In the summer of 1869, the establishment of the Santee Reservation became a reality. The Santee Reservation is a compact, rectangular, tract of land twelve miles from East to West and averaging about fifteen miles from North to South. During 1868, the Treaty of Fort Laramie provided for allotment of land to those desiring to farm. The present boundaries were defined in the Treaty. Over the next decade and a half allotments were made and patents were issued. A deadline was set by presidential order that all lands not allotted by April 15, 1885 would on May 15, 1885 revert to public domain.
From 1885 through 1934 the history of the Santee Sioux can only be understood while regarding the general trend of Indian Affairs during the period. The Agency of the Santee Reservation closed in 1917 and there was a gradual withdrawal of Government Services.
The Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) of 1934 brought a change in Indian Policy. This Act stopped the allotments and required the Secretary of Interior to attempt to regain land lost during the allotment act, IRA also proclaimed Congress to be supportive of Indian Self-Governance and the creation of Tribal Constitutions.
Indian Tribes (historically and at present) are subject to an Act of Congress, however, since the passage of the Indian Education and Self-determination Act of 1972, the Tribes have been given some measure of control over their internal affairs.