 2010, a blizzard and ice storm swept across the reservation, downing as many as 3,000 power lines and leaving thousands of residents without power, heat or water. Response to the disaster was slow. Although the state government declared a state of emergency, the situation did not initially receive much attention in the media or from legislators. Power was finally restored to most residents as of February 12, 2010, but overall conditions were still grim.

On February 14, 2010, the TV commentator Keith Olbermann highlighted the situation on his program Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Within 48 hours more than $250,000 in donations was raised for the reservation. As of February 24, 2010, more than $400,000 in donations had been raised. No deaths had been reported as a result of the disaster. Several elderly residents dependent on dialysis treatment were evacuated to nearby towns. As of February 26, 2010, tribal representatives are turning attention to raising awareness about the reservation's damaged water infrastructure. [2][3][4]


See also


  1. ^ Dan Barry, "A Rising but Doubted Dream on a Reservation", The New York Times, 12 July 2009
  2. ^ John R. Platt, " Keith Olbermann Helps Raise $250,000 for Storm-Ravaged Cheyenne River Reservation", Tonic, 15 February 2010
  3. ^ "Help for Storm-Battered Sioux Tribe", MSNBC, 24 February 2010
  4. ^ "Many on South Dakota Reservation Remain Without Power After Storm", The New York Times, 31 January 2010

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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