Spirit Lake Tribe facts for kids
Flag of the Spirit Lake Tribe
Location of Spirit Lake Reservation
|7,256 enrolled members
|Regions with significant populations
|United States ( North Dakota)
|Christianity (incl. syncretistic forms), Midewiwin
|Related ethnic groups
|Assiniboine, Stoney (Nakoda), and other Siouan peoples
The Spirit Lake Tribe (in Santee Dakota: Mniwakaƞ Oyate, also spelt as Mni Wakan Oyate, formerly known as Devils Lake Sioux Tribe) is a federally recognized tribe based on the Spirit Lake Dakota Reservation located in east-central North Dakota on the southern shores of Devils Lake. It is made up of people of the Pabaksa (Iháŋkthuŋwaŋna), Sisseton (Sisíthuŋwaŋ) and Wahpeton (Waȟpéthuŋwaŋ) bands of the Dakota tribe. Established in 1867 in a treaty between Sisseton-Wahpeton Bands and the United States government, the reservation, at , consists of 1,283.777 square kilometres (495.669 sq mi) of land area, primarily in Benson and Eddy counties. Smaller areas extend into Ramsey, Wells and Nelson counties.
According to the tribal enrollment office in 2014, the tribe had 7,256 enrolled members. At the time of the U.S. 2010 census, 3,587 members out of a total of 4,238 people (including non-tribal members) were residing on the reservation. The unemployment rate was 47.3% in 2000. The largest community on the reservation is Fort Totten.
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.
The Sioux Manufacturing Corporation, a manufacturer of composite armed armors, is located on the reservation. It is 100% owned by the tribe and is one of the oldest tribal-owned businesses in the country. It opened in 1973 and by 1989, the tribe had purchased the last remaining shares of the company owned by the Brunswick Corporation, thereby gaining full ownership. Currently, 75% of the workforce is Native American and their products are created for the United States Department of Defense out of their 250,000 square foot manufacturing facility.
Additional visitor attractions at the reservation are the White Horse Hill National Game Preserve and the Fort Totten State Historic Site, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Spirit Lake Tribe operates Cankdeska Cikana Community College, a tribal college established in the 1970s. The two-year college provides classes in subject areas needed by the reservation and to prepare students for other jobs, as well as strengthening their Dakota culture and language.
Spirit Lake Casino and Resort
Since the late 20th century, the tribe has operated various gaming facilities on its reservation to generate revenues for the welfare of its people. The first casino opened in St. Michael, North Dakota with the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988 when the tribe signed an agreement with the Governor of North Dakota. The first facility initially employed 35 individuals, most of whom were tribal members. Later, in 1994, the tribe renovated a gymnasium and added a second casino in Tokio, ND. This development created employment for 191 people. The tribe had closed both of those two smaller casinos in 1996 and on June 1, 1996, after a $7 million investment opened the new 49,000 square foot casino at its present location.
The present Spirit Lake Casino and Resort is owned and operated by the tribe and is located in St. Michaels, North Dakota. The casino has brought new sources of income and helped to stabilize the tribal economy employing over 300 people with 75% being Native American. It is a multi-story facility comprising 82,000 square feet of Gaming & Entertainment Floor and 112,300 square feet of Resort and Hotel on a remote island connected by a 2-lane highway off of Mission Bay, North Dakota. After numerous renovations since its opening, it now has almost 150 hotel rooms, a 1,000-seat auditorium, a banquet hall, RV park, gift shop and a four-story aquatic center. In 2011 more job opportunities were added when the Spirit Lake Marina and Spirit Lake Grocery store were added to the grounds of the casino. The marina hosts a fishing tournament every summer.
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