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Indian Reservations

Old 07-02-08, 11:59 AM
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Indian Reservations

Hey all, posting on the forums from a library in Wisconsin in the middle of my tour.

Just have a quick question, I'll be crossing the Cheyenne Indian Reservation in South Dakota and I was wondering if anyone had any problems there. I've heard from people on tours that some of the Northwest reservations have gangs who will mess with any white travellers, which is sadly understandable. I'm really looking forward to travelling through there and of course I expect the standard "be aware, be safe, be confident etc. etc." answers. I just would like to know if anyone has experience (positive or negative) in travelling through there.

Thanks!
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Old 07-02-08, 12:08 PM
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We passed through other reservations (further south on the TA) without incident. We met lots of other cyclists who passed through the same area without incident. I haven't been to the particular area you are passing through though. If in doubt pick and choose where you stay based on local advice.

Are you on the road now or leaving soon? Do you have a journal or blog where we can follow your progress?

Have a great trip.
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Old 07-02-08, 12:24 PM
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thanks for the advice. yes I am on the road now. Having a blast. Left Delaware on June 5th. you can follow (albeit not much) on www.livejournal.com/users/robbykills or PM me your email address with your name (so I can log you in my contacts page) and I'll add you to the emails!
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Old 07-02-08, 01:09 PM
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I'd say get the 411 from the locals, I had less-than-pleasant experiences on a different SD reservation (Pine Ridge) , after ignoring local warnings that white people shouldn't go there. I didn't want to believe the warnings, but found myself uncomfortable there, with regards to panhandling, dog packs and daytime drunkenness.

Others may have wonderful experiences with being welcomed into the culture and treated like family. I am willing to admit the warnings and fear I brought with me predisposed me to perceiving a bad experience. But I don't think I behaved in a way to elicit one.

I'm pretty cautious (sometimes overly so maybe) as a solo female, so YMMV, FWIW, etc. etc.

valygrl, AKA "Crazy White Woman"
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Old 07-02-08, 05:33 PM
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A note about riding of reservations -

I've ridden and stayed on reservations all over the U.S. and Canada.
Here are a few things in relation to what others have posted.

First, riding across the Wind River Res. on the TransAm is different than riding on the Cheyenne River Res since the Shoshone and Arapaho on the Wind River Res. are accustomed to seeing touring cyclists while the Lakota on Cheyenne River are not. Also, Cheyenne River is one of the poorest of reservations. Even people on Pine Ridge Res in southern SD see more cyclists. So you will be viewed as someone unique - for better and worse.

Second, the poverty and substance abuse issues on reservations are extreme. The issues are far more complex than can be addressed in a few paragraphs on a blog post, but a non-Native cyclist should be aware of them. At best you might be panhandled since you are likely to be seen as a rich white/black/Asian person. At worst you may be targeted by angry young people - esp. if you are solo.

Third, about locals. Yes, they may have more knowledge about the situation; however, there are long-standing racial animosities that have played out over generations. Some - by no means all - people in nearby communities may give you information colored by their own prejudices. If you have the chance, ask a priest or minister - you are more likely to get a sensitive and honest appraisal from him/her.

Let's face it. You will be seen as a non-Native who has access to sufficient resources to ride a bicycle across the country. Given those differences and the long, often bitter history of race relations, that can be a problem. You would be prudent to act accordingly. Plus you are alone, right? Since the Cheyenne River Res. is so large, it may not be possible to ride across it in one day. DO NOT CONSIDER guerrilla camping on rez lands. There are two small motels in Eagle Butte. Even if they allow camping in the community park, I would suggest not doing so since they are usually filled with people partying at night.

You can have a wonderful trip across Cheyenne River Res. if you are prudent and non-judgmental, but you will be riding thru one of the poorest areas in the entire nation and among a people who have had generation after generation of negative contacts with the dominant American culture.

Last edited by jamawani; 07-02-08 at 06:54 PM.
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Old 07-03-08, 12:16 AM
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jamawani, thanks. Much better than what I could have come up with.
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Old 07-03-08, 07:42 AM
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20 Dec 2007 Lakota Indian Nation declared independence from United States. There land is no longer considered a part of the United States so there are no Federal laws in effect. Other reservations are considering doing the same so they can take back control of there land as well.
https://www.republicoflakotah.com/portfolio.html

States with federal bans on drilling for oil, natural gas, as well as mining and use of coal are starting to consider Secession as well due to high energy costs and the resulting economic impact. Alaska is actively trying to become an independent nation so it can get at it's natural resources.
https://www.akip.org/index.html
If Alaska is as successful as the Lakota Indian Nation you'll soon see Secession by other states so they can get at there natural resources as well.
https://www.secessionist.us/
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Old 07-03-08, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by jamawani
A note about riding of reservations -

I've ridden and stayed on reservations all over the U.S. and Canada.
Here are a few things in relation to what others have posted.

First, riding across the Wind River Res. on the TransAm is different than riding on the Cheyenne River Res since the Shoshone and Arapaho on the Wind River Res. are accustomed to seeing touring cyclists while the Lakota on Cheyenne River are not. Also, Cheyenne River is one of the poorest of reservations. Even people on Pine Ridge Res in southern SD see more cyclists. So you will be viewed as someone unique - for better and worse.

