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Demographics - Transportation & Natural Resources

Land Status & Base | Topography, Climate, Population |
Transportation & Natural Resources | Economy & Infrastructure


The transportation system on the Standing Rock Reservation consists of state paved highways, county and Bureau of Indian Affairs graveled or dirt roads. The reservation has access to several major highways, all of which are in good condition. North Dakota Highways 6 and 24 and South Dakota Highways 63 and 65 provide north/south transportation to the cities of Bismarck/Mandan and Mobridge/Pierre and Rapid City to the south. Highways 1804 (the historic route of Lewis and Clark) borders the east riverbank of the Missouri River going north, across from the Standing Rock Reservation. Its counterpart, Highway 1806, follows the Missouri River south through the Standing Rock Reservation, and serves as the main transportation route for the communities of Cannonball and Fort Yates. The other main Indian communities are located some distance from major transportation networks. Since there is no mass transportation system on the reservation, residents rely heavily on privately owned vehicles or secure rides where available.

Map showing transportation on the Standing Rock reservation.
Standing Rock Indian Reservation. (Map by Cassie Theurer)

Natural Resources

The Standing Rock Nation is attempting to build their national grasslands. Many of the mineral rights of the lands, currently under lease, are owned by the Standing Rock Sioux. Along the Missouri River, there are approximately 15,000 acres above the 1620 contour lands (lands that are in excess of project needs). The Tribe is seeking to have those lands returned to tribal ownership.

Many Indian ranchers/farmers have lost their lands through business failure. Within the last 20 years, 150 Indian cattle operators have gone out of business. There were only 19 Indian cattle operators in existence on the reservation in 1994. In contrast, four-hundred fifty (450) non-Indians are leasing Indian land on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. (White Lightning, 1994) The Farmers Home Administration (FmHA), as a matter of practice, takes those lands out of trust. The Standing Rock Dakota/Lakota are seeking, under the Indian Land Consolidation Act, to require lands under FmHA control. Through the use of cooperative agreements, they hope to assure that Indian lands remain in Indian ownership. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is seeking to acquire the Shadehill Dam and Reservoir.

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