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Demographics - Land Base, Land Status, & Topography and Climate

Land Base, Land Status, & Topography and Climate |
Population & Education | Natural Resources & Infrastucture
and Services
| Transportation & Tribal Economy

Land Base

The Spirit Lake Reservation, formerly the Devils Lake Sioux Reservation, was established by a treaty signed at Washington,
D.C. on February 19, 1867, Article 4, ... it is further agreed that
a reservation be set apart for all other members of said bands
who were not sent to the Crow Creek reservation, and also for
the Cut-Head bands of Yanktonais Sioux, a reservation bounded
as follows, viz: Beginning at the most easterly point of Devils
Lake; thence on a direct line to the nearest point on the
Cheyenne (Sheyenne)River; thence down said river to a point
opposite the lower end of Aspen Island, and thence on a direct
line to the place of beginning.

Land Status

The Spirit Lake Reservation area includes approximately 245,000 acres of land, of which about 60,000 acres are held in trust and under the jurisdiction of the Tribe. The rest is under private ownership by both Indian and non-Indian land holders. The Spirit Lake Sioux Reservation consists of 393.03 square miles or 245,141 acres. Land is the main resource of the reservation, and sales of production constitute the economic framework of the reservation. Recreation and tourism is enhanced by the reservation’s location and access to Devils Lake. The tribe has acquired additional reservation lands over the years through its land acquisition program. At present, all tribal lands are leased, or are in lease negotiations. Most tribal lands are used for agricultural purposes, with a small portion for residential purposes.

The following is the 2009 land break down on the Spirit Lake Sioux Indian Reservation:

Alloted Land
34,026 acres
Tribal Land
26,283 acres
State and Federal Government
375 acres
Private Land
184,451 acres
Total Acreage
245,135 acres

Topography and Climate

The Spirit Lake Sioux Reservation is located in northeast North
Dakota approximately 90 miles west of Grand Forks, North
Dakota. The reservation is primarily located in Benson County,
but portions extend into Ramsey, Eddy, and Nelson Counties of
north central North Dakota. The reservation is bounded on the
north by Devils Lake and on the south by the Sheyenne River.
The terrain on the southern portion of the reservation is
relatively flat, much of which is prairie lands suitable for grazing
and small grain crops. There are small potholes and fresh water
lakes to support tree growth, but it is minimal on the southern
portion of the reservation. The northern part of the reservation,
bounded by Devils Lake, “Mini Wakan”—Spirit Water, is lush
with forested rolling hills. These hills reach an elevation of more
than 1,700 feet above sea level and more than 300 feet above
the lake level.

The climate on the Spirit Lake Reservation is consistent with the general climate of North Dakota. The mean summer temperature for the months of June, July, and August is 65.7 degrees F., and for December, January, and February, 9.7 degrees F. Humidity is relatively low, averaging 68 percent.

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