- Category: Sioux Nation
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The Indian population density of the service unit is approximately 1 person per square mile.
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The Fort Totten Service Unit is located in east
central North Dakota and occupies Benson, Eddy, Nelson, and
Ramsey counties. The service unit covers approximately 4,282
square miles. The Ft. Totten community which is the location of
the health center and tribal government offices is approximately
200 miles from the Aberdeen Area Office.
The four major communities within the
reservation, as well as Devils Lake, are connected by state
maintained paved highways. Poorly maintained secondary roads and
graveled county roads serve the smaller towns and rural homes.
Many of the residents own vehicles, many are
unreliable models. Others usually have access to transportation
through relatives or friends who own automobiles. Elderly
citizens are provided transportation by a tribally operated
Senior Citizen van. Community Health Representatives provide
workday patient transportation only. No private carrier or
transport service is available on the reservation. For this
service, residents must travel to Devils Lake for bus, train, and
The Fort Totten Service Unit serves 4,439
Indians of the Devils Lake Sioux Indian Reservation according to
the Indian Health Service (IHS) User Population Estimates for
FY-1991. The 1992 Census population is 3,674, projected from the
1990 Census data. The Indian population density of the service
unit is approximately 1 person per square mile.
Based on the 1980 Census information, which is
the latest characteristic data available, the median age of the
service unit resident population is approximately 17 years old.
This is 11.3 years younger than the North Dakota State median age
of 28.3 and 13 years younger than the U.S. All Races median age
of 30. The average number of persons per Indian family is 5.18,
compared to 3.27 for North Dakota State and 3.8 for U.S. All
The residents are scattered throughout the
service unit with concentrations in the principal communities of
Fort Totten, St. Michael, Crow Hill, and Tokio/Wood Lake. Three
small incorporated towns, Warwick, Harmor, and Oberon, within the
reservation boundaries have primarily Indian populations.
Thirteen (13) miles north of the reservation, within the Service
Unit boundary, is Devils Lake, home to many Indian families and
the major commercial center for reservation residents.
TOPOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
On the north and west the reservation borders
Devils Lake, North Dakota's largest natural lake, the southern
boundary is the Cheyenne River. Land along the lake and river is
forested, beyond this the area consists primarily of rolling
prairie hills with high quality farm and pasture land. The area
climate is among the most extreme in the continental United
States with temperatures falling below 30 F in the winter and
summer temperatures ranging between 70 and 100 F. Rainfall is
moderate, roughly averaging 25 inches per year.
HOUSING AND PUBLIC FACILITIES
Tribal low rent housing units, HUD homes, and
mutual self-help homes exist in the four major reservation
communities. Forty-five (45) HUD housing units were constructed
and inhabited during the summer of 1988. Rural farmsteads consist
of privately owned homes and mutual help scatter sites.
Government quarters are maintained almost exclusively by the
Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). IHS has few employee quarters,
therefore, arrangements have been made to share existing BIA
units with IHS and the Tribe. Rental and private purchase
housing, within commuting distance from Fort Totten, are
available in Devils Lake.
In 1996, Tribal environmental staff identified the
lack of a solid waste dump site as the major reservation
environmental problem which may be hazardous to the health of