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The Crow Creek Sioux

Located along the north shore of the Big Bend stretch of the Missouri River in South Dakota is the Crow Creek Reservation. It covers approximately 125,000 acres (AID, 43), making it the third smallest reservation in the state. When originally established in 1889, the result of the Treaty of 1868, the was much larger (Presenting the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, pamphlet, The United Sioux Tribes, undated) . It is home to some 1500 Sioux. It is directly across the river from the Lower Brule Reservation and the two were combined for many years, separating administratively, only in 1971 (ibid).

The flag of the Crow Creek Sioux is white (Photograph provided by the United Sioux Tribes, Pierre, SD). It bears in the center, the tribal seal. That seal is composed of a blue disc, upon which lie three teepees in white with black accents. These three teepees represent the districts from which the reservation is comprised.

Circling this central disc is a golden yellow ring bearing, in black, the tribal name "Crow Creek Sioux Tribe" on top and the year 1868, the year of the treaty establishing the reservation. Outside the gold ring are the names of the three districts, first in the Dakota language, then beyond that in English. Toward the hoist is Kahmi Tanka or Big Bend district, toward the fly Kangi Okute or Crow Creek district and at the base is the Cinkicakse or Fort Thompson district. This last one is the capital of the reservation. Separating the three district names are blue swatches, leaving the impression that white lozenges where placed over a blue circle to form the outer ring. When used as a seal alone, the district names appear in white directly upon the blue circle and the name at the top of the gold ring is prefixed by the words "Seal of".

It should be pointed out that the use of teepees on the seal and flag of the Crow Creek Sioux is almost a unifying symbol of the Sioux peoples. Almost all Sioux flags and seals have some reference to the teepee. This usage combines the several meanings associated with the teepee. It evokes the history of the Sioux as the dominant nation of the northern plains, following the buffalo herds and living in teepees made from their hides; the teepee is a symbol of home, and the reservations of the various Sioux nations are their modern homes, even to those many Sioux who have departed for the cities beyond the reservation; and the teepee is considered to be a symbol of welcome by the Sioux, especially when depicted with open flaps as do the teepees on the seal and flag of the Crow Creek.

Don Healy, Bisbee, Az 85603