Rocky Boy Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana

Spirit Lake Reservation (Manito Zagaigan)

One of several Reservations in the State of North Dakota, the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation is one of the largest Indian Reservations in North Dakota, and has a population which does include a smaller non Indian population. It was opened up to white settlement after the illicit Dawes Act did its ugly work. It does have an Arikara, Hidatsa (the Hidatsa are the Crow and are also known as the Gros Ventre which means they are partly Anishinabe) and Mandan population, along with an Anishinabe and Lakota population also. Spirit Lake Reservation has a total size of 495 sq. mi. The Lakota peoples and Chippewa's of the Spirit Lake region, signed treaties in 1867 which established this Reservation. In Anishinabe, Spirit Lake is known as Man-i-to Za-ga-i-gan.

February 19, 1867 Treaty and March 19, 1867 Treaty

In early 1867, a treaty was negotiated between the Ojibwa (the whites will only go so far as to include only the extreme southeastern part of this Reservation as being Chippewa land), Lakota, and the United States. The land ceded was Chippewa land the whites obviously included as being an extension of the Red River Valley. The February 19, 1867 Treaty probably officially ended the 1862 Chippewa War in Minnesota. It set aside two Reservations. Spirit Lake and Lake Traverse Reservations. According to Father Belcourt, the Pembina Chippewa land in the United States extended from the Canadian border to extreme southeastern South Dakota adjacent to Iowa. He stated that in a letter to Major Woods in 1849. Belcourt stated in the letter, the Pembina Chippewa land extended around 400 miles from north to south, from the Canadian border. So we know this February 19, 1867 Treaty included the Chippewa's. Grahams Island is Chippewa land. And the northwestern part of the Spirit Lake Reservation adjacent to Minnewaukan, is also Chippewa land.

One month later on March 19, 1867, a separate treaty was negotiated with the Chippewa's of the Mississippi (the Pembina Chippewa's) and the United States. Land involved was located north and east of the White Earth Reservation which was set aside with this March 19, 1867 Treaty. Belcourt stated in his letter to Major Woods, that the Pembina Chippewa land extended over 500 miles from east to west. Belcourt stated that the height of the Mississippi River is where the eastern border of the Pembina land is located. That be where the Mississippi River commences at the northeastern part of Leech Lake. It then extended into eastern Montana well south of Fort Peck Reservoir and Wyoming. The Pembina Chippewa District was bordered on the west by the Little Shell Chippewa District. Both the Spirit Lake and Lake Traverse Reservations are well within Chippewa land.

It is the Chippewa's (the Anishinabek or Ojibwa's) who are the famous Sioux Indians of the Great Plains. When the French commenced contact with the Lake Superior Anishinabek in the 17th century, they supposedly named them the Saulteaux. However, that information was very likely corrupted by the whites. The French really named the Chippewa's who lived along Lake Superiors eastern Shores, the Sault, after the name of a French trading post located along Lake Superiors eastern shores. The name of that French trading post was Sault Ste. Marie. Sault is pronounced identically to Sioux. The English adopted the French name for the Chippewa's but used it to identify the plains Chippewa's. In Canada, the Sault was eventually changed to Saulteaux which is pronounced like "soe-toe."

After the Reservation was established and Indian children were forced to go to white Christian schools, the whites eventually forced the Chippewa's living on the Spirit Lake Reservation or Man-i-to Za-ga-i-gan, to lose their Chippewa Tribal identity. Whites make up around 25% of the Reservations population. Whites also own (184,451 acres of the 316,800 total acres this Reservation covers) most of the Reservations land. Below are the demographics of this Reservation. Average household size for the Spirit Lake Reservation is 3.6 persons per housing unit. There is a total of 1,254 housing units on the Reservation, with renter occupied units numbering 530, while owner occupied units number 724. Other settlements located on the Spirit Lake Reservation either partially of fully, other than those listed below, are Hamar, Minnewaukan, and Oberon. Sheyenne is located 0.6 miles south of the Reservation.

Surprisingly only around 5% of the population of Wood Lake Township (population is 440) including Tokio, is keeping their Chippewa Tribal identity. At Warwick (population is 65) 15% of the population is keeping their Chippewa Tribal idenity. At Fort Totten (population is 1,243) 7% of the population is keeping their Chippewa Tribal identity. At Mission Township (population is 1,077) 7% of the population is keeping their Chippewa Tribal identity. Even at Sheyenne (population is 204) 5% of the population is keeping their Chippewa Tribal identity. Over 200 Chippewa's are keeping their Chippewa Tribal identity alive at Spirit Lake. They nearly make up 10% of the Indian population of the Spirit Lake Reservation or Man-i-to Za-ga-i-gan. In the future, fewer Indians at Spirit Lake will identify themselves as Chippewa.

Demographics of the Spirit Lake Reservation
Covers 495 sq. mi.
Population is 4,435
Indian: 3,317
White: 1,056
Black: 3
Asian: 5
Mixed: 54
Hispanic: 44 - Hispanic population is corrupted as usual. Mexicans are predominantly descended from the Native Americans who lived in the eastern part of the United States. The whites have forced them to lose their tribal identities.
Language is Dakota

Spirit Lake Reservation Communities

Crow Hill

Fort Totten

Mission Bay

Mission Township (Saint Michael)


Wood Lake

Wood Lake Township (Tokio)

Wood Lake Township Northern Village

Wood Lake Township Southern Village

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