Background of Crow Creek
The Crow Creek Sioux Indian Reservation is approximately 358,361 acres located in central South Dakota. The reservation land base is approximately 10 x 70 miles. Current reservation land held in trust by the United States government is approximately 107,543.28 acres. The reservation tribal land is approximately 270,000 acres within Buffalo, Hughes and Hyde Counties. It is located along the north and eastern shores of the Missouri river. The terrain consists of plains, hills, shoreline, bluffs, prairie, lakes, dams, river and creeks.Tribal administration headquarters, businesses and the largest concentration of population are located in the town of Fort Thompson which is approximately 60 miles southeast of the capitol of Pierre.
The Crow Creek Indian Reservation was established by executive order following what was known as the Minnesota Uprising, as a prison camp for the exiled Isanti Dakota and Winnebago people. These were the survivors, mostly women and children, of the largest known public execution in American History, “The Hanging of 38 Dakota Men at Mankato Minnesota.” From 1863 to 1866 approximately 300 died at Fort Thompson suffering from starvation, sickness, disease, exposure, hardship, and heartache. The Reservation is also the homelands to the Ihanktowan Dakota of the Oceti Sakowi (Seven Council Fires) commonly known as the Great Sioux Nation. In the years following 1863 bands of Dakota Chiefs including Sisseton and Wahpeton were forced and ordered to settle on Crow Creek by the US Government. Dakotas from other bands including the Mdewakan, Hunkpapa, Yanktanai and Tetons also settled on Crow Creek when they were not allowed annuities at other reservation agencies.
Because the Dakota who settled on Crow Creek Reservation are descendants of all bands of the Oceti Sakowi (Seven Council Fires) or the Dakota/Nakota/Lakota Nation (Great Sioux Nation) they most naturally called themselves Hunkpati. (Making of Relatives, To Live) The Hunkpati are identified as a distinct band with signature authority on the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty with the United States Government. The Crow Creek Sioux lost over 16,700 acres of land under the Pick-Sloan Act. The building of the Oahe, Big Bend and Fort Randall dams on the Missouri River had the most devastating and immediate effects on the Crow Creek Sioux’s subsistence, economy, food, geographical landscape, and natural resources.
A copy of the Constitution and By-laws of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe is available here.