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Lower Brule Indian Reservation facts for kids

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Lower Brulé Indian Reservation
Administration Center, Lower Brulé Indian Reservation
Administration Center, Lower Brulé Indian Reservation
Location of Lower Brulé Indian Reservation, South Dakota
Location of Lower Brulé Indian Reservation, South Dakota
Country United States
State South Dakota
Counties Lyman / Stanley
 • Type Tribal Council
 • Total 207.189 sq mi (536.617 km2)
 • Total 1,308
Time zone UTC-7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-6 (MDT)
Website Lower Brulé Sioux Tribe Official Website:
Hoop Dance at Lower Brule Reservation
Hoop dance

The Lower Brulé Indian Reservation is an Indian reservation that belongs to the Lower Brulé Lakota Tribe. It is located on the west bank of the Missouri River in Lyman and Stanley counties in central South Dakota in the United States. It is adjacent to the Crow Creek Indian Reservation on the east bank of the river. The Kul Wicasa Oyate (Khulwíčhaša Oyáte, lower…men…nation), the Lower Brulé Sioux, are members of the Sicangu (Burnt Thigh), one of the bands of the Lakota Tribe. Tribal headquarters is in Lower Brule.


The Sioux consist of a group of self-governing tribes speaking one of three dialects of the Siouan language: Dakota, Nakota and Lakota. The Dakota or Santee, known variously to themselves as Mdewakantonwan, Wahpetowan, Wahpekute, or Sisseton, range from the Ohio River valley to South Dakota. The Dakota or Nakota, known as the Ihanktonwan/Yankton or Yanktonai/Ihanktonwanna, range from eastern Minnesota to the Missouri River valley. The Lakota, or Western Teton/Tituwan Sioux, consisting of the Oglala, Mniconjou, Sicangu, Sihasapa, Oohenunpa, Hunkpapa, and Itazipco, traditionally ranged from lands east of the Missouri River valley to the Rocky Mountains. A common history and language, a strong respect for the land and nature, the common use of Pipestone and the reverence held for the stone, and ceremonies such as the Sun Dance, Sweat lodge, and Vision Quest bind these peoples together.

The name 'Brule' comes from the French word brûlé (burnt), the name French fur traders used for the Sicangu in the late 17th century. The Sicangu divided into the Lower Brule and the Heyata Wicasa, or Upper Brule, in the late 18th century. The Lower Brule favored lands where the White River empties into the Missouri River, while the Upper Brule lived further south and west.

In 2013, the tribe requested that the KELO-TV station not replace a fallen transmission tower on Medicine Butte. Medicine Butte is near the town of Reliance, and rises about 200 feet above the prairie. The butte is sacred to the Brulé. KELO-TV agreed and placed a new tower elsewhere.


Major employers are the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe Golden Buffalo Casino, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Indian Health Service.


As part of the Pick-Sloan Missouri River Basin program, authorized by Congress in 1944 for flood control, two major dams and other flood control projects were built in this area by the federal government. It acquired property on the Lower Brule Indian Reservation for two dam projects: 7,997 acres of Indian land for the Fort Randall Dam project and 14,299 acres for the Big Bend Dam project.

In 1963, the Big Bend Dam on the Missouri River was completed by the Army Corps of Engineers. The operation of the dam caused flooding of the Lower Brule community and surrounding bottomlands in the heart of the reservation. The waters inundated miles of roadways and a significant amount of the most productive and fertile farmland of the Reservation; it destroyed most of the Reservation’s native trees, shrubs and medicinal plants, which were located chiefly along the river bottomlands. By Public Law 87-734 (76 Stat. 698 et seq.), the Secretary of the Army was to provide mitigation for such damages, including replacing roads and facilities. The government failed to carry out its obligations under the act.

In 1997 the federal government enacted the Lower Brule Infrastructure Development Trust Fund Act in compensation for the lands and infrastructure lost due to construction of the Big Bend Dam and flooding of the reservoir. The act was also intended to enable the tribe to share in the benefits of these projects. It provided for payments to the tribe of amounts beginning in 1998 and annually until the aggregated of $39.3 million had been accumulated in the trust fund.

In response, the Tribe created a plan for how it would use such funds for facilities and development to aid the tribe. It also established the Infrastructure Development Authority, a committee of tribal members who oversee the Trust Fund, and recommend action and expenditures to the Tribal Council. Since establishment of the Trust Fund, the Authority has supervised development of the Administration Building and Community Center located in Lower Brule. The Authority is also overseeing construction of the Lower Brule Justice Center.

The tribe has established the Buffalo Interpretive Center, providing insight into the people and their customs.

Local telephone service is furnished by the Golden West Telephone Company, as well as various cell phone providers. Internet services are available through Golden West and the West Central Rural Electric Cooperative.

The Reservation has approximately 200 miles of roads. These include 107 miles of gravel roads, 65 miles of asphalt, 11 miles of graded dirt roads, and 10 miles of unimproved roads. The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe is a member of the West Central Rural Electric Cooperative. The majority of tribal members are also Cooperative members, as it is the major electricity provider in west central South Dakota.

The Tribe operates a propane company and serves all residences within the reservation, as well as areas adjacent to the reservation. Unleaded and diesel gasoline are available at the local gas station. Fuel oil is available from the nearest Fanners Union in Reliance, South Dakota (15 miles). The Lake Sharpe Reservoir serves as a virtually unlimited water source for the Lower Brule community. The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe's Rural Water System (RWSS) supplies clean water to the communities of Lower Brule and West Brule for both domestic and agricultural use. This system is a part of the Mni Wiconi Water Project, authorized to provide water for the Pine Ridge Reservation, Rosebud Reservation, Lower Brule Reservation and counties located in west central South Dakota.

The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, in coordination with the Indian Health Service, operates a solid waste collection and transfer facility. The Solid Waste Program gathers all solid waste from receptacles located throughout the reservation. All solid waste is disposed in approved landfill facilities in Pierre and Pukwana, South Dakota. The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, in coordination with the Indian Health Service, operates a sewage disposal and treatment system for the towns of Lower Brule and West Brule. The major treatment for wastewater is evaporation and settling in evaporation and settling ponds in two lagoon areas; the system uses limited aeration.

Notable tribal members

  • Chief Iron Nation (1815–1894) led the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe through some of its most challenging years. He worked both as a warrior and statesman to ensure the survival of his people. Iron Nation signed the treaty to establish the Great Sioux Reservation in 1868. He has been described as a just and noble leader.
  • Michael Jandreau (1943-2015) helped lead the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe during difficult years of transition immediately prior to, and forty continuous years after, the passage of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975. Jandreau was elected to the Lower Brule Sioux Tribal Council an unprecedented twenty-two (22) consecutive two-year terms. He served as Chairman for eighteen (18) terms; his final term was only six months as he died while in office.


The Lower Brule Education system consists of a Head-start Program, a K-6 elementary school, a 7-8 middle school, and a 9-12 High School. The Tribe also operates the Lower Brule Community College, accredited under Sinte Gleska University of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. In addition, the Tribe is involved in a Video-Cultural Program in which students, teachers and elders document important cultural activities and histories.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Lower Brule (condado de Stanley, Dakota del Sur) para niños

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