There are five federally recognized Tribes and one Indian community located at least partially within the State of North Dakota.  These include the Mandan, Hidatsa, & Arikara Nation (Three Affiliated Tribes), the Spirit Lake Nation, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Nation, and the Trenton Indian Service Area.

In total, there are 31,329 American Indians living in North Dakota, making up 4.9% of the total population.  Almost sixty percent live on reservations and over forty percent of these American Indians are under the age of 20.


Map of Tribal Nations


Sisseton Wahpeton logo

Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Nation

Enrolled members: 13,177

Population on reservation: 15,000

Land Area: 108,589 acres of land


Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Constitution

Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Website

 Spirit Lake Nation logo

Spirit Lake Nation

Enrolled members: 7,256

Population on reservation: 4,500

Land Area: 405 square miles


Spirit Lake Nation Constitution

Spirit Lake Nation History

Spirit Lake Nation Website

Standing Rock logo

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Enrolled members: 15,568

Population on reservation: 15,000

Land Area: 3,625 square miles


Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Constitution

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe History

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Website


Three Affiliated - MHA Nation

Enrolled members: 10,400

Population on reservation: 5,915

Land Area: Nearly 1 million acres


MHA Nation History

MHA Nation Website

Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa logo

Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa

Enrolled members: 30,722

Population on reservation: 9,710

Land Area: 6 X 12 miles



Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Constitution

Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa History

Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Website


Protocol When Working With Tribes

(adapted from document that can found in original form on the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council website) 

Understand the unique relationship between American Indians and the United States government. It is a political relationship – not race based. 

The history of this unique relationship is relevant and important to working with a Tribe. 

There are over 500 federally recognized Tribes – each with its own history, culture, and language. 

Remember that American Indians may be suspicious of outsiders and outside ideas. 

Do not assume one Tribe or one leader speaks for all. Take the time to find the key players. 

Those you consult with might not be able to answer questions immediately. They may need to think about it and consult with others. 

American Indians object to being ‘consulted’ or ‘studied’ by people who have little intention of doing anything in response to their concerns. Be prepared to negotiate, to find ways to accommodate the Tribe’s concerns. Be prepared to respond with reasons why the advice may or may not be followed. 

Meetings with Tribal council officials and Tribal program staff should, if possible, be conducted between the same levels of officials. 

Most Tribal governments are not wealthy and it may be difficult for Tribal officials to attend meetings or to exchange correspondence. Also, Tribal governments in general do not have large support staff to assign to meetings, follow-up, etc. 

Formal notices or invitations should be addressed to the Tribal Chairperson and/or the appropriate Council Representative or Committee, with the respective Tribal program Director copied in on the letter. 

Do not rely solely on written communications. Follow-up written correspondence with telephone calls, faxes, or in-person contacts.

Traditional authorities often do not relate well to written communication and may find face-to-face consultation more appropriate. 

Understand that there are different ways of communication. Seemingly extraneous data may be reviewed and re-reviewed. During negotiations, prepare to discuss all aspects of an issue at hand simultaneously rather than sequentially. 

Respect Tribal Council representatives as elected officials of a government. 

Like all business relationships, honesty and integrity are highly valued. A sense of humor is appreciated but generally, serious, business-like behavior is appropriate. 

Always shake hands when introduced, meeting with someone or departing. It is customary to shake hands with everyone in the room. 

If possible, arrange meetings with refreshments and/or a meal. This is a cultural characteristic that is still strong in Indian country.