Spirit Lake Tribe


Last Updated: 3 years

The Spirit Lake Tribe (formerly Devils Lake Sioux) is a federally recognized Sisseton Wahpeton tribe based on a reservation located in east-central North Dakota on the southern shores of Devils Lake.

Official Tribal Name: Spirit Lake Tribe

Address:  PO Box 359, Fort Totten, ND 58335
Phone:  (701) 766-4221
Fax:  (701) 766-4126

Official Website:

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning:

Mni Wakan Oyate
Sisseton, meaning “People of the Fish Village(s)” (Sissetonwan)
Wahpeton, meaning “People Dwelling among the Leaves” (Wahpetonwan)
Oyate, meaning “people or nation.”

Common Name:

Santee Sioux , Eastern Dakota

Meaning of Common Name:

Dakotah is the preferred identification (and spelling) of the Sisseton and Wahpeton bands. Dakota is commonly reported to mean “friend or ally” in English. This is actually incorrect. The real definition of Lakota is “those who consider themselves kindred.” The Da syllable in Dakota means “like (or related) [to Lakota].”

Dakotah derives from the word ‘WoDakotah,” meaning “harmony – a condition of being at peace with oneself and in harmony with one another and with nature. A condition of lifestyle patterned after the natural order of nature.”

See this detailed explanation of <a href=”http://www.aaanativearts.com/indian-tribes-by-confederacy/329-sioux-nation/1024-the-sioux-name-game.html” title=”explanation of Sioux naming system”>Sioux Names</a>.

Alternate names / Alternate spellings:

Formerly Devils Lake Sioux 

Name in other languages:


State(s) Today: North Dakota

Traditional Territory:

Confederacy: Sioux Nation


The Spirit Lake Tribe reservation was established by Treaty between the United States Government and the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Bands in 1867.

Reservation: Spirit Lake Reservation

The Spirit Lake Tribe Indian Reservation is located in East Central North Dakota. The topography of the Reservation is generally consistent with the Northern Plains region, with both flat terrain and rolling hills, and some wooded areas. The major surface water feature of the Reservation is Devils Lake, which comprises 90,000 acres of area stretched over 200 miles. There are also numerous small lakes on the Reservation, including; Twin Lakes, Spring Lake, Free Peoples Lake, Elbow Lake, and Skin and Bone Lake. 

Land Area:
 Total acres as of 1998 was as follows; total tribally owned is 26,283 acres, allotted (trust) land; (trust) is 34,026 acres, U.S. Government and State is 375 acres. And fee land is 184,451 acres. Total acres within the exterior boundaries is total land 245,141 acres.

Tribal Headquarters:
Time Zone:  

Population at Contact:

Registered Population Today:

6,677 enrolled members as of 2005 

Tribal Enrollment Requirements:

Genealogy Resources:


Name of Governing Body:  
Number of Council members:  
Dates of Constitutional amendments: 
Number of Executive Officers:  


Language Classification:

Language Dialects:

Number of fluent Speakers:



Bands, Gens, and Clans

Related Tribes:

Traditional Allies:

Traditional Enemies:

Ceremonies / Dances:

Modern Day Events & Tourism:

Legends / Oral Stories:

Art & Crafts:





Religion & Spiritual Beliefs:

The Sioux Drum

Burial Customs:

Wedding Customs

Tribal Colleges:  
Cankdeska Cikana Community College (2 year degrees)

United Tribes Technical College

Sioux Chiefs and Famous People:

Arthur Amiotte, (Oglala Lakota)-Painter, Sculptor, Author, Historian  

Bryan Akipa, flutist (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate)

Catastrophic Events:

Tribe History:

Descendants Remember Battle of Little Big Horn 

In the News:

Further Reading: