Death by the numbers: Violent crime in Indian Country

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sixteen total murders were reported across the state of South Dakota in 2019. Half of them were reported on what the State and FBI refer to as Indian Country.

In 2020, Rosebud Sioux Tribal Law Enforcement investigated four homicides. This is an increase compared with data from the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office, which showed in its 2019 ‘Crime in South Dakota’ report that there was one homicide/non-negligent manslaughter reported on the Rosebud Reservation.

The cause of death was asphyxiation; the perpetrator, marked as ‘unknown’; the victim, a 15-year-old boy named Alize Millard.

Page 41 of Crime in SD 2019
Page 41 of Crime in SD 2019
Contributed to DocumentCloud by Jacob Newton (KELO-TV) • View document or read text

To view the full 2019 report, click here.

Aside from the one homicide/non-negligent manslaughter on Rosebud in 2019, there were seven others reported on Indian Country; three on Pine Ridge, one on Standing Rock and three on the Cheyenne River reservation.

In addition to this, the Attorney General’s office also reports nine cases of manslaughter by negligence; five on Rosebud, one on Crow Creek and three on Pine Ridge.

This report was the result of “a letter was sent June 11, 2019 and again on December 3, 2019 to all Tribal Chairmen and Presidents to collect information on any murdered Indigenous person on Indian County.” Violent crime on reservations is most often the jurisdiction of the FBI rather than of State authorities.

The Rosebud Indian Reservation, home to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, properly known as the Sicangu Lakota Oyate, sits within the borders of Todd County which has a population of 10,195 as of the 2019 census.

The following 2020 crime stats come from Rosebud Sioux Tribal Law Enforcement:

  • Assaults: 94
  • Assaults on officers: 22
  • Burglaries: 17
  • Sexual assaults: 46
  • Death investigations: 46 (anytime there is a death)
  • Homicide: 4
  • Manslaughter: 4
  • Suicide: 2

Butte County is an non-reservation county sitting just north of the Black Hills on the western border of South Dakota and has a population of 10,225 as of the 2019 census, similar to Todd County.

KELOLAND News reached out to the Butte County Sheriff’s Office to request 2020 crime statistics in the same categories as those reported from Rosebud. Here is what we found.

  • Assaults: 28 (aggravated and simple)
  • Burglary/Breaking and entering: 4
  • Sexual assaults: 1
  • Murder & non-negligent homicide: 0
  • Negligent manslaughter: 0
  • Justifiable homicide: 0
  • Suicide: 1

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