CROW CREEK SIOUX TRIBE
Imagine the serene beauty as the sun slips quietly behind the Missouri River bluffs that flank the western and southern edges of the Crow Creek Indian Reservation in central South Dakota. The reservation boundaries on the west and south include Lake Sharpe and Lake Francis Case, two large reservoirs formed by the Big Bend and Fort Randall Dams on the Missouri River.
The land area of Crow Creek Reservation is approximately 400 square miles (125,591 acres), making it the third smallest of South Dakota's nine reservations. About 35 square miles of the reservation are covered by man-made lakes, or reservoirs.
The reservation originally included bottom lands along the Missouri River which had been farmed by the Arikara and other tribes prior to these tribes being wiped out by smallpox and other epidemics in the 1700s. Today, several Arikara or Mandan villages are archeological sites on the reservation.
The Crow Creek Sioux Tribe is comprised of descendants of the Dakota and Nakota people: the Ihanktowan or Yankton and Yanktonias/Dwellers at the End are Nakota, and the Isanti or Mdewakanton/Spirit Lake People are Dakota. Both were river-plains people who did some farming and buffalo hunting.
Oscar Howe (1915-1983), a Yanktonai, pioneered a new era in Native American art. Born on the Crow Creek Reservation, he received many honors, including the title Artist Laureate of South Dakota. When he died in 1983, Howe left behind a legacy of cultural heritage and pride. More than 20 Oscar Howe originals are on display at the Oscar Howe Art Gallery at the Dakota Prairie Museum in Mitchell. He also painted the dome of the Mitchell Carnegie Library and several large murals in the auditorium in Mobridge.
The Native American Scenic Byway crosses the Crow Creek Reservation. This driving route offers incredible views of the mighty Missouri River and the surrounding prairie.
Dedicated in 2002, the Spirit of the Circle Monument at Big Bend Dam honors the more than 1,300 people who died of malnutrition and exposure over a three-year period in the 1860s.
The Crow Creek Reservation has some of the finest hunting and fishing in the area. Guided hunts are provided by the Wildlife Management Department. Water recreation abounds on the 80-mile Lake Sharpe reservoir. Visitors enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, picnicking and camping along the water's edge. The tribe maintains a buffalo herd that can often be seen grazing north of Fort Thompson.
The Lode Star Casino and Hotel, operated by the tribe and located in Fort Thompson, features slots, Blackjack, poker, a restaurant and lounge, and live entertainment.
Fort Thompson, Stephan