Rosebud Indian Reservation

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Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation
Flag of Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation
Location of Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota
Location of Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota
Country United States
State South Dakota
Counties Todd / Mellette / Tripp / Gregory / Lyman
Established 1889
 • Governing Body Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council
 • Total 1,970.362 sq mi (5,103.214 km2)
Population (2000)
 • Total 21,245
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Website 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 (the Upper Brulé Sioux Nation) - also known as Sicangu Lakota, and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe (RST), a branch of the Lakota people. The Lakota name Sicangu Oyate translates into English as "Burnt Thigh Nation"; the French term "Brulé Sioux" is also used.

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[edit]

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.[1] 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[edit]

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 development, 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[edit]

Janeen Antoine (Sicangu Lakota), curator, educator, and director of American Indian Contemporary Arts in San Francisco, grew up on the Rosebud Reservation.[2]


Under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, the federally recognized Rosebud Sioux Tribe (RST) re-established self-government, after adopting a constitution and bylaws, to take back many responsibilities for internal management from the BIA. It followed the model of elected government: president, vice-president, and representative council, adopted by many Native American nations. At the time and since then, many tribal members opposed the elected government, preferring their traditional form of clan chiefs selected for life, contingent on approval by women elders, and a tribal council that operated by consensus .[citation needed]

The elders of both men and women have continued to have influence within the nation, particularly among those who have followed more traditional lives. At times the political factions have developed and continued along ethnic and cultural lines, with full-blood Sioux following traditional ways. Others, sometimes of mixed-blood or having had more urban or European-American experiences, support the elected government.

The short two-year terms of office can make it difficult for elected officials to carry out projects over the long term. In addition, BIA officials and police retain roles on the reservations, which the historian Akim Reinhardt calls a form of "indirect colonialism".[3]

  • Law: charter, constitution, and bylaws (approved November 23, 1935)
  • Governing Body: Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council (20 members)
  • Executive Officers: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Sergeant-At-Arms


  • Primary elections, fourth Thursday of August; general elections, fourth Thursday of October
  • President and vice-president elected at large for two-year terms; Tribal Council elected from members' districts every two years; Council appoints the secretary, treasurer, and sergeant-at-arms
  • Number of election districts: 13
  • Proportion of representatives: one representative per 750 members

Council meetings[edit]

  • Meetings are held once a month the second Wednesday and Thursday.
  • Quorum: 11 members

Education and media[edit]

  • Tribal College: Sinte Gleska University, Mission, SD
  • Radio: KINI 96.1 FM, St. Francis, SD. KOYA 88.1 FM, Rosebud, SD.
  • Newspaper: Todd County Tribune, Mission, South Dakota
  • Newspaper: "Sicangu Sun-Times", Rosebud, South Dakota 57570 (See-CHONG-Goo) The newspaper is Sicangu-owned. It was founded as an independent weekly on August 21, 1990. It celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2015. The Sicangu Sun-Times is sold on newsstands across the Rosebud Indian Reservation and maintains a website at: It also has newsstands in Winner, South Dakota, Valentine, Nebraska, and on three other South Dakota Indian reservations. The newspaper survives on limited advertising revenue in an impoverished area. Tribal government reports unemployment at 80 percent. The Sun-Times is the only news outlet to cover political news on the reservation, from tribal government to community government, and tribal elections, along with other news, including police and court news. Due to stiff economic downturn starting in 2005, advertising revenue for the newspaper was deeply affected. In 2010, the Sun-Times was forced to cutback to a monthly edition for the time being. [4]
  • Schools: St. Francis Indian School (Sicangu Oyate Ho, Inc.), Todd County High School (Todd County School District 66-1)

Notable tribal members and residents[edit]

  • Janeen Antoine (Sicangu Lakota), curator, educator, and founder in 1983 of the American Indian Contemporary Arts in San Francisco, grew up on the Rosebud Reservation. Her gallery was one of the first in the nation to feature contemporary American Indian art and is important in encouraging new work.[2]
  • Bob Barker grew up on the reservation, where his mother was a teacher. He became The Price Is Right television show host.[5]
  • Benjamin "Ben" Reifel (Rosebud Sioux) (1906-1990), five-term U.S. Congressman, was born near Parmelee. He served in the U.S. Army, worked as a field officer and regional administrator for the BIA, and earned master's and doctoral degrees in public administration from Harvard University. Reifel was elected as US Representative in 1960 and served until his retirement in 1971.
  • Yvette Roubideaux (Rosebud Sioux), M.D., M.P.H., is Director of the Indian Health Service (IHS), appointed in 2009 as the first woman to hold the position.
Main article: Spotted Tail

Black Hills[edit]

In United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians, the people of the Rosebud Sioux Reservation joined the Oglala Lakota and other Sioux nations in suing the federal government in a land claim for its taking of the Black Hills. In 1980 the case was heard by the United States Supreme Court, which agreed with the nations that the US had acted illegally in 1877. The US government offered financial compensation, which the Sioux have refused. They still demand the return of the land to their nation. The compensation fund is earning interest and has increased in value.


The Rosebud Sioux Reservation has 20 communities represented on its tribal council:


  1. ^ Rosebud Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land, South Dakota. United States Census Bureau.
  2. ^ a b "Native American Heritage Month: S.F. gallery director wins praise for breaking with past", San Francisco Chronicle, 12 Nov 1995 (retrieved 20 Dec 2009)
  3. ^ Ruling Pine Ridge: Oglala Lakota Politics from the IRA to Wounded Knee, Texas Tech University Press, 2007
  4. ^ SST Chief Editor PR Gregg-Bear, SST Business Manager Nancy Brooks, RST Finance Officer James Wike, RST President William Kindle, RST Council Rep. Calvin "Hawkeye" Waln, Newsstand: AllStop Grocery Store owner Wes Colombe, Rosebud, South Dakota; Buche Foods Mission Manager Mike Husman, Mission, South Dakota
  5. ^ "Bob Barker", Yahoo News

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°17′40″N 100°39′22″W / 43.29444°N 100.65611°W / 43.29444; -100.65611