FHWA Home | Feedback

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe


Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is a federally recognized tribe located in South Dakota. The Indian Reservation was established by the Congressional Act of March 2, 1889. The Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation is located in South Dakota and borders the Standing Rock Reservation on the north. The Cheyenne River is the southern boundary of the reservation. Dewey and Ziebach Country lines are the western borders with the Missouri River as the eastern boundary. The land base is approximately 1,615,000 acres.

The population of Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is approximately 12,000 people according to the latest BIA labor force report. The reservation's economy today is based on cattle ranching accounting for three of every four dollars in the private sector of the economy. However, because of the limited economic base, over eighty percent (80%) of the total adult population is unemployed during winter months.

Transportation System

The reservation has approximately 310 miles on the BIA system and near 205 miles of county and state roads. In recent years, the tribe has been involved heavily in the improvement of the transportation infrastructure. The tribe main source of transportation funds comes from the IRR program (approximately $2.2 m/yr).

Program Administration

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has a transportation department, which is primarily run by the Transportation Planner. The Tribe just recently began to operate the roads program using P.L. 93-638. The tribe is using consultants for construction monitoring services. In the past, the BIA Regional office was handling all aspects of the transportation program. However, the Tribe thinks that there should be more presence from the BIA at the Reservation. An engineering presence is welcome by the Tribe that will also provide technical assistance and training opportunities.

The Tribe is beginning to contract most of the Construction and construction monitoring services through P.L. 93-638.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe receives, from BIA, $45,000 in planning funds and $400,000 in maintenance funding.


The tribe does not have a long-range transportation plan (20 year). Due to insufficient amount of planning funds, the tribe works out of a 3-year TIP. The last major IRRTIP update was in 1998.

This year and in past years, South Dakota DOT has invited the tribe to participate in the annual STIP meeting.


The tribe has a very small transit program. The tribe apparently got a FTA grant for $2.5 million to include buses, facilities, staffing, and costs. The project is still in the early stages of preliminary engineering.

Intergovernmental Coordination

There seems to be a good coordination with both the Counties and State governments, although, it is somewhat sporadic.

The intergovernmental coordination mentions the South Dakota Highway Patrol does not enforce traffic laws within the reservation boundaries unless assistance is requested. This is the case on all reservations in South Dakota.

Issues and Needs

Tribal representatives would like to be contacted prior to and present when the bridges are inspected. Also, they would prefer local firms do the inspections so they have better access to them when questions arise. The Tribe would like to 638 contract the bridge inspections and hire their own consultants to do the inspections and train tribal members. The ultimate goal is to have the tribe inspect their own bridges once they meet the requirements and are capable of taking over the inspection program. This issue has been brought up at many conferences and meetings by various tribes.

A major issue in South Dakota is the ongoing discussions with SDDOT concerning TERO. SDDOT has refused to sign new TERO agreements and is currently negotiating this issue with the tribes. The State is also negotiating the State fuel tax issue with the tribes.

Back to the top

To provide Feedback, Suggestions or Comments for this page contact Tim Penney at tim.penney@dot.gov.