South Dakota: Lake Traverse Reservation


About the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux (Lake Traverse): As river-plains people, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux farmed and hunted buffalo. Great numbers of miners from many non-Native cultures from the east headed west during the Gold Rush of 1862, ultimately forcing the Sisseton-Wahpeton to migrate. The tribe eventually settled in northeastern South Dakota. 

History of the Reservation: The Act of 1889 divided the Great Sioux Nation into smaller reservations, including the Lake Traverse Reservation. The reservations created in 1889 amounted to less than half the acreage originally granted by treaty to the Great Sioux Nation. 

Life on the Reservation: Today, the Lake Traverse Reservation sits on 109,000 acres and includes land in both northeastern South Dakota and southeastern North Dakota. The tribe is called the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, and about 11,000 people live on the reservation. The tribe has more than 13,000 enrolled members. 

Major employers include a casino, the tribal government and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The tribe also earns income through farming and ranching. A small plastic bag factory also provides some jobs. The average household income is $49,000 per year. About 16% of families live in poverty, and the joblessness rate is 7%. 

Sisseton on the map: Northeastern South Dakota. 


Population, Land Size, Jobs, Income, Poverty