The Standing Rock Agency: Fort Laramie To Dakota Access

When environmentalists wanted to take a stand in the Dakotas, they had no better representative than the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

It has always taken a stand and still does to this day, in national headlines. The Sioux have always been a very proud people, and their veterans fight hard for all they believe in and especially the lands of their ancestors.

The Standing Rock Reservation

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is based on the Standing Rock Reservation, which is one part of six Sioux reservations in the northern Great Plains. The original Great Sioux Reservation was created by the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868, which gave specific land boundaries for the Sioux Indians. This included the Black Hills area of South Dakota and the Missouri River, both of which were deemed vital and sacred topographical assets for the Sioux people.

The Standing Rock Reservation as it’s known now was established by Congress in 1889, when the Great Sioux reservation was split six ways, and Standing Rock is one of the pie pieces.

The Standing Rock Agency

As a result of the 1868 Fort Laramie treaty, the U.S. government established the Grand River Agency, to be based in Grand River, South Dakota, and serve as the field office for the fledgling Bureau of Indian Affairs within the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The agency was moved to Fort Yates, North Dakota in 1873 and became known as the Standing Rock Agency and has served the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe ever since the reservation was established in 1889. The Agency serves as liaison between the federal government and the Standing Rock Sioux, providing health, government, and other services to the people living on the reservation. These services include real estate, probate and estate, wildland and structural fire management, and social services including tribal enrollment.

Standing Rock in the News

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Standing Rock Agency were in the headlines a lot over the last couple years, as hundreds and thousands of protestors invaded the Standing Rock Reservation to protest the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The pipeline was to be built across Standing Rock land, and the Standing Rock Agency originally worked with the Sioux tribe to secure rights on behalf of the developer of the pipeline, and a deal was struck after there were assurances that the pipeline would not traverse over sacred lands (such as gravesites) and would not generate a significant environmental impact on the land.

However, despite the deal, environmentalists came to the area to protest the pipeline on “behalf” of the Standing Rock Tribe, which was in the headlines.  There was reportedly very little participation in protests by members of the Standing Rock Tribe, but with recent developments of the Dakota Access Pipeline already spilling nearly 100 gallons of oil on reservation land, protests may just get even more animated.

Needless to say, the battle is not over. But Standing Rock will continue to stand up and fight for its people and its land. History bears it out, and there is no reason to think that it will change.