Associated Tribes of Badlands National Park

National Parks have a "trust responsibility" (i.e., fiduciary) to Federally Recognized tribal nations that is unique because of the sovereign status of both the federal government and individual tribal nations. Native Americans represent the only group in the United States that has a formalized relationship enshrined and stipulated within the Constitution, treaties, legislation, judicial decisions, Executive Orders, and policy. The National Park Service as an Executive Branch agency has a duty to carry out these mandates, legally, politically, ethically, and morally.

several long poles arranged in a tipi shape against a sunset and badlands buttes in background.
The area today known as Badlands National Park is the ancestral land for many Indigenous nations.

NPS Photo / Matthew Janis

Badlands' Responsibility to Indigenous Nations

At Badlands, these obligations in at least three focus areas:

One area of focus is with respect to the specific land status of the southern Unit of the park. The South Unit of the park is entirely on Tribal Trust land, meaning the land there is held in trust by the Federal Government for the use and benefit of the tribal members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. In 1976, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between the park and tribal government that outlined priorities and mutually beneficial items that both parties would seek to implement for the betterment of the American public and the citizens of the Oglala Lakota nation. These priorities include items such as, recruitment, fee revenue distribution, bison management, and others.

Another area of focus is to the signatories of the Ft. Laramie Treaties of 1851 and 1868. A popular misconception is that these treaties were invalidated by successive US violations. One such violation was the illegal seizure of the Black Hills, the illegality of which was affirmed in 1980 by the US Supreme Court. Despite these violations, the treaties remain law and Federal agencies have a responsibility to faithfully collaborate with Indigenous nations in ways that support treaty obligations.

And yet another final area of focus is to all nations who have histories associated with the natural and cultural landscapes of the park. This often falls under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and other related legislation such as the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act. The park is required to consult with all tribes, in good faith, regarding any changes to the natural and cultural landscape that may impact anything relating to a nation's association with the site. This included, but is not limited to, construction, archaeological survey, etc.

Below is a list of all Associated Tribes with Badlands National Park, along with links to their webpages and present-day locations.


Associated Tribes


Webpage: Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes

Location: Fort Peck Reservation, Montana
Webpage: Blackfeet Tribe

Location: Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Montana
Webpage: Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

Location: Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota
Webpage: Crow Tribe

Location: Crow Indian Reservation, Montana
Webpage: Crow Creek Sioux Tribe

Location: Crow Creek Indian Reservation, South Dakota
Webpage: Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe

Location: Flandreau Santee Sioux Indian Reservation, South Dakota
Webpage: Lower Brule Sioux Tribe

Location: Lower Brule Indian Reservation, South Dakota
Webpage: Northern Arapaho Tribe

Location: Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming
Webpage: Northern Cheyenne Tribe

Location: Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, Montana
Webpage: Oglala Sioux Tribe

Location: Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota
Webpage: Omaha Tribe

Location: Omaha Reservation, Nebraska
Webpage: Ponca Tribe

Location: Niobrara, Nebraska
Webpage: Rosebud Sioux Tribe

Location: Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota
Webpage: Santee Sioux Tribe

Location: Santee Sioux Reservation, Nebraska
Webpage: Sisseton-Whapeton Oyate

Location: Lake Traverse Reservation, South Dakota & North Dakota
Webpage: Spirit Lake Dakota Nation

Location: Spirit Lake Dakota Reservation, North Dakota
Webpage: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Location: Standing Rock Indian Reservation, South Dakota & North Dakota
Webpage: Turtle Mountain band of Chippewa

Location: Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, North Dakota
Webpage: The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska

Location: Winnebago Indian Reservation, Nebraska
Webpage: Yankton Sioux Tribe

Location: Yankton Indian Reservation, South Dakota


Learning Resources

Black and white portrait of an American Indian woman with her hand up to her face.
Indigenous Stories of the Midwest

Learn more about the ancestral homelands of many Midwest American Indian tribes.

A sign with NPS logo and flag with tipis arranged circularly with greetings in English and Lakota.
South Unit

The South Unit of the park is entirely within the boundaries of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

A sign with NPS logo and flag with tipis arranged circularly with greetings in English and Lakota.
Tribes and the NPS

Access the main page for the National Park Service and tribes, outlining responsibilities and programs designed to serve tribal partners.

Red rock canyon with sporadic green bushes under blue partially cloudy sky.
Tribal Historic Preservation Office

Learn about the Tribal Historic Preservation Program and how it assists tribes in preserving historic properties and cultural traditions.

a historic black and white photo of a lodge and cabins in front of badlands buttes.
History & Culture

Curious about the human history of Badlands National Park? Learn more about the history and culture embedded in the Badlands.

A dark brown bison faces the camera with an overflowing mouthful of grass hanging from its mouth.
Bison Conservation Initiative

Learn about ongoing bison reintroduction programs and their relationship to our tribal partners.

Last updated: June 27, 2023

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

25216 Ben Reifel Road
Interior, SD 57750


605 433-5361

Contact Us