A Snapshot of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation

The Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation covers a vast rural and remote area of mostly rolling prairie about the size of Connecticut in north central South Dakota. It is home to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe’s four Ospaye (bands) of the Great Sioux Nation: the Mnicoujou, the Siha Sapa, the Oohe Numpa, and the Itazipco.

The Cheyenne River Indian Reservation was originally identified as part of the Great Sioux Nation in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851. The original boundaries extended from the Big Horn Mountains on the west into Wisconsin on the east, and from Canada on the north to the Republican River in Kansas on the south. The boundaries were significantly reduced in the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty. And in the Treaty of 1889, the area was further reduced and parceled to create a group of Indian reservations, including the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, one of the largest reservations in the nations, is comprised of 2,806,913 acres, with 1,400,614 acres of tribal trust-land. The reservation encompasses the entirety of two counties: Dewey and Ziebach.

According to our Voices research project, there are 10,564 people living within the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation boundaries. Of those, 8,556 are American Indian.

On average 1.9 people reside in each square mile of the reservation.

Eagle Butte is the largest city on the reservation. Timber Lake and Dupree are also noted as some of our larger communities.

The Indian Reorganization Act established the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal government and the Tribal Council system, which began governing in April 1935. The governing body consists of 15 representatives from the six political districts; elected at-large are three executives – Chairman, Treasurer, and Secretary. Officials serve four-year staggered terms with elections occurring every two years.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe’s headquarters are located in Eagle Butte, 92 miles northeast of the state capitol of Pierre.

As of August 15, 2015, 19,765 individuals are enrolled members of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

The average median family income on the reservation is $18,156, and 46.3% of our families live in poverty. The unemployment rate on the reservation is 27.1%.