Spirit Lake Tribe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Spirit Lake Tribe
Total population
6,677 enrolled members[1]
Regions with significant populations
 United States ( North Dakota)
English, Dakota
Christianity (incl. syncretistic forms), Midewiwin
Related ethnic groups
Assiniboine, Stoney (Nakoda), and other Siouan peoples

The Spirit Lake Tribe (In Santee Dakota: Mni Wakan Oyate, formerly Devils Lake Sioux) is a Sisseton Wahpeton tribe. Its reservation is located in east-central North Dakota on the southern shores of Devils Lake. Established in 1867 in a treaty between Sisseton Wahpeton Bands and the United States government, the reservation, at 47°54′38″N 98°53′01″W / 47.91056°N 98.88361°W / 47.91056; -98.88361, consists of 1,283.777 km² (495.669 sq mi) of land area primarily in Benson County and Eddy County. Smaller areas extend into Ramsey, Wells and Nelson counties.

According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 2005, there were 6,677 enrolled members of the tribe.[1] At the time of the U.S. 2000 census, 4,435 members were living on the reservation but slightly more than 6,000 are estimated to live there currently. The unemployment rate was 47.3% in 2000. The largest community on the reservation is Fort Totten.

The tribe operates the Spirit Lake Casino. Formerly, the tribe owned two smaller casinos, which were closed in 1996 to make way for the larger facility. The reservation also contains the attractions of the Sullys Hill National Game Preserve and the Fort Totten State Historic Site, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It operates a tribal college, Cankdeska Cikana Community College.


The relative isolation of the reservation from population centers adversely affects its economy. Privately owned businesses on the reservation are few. They include such small, local operations as Paul's Grocery and Luis Cafe. Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc., had more than one million dollars in federal contracts in 2006, and is the only private company providing professional and technical employment. Wireless access is difficult to acquire.

Fort Totten is the reservation's economic and government center. The tribal administration, tribal college and Spirit Lake Consulting offices are located in the community. The tribe's Vocational Rehabilitation program works to assist tribal members in finding employment.

Child welfare[edit]

During 2012 and 2013 tribal and federal authorities focused attention on child sexual abuse, endemic on the reservation.[2][3][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Spirit Lake Tribe" Website
  2. ^ Timothy Williams (September 19, 2012). "A Tribe’s Epidemic of Child Sex Abuse, Minimized for Years". The New York Times. Retrieved February 16, 2013. 
  3. ^ Timothy Williams (February 15, 2013). "Child Abuse at Reservation Is Topic for 3 Lawmakers". The New York Times. Retrieved February 16, 2013. 
  4. ^ Press office Senator Heidi Heitkamp (February 8, 2013). "HOEVEN, HEITKAMP, CRAMER: INTERIOR, BIA TO HOLD TOWN HALL MEETING AT SPIRIT LAKE ON SOCIAL SERVICES REFORMS" (Press release). Retrieved February 15, 2013. 


External links[edit]