One of the most famous tribes in the whole of the United States, the Santee Sioux tribe is composed of the members of the formerly known as Isanti and Ihanktowan of the Great Sioux Nation. The tribe is currently composed of the descendants of these two Dakota and Nakota People. In 1824, the tribe was one of the other Great Soux Tribes who signed a treaty with the United States Government stating the boundaries and recognizing them as another form of sovereignty. From their original location, they were relocated in the reservation prior top the Little Crow’s war in Minnesota. On March 2, 1889, the boundaries for their area were defined, and it was then that the North and South Dakota as well as Nebraska reservations were granted to them. Today, their original reservation has been reduced to up to 50% through the succeeding Homestead Acts by the government both for Indian and Non-Indian residents. The Tribe is mainly governed by its Tribal Council which is composed of a chairman, a vice-chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and eight other additional Councilmen who are elected by the tribal members. Its Tribal Council Chairman is the main man of the tribe. He is the head of the government. He is given a two year term to prove himself while the councilmen serve only for a year. Four districts compose the election of officers including Brazil, Creek, Hobu Creek, Howe Creek and Santee. Their total land reserve today is located in the north central part of Nebraska. It is 1,105 square miles. The reservation’s boundaries on the north are the Lewis and Clark Lake and a reservoir called the Gavins Point Dam. Being members of the Great Sioux Nation, these people refer to themselves as Dakota or Lakota which literally means friend. The Sioux literally means snake. Their social activities include powwow, rodeos and races which are all celebrated in summer. Powwows are held for members who have achieved distinction such as graduation or being part of the army. Feasts also characterize their celebrations for their accomplishments. Of the 159 Indian family housing units on the reservation, only 38 are owned. Santee reservation remains to be rural despite the recreational facilities found here. The Devil’s Nest is currently the favorite recreational facility located in the eastern border of the area. Today, their major economic occupation relies mainly on cattle ranching and farming. There are 10 tribal operators of ranches while some other business establishments are growing. There are now several convenience stores, laundry shops, fast food chains, museums and even motels. The future of the tribe is on the hands of its youth. With continuous search for the betterment, the tribe has now started entering the national economy by providing the best agricultural products. They are still keen on preserving their culture and heritage for the next generations to come.
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