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The Yankton Service Unit provides services to the Yankton Sioux Tribe, the Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska, and the Northern Ponca Tribe of Nebraska.
The Yankton Sioux are the most populous tribe in the service unit. Although many of the Yankton refer to themselves as Dakota, they are actually a group of the Middle Sioux division also known as Nakota.
There are also members of the Northern Ponca Tribe residing within the region as well as Santee Sioux. BIA estimates tribal membership at 5,700.
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The Yankton Sioux Reservation is located in the
south central part of South Dakota, occupying the eastern half of
Charles Mix County. The Yankton Service Unit is comprised of six
counties; Bon Homme, Charles Mix, Douglas, and Hutchinson, SD and
Boyd and Knox, NE. The Service Unit is divided into two service
areas; the Santee Service Area in Knox County Nebraska which is
detailed in the Tribally Operated Section of this Profile Book
and the Wagner Service Area comprised of the remaining six
counties. This section will profile the Wagner Service Area.
Wagner, 172 miles from the Aberdeen Area Office, is the location
of the Wagner Indian Health Service (IHS) Health Center.
State Highways, 281 and 50, provide access to
the major communities within the service area. A few paved county
roads exist to serve clusters of outlying communities. The
Missouri River, with bridge crossings at Pickstown and Yankton,
is an effective barrier to accessibility and transportation to
the Wagner Health Center for major services. Many residents in
the area have access to a motorized vehicle for private
transportation. The only local public transportation available is
a charter air service in the Wagner community. Public bus service
is available in Mitchell and major airlines in Sioux Falls.
Weather conditions sometimes affect facility
access. Adverse winter weather occurs in the region causing
dangerous road conditions, icy, snow packed highways, and
blizzards are common. Heavy fog is sometimes a problem in the
TOPOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
The reservation is mostly farm land with some
small areas of timber. The remainder is rolling hills and prairie
suitable for grazing. The Missouri River is the southern border
of the reservation. Fort Randall Dam on the Missouri River
creates Lake Francis Case which is on the southwestern part of
the reservation. The land around the lake area is high rolling
hills with wooded coulees providing drainage into the lake. The
climate experiences seasonal extremes of hot and cold
temperatures ranging from as high as 110 in the summer to 20 F
below zero in the winter. Annual average rainfall is
approximately 23 inches.
HOUSING AND PUBLIC FACILITIES
Housing in the major communities are of low
rent housing units, mutual help homes, and private dwellings.
Wagner and Marty have senior citizen complexes for the elderly.
Government housing for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and IHS
employees are available in Wagner. Rural mutual help homes are
scattered around the Lake Andes area.
Wagner, typical of most small rural
communities, has a limited selection of public facilities. Staple
facilities such as; post office, grocery store, gas stations,
churches, motels, and cafes are available. Major shopping is done
in Yankton or Mitchell, SD. The smaller outlying communities
usually have some type of small convenience store.
SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PROFILE
The Yankton Service Unit provides services to
the Yankton Sioux Tribe, the Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska, and
the Northern Ponca Tribe of Nebraska. The Santee Sioux Tribe of
Nebraska, through tribal contract, operates the Santee Health
Station which is detailed in the Tribally Operated Section of
this Profile Book. The Northern Ponca Tribe of Nebraska also
operates their health programs through tribal contract; however,
three of the counties included in their Contract Health Services
Delivery Area (CHSDA) are located within the Yankton Service
Unit. Therefore, services for these Northern Ponca residing in
these counties is provided by the Yankton Service Unit.
The Yankton Sioux are the most populous tribe
in the service unit. Although many of the Yankton refer to
themselves as Dakota, they are actually a group of the Middle
Sioux division also known as Nakota. There are also members of
the Northern Ponca Tribe residing within the region as well as
Santee Sioux. The governing body of the Yankton Sioux Tribe is
the Tribal Business and Claims Committee. The committee is
comprised of nine elected at large members. BIA estimates tribal
membership at 5,700.
In 1997, the Tribe's environmental management
staff identified an aboveground storage tank and shop floor
drains release petroleum products which have contaminated the
Marty Indian School Campus as the primary environmental
problem facing the Tribe.