Second, the poverty and substance abuse issues on reservations are extreme. The issues are far more complex than can be addressed in a few paragraphs on a blog post, but a non-Native cyclist should be aware of them. At best you might be panhandled since you are likely to be seen as a rich white/black/Asian person. At worst you may be targeted by angry young people - esp. if you are solo.

Third, about locals. Yes, they may have more knowledge about the situation; however, there are long-standing racial animosities that have played out over generations. Some - by no means all - people in nearby communities may give you information colored by their own prejudices. If you have the chance, ask a priest or minister - you are more likely to get a sensitive and honest appraisal from him/her.

Let's face it. You will be seen as a non-Native who has access to sufficient resources to ride a bicycle across the country. Given those differences and the long, often bitter history of race relations, that can be a problem. You would be prudent to act accordingly. Plus you are alone, right? Since the Cheyenne River Res. is so large, it may not be possible to ride across it in one day. DO NOT CONSIDER guerrilla camping on rez lands. There are two small motels in Eagle Butte. Even if they allow camping in the community park, I would suggest not doing so since they are usually filled with people partying at night.

You can have a wonderful trip across Cheyenne River Res. if you are prudent and non-judgmental, but you will be riding thru one of the poorest areas in the entire nation and among a people who have had generation after generation of negative contacts with the dominant American culture.
Jamawani you obviously have more experience with the area than I do, but... One of your comments I do wonder about. The comment about the about them not being used to seeing cyclists is what I am wondering about. The OP is talking about riding the NT through that area, right? I would think that lots of people have ridden that route and used whatever route and accommodations that the AC maps recommend. It looks like there are almost as many NT journals as TA journals on the Crazyguy page.

RobbyKills, I would suggest reading some NT journals on the crazy guy site, for the entries from that area. Lots of people have ridden the NT. You could possibly even find some that have done it this year and are still on the road and contact them through the guestbook in their journal. Also I would guess that you have seen other NT cyclists coming the other way. They are probably a wealth of info. Talk to them every chance you get.
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Old 07-03-08, 08:40 AM
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No -

The diarist is in South Dakota - not North Dakota where the NT crosses.
It appears he will be riding on US 212 across the Cheyenne River Res.
My guess is that no more than a handful of cyclists go that way.
US 212 doesn't even have that much auto tourist traffic.
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Old 07-03-08, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by jamawani
No -

The diarist is in South Dakota - not North Dakota where the NT crosses.
It appears he will be riding on US 212 across the Cheyenne River Res.
My guess is that no more than a handful of cyclists go that way.
US 212 doesn't even have that much auto tourist traffic.
OK . Thanks for the clarification. I'm not sure where I got the idea he was on the NT. Sorry for the confusion.
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Old 07-03-08, 09:13 AM
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PS -

Although US 212 has light traffic in western SD, the stretch between the state line and Hardin, Montana has a good deal of traffic - esp. truck traffic cutting off the extra distance the I-90 takes via Wyoming.
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Old 07-30-08, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by n4zou
20 Dec 2007 Lakota Indian Nation declared independence from United States. There land is no longer considered a part of the United States so there are no Federal laws in effect. Other reservations are considering doing the same so they can take back control of there land as well.
https://www.republicoflakotah.com/portfolio.html

States with federal bans on drilling for oil, natural gas, as well as mining and use of coal are starting to consider Secession as well due to high energy costs and the resulting economic impact. Alaska is actively trying to become an independent nation so it can get at it's natural resources.
https://www.akip.org/index.html
If Alaska is as successful as the Lakota Indian Nation you'll soon see Secession by other states so they can get at there natural resources as well.
https://www.secessionist.us/
wooooo civil war 2!!!!!


also for the record I ended up taking the advice of locals and going around and through pierre and west on 14 and the interstate to Rapid City. most locals told me to do that more for the fact that it is very desolate on 212. Only one guy told me "you'll be killed". Most other people just said I'd probably be heckled at worst
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Old 07-30-08, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
Jamawani you obviously have more experience with the area than I do, but... One of your comments I do wonder about. The comment about the about them not being used to seeing cyclists is what I am wondering about. The OP is talking about riding the NT through that area, right? I would think that lots of people have ridden that route and used whatever route and accommodations that the AC maps recommend. It looks like there are almost as many NT journals as TA journals on the Crazyguy page.

RobbyKills, I would suggest reading some NT journals on the crazy guy site, for the entries from that area. Lots of people have ridden the NT. You could possibly even find some that have done it this year and are still on the road and contact them through the guestbook in their journal. Also I would guess that you have seen other NT cyclists coming the other way. They are probably a wealth of info. Talk to them every chance you get.

nah im not on any established trail (at least not for the whole ride) I just made a route up
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Old 07-30-08, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Robbykills
nah im not on any established trail (at least not for the whole ride) I just made a route up
Would you do the same if you were to do it over? I think your way is more of an adventure and the established route way offers more chance to hang out with other tourists and easier planning. Either way is great and the trip is a good experience.

It has been fun following your progress. I hope it continues to be fun to the end.

Watch out at the end... Being home after a long tour really takes some getting used to.
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Old 07-30-08, 02:55 PM
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Daytine drunks, panhandlers, gangs . . . sounfd like most cities in the US!!!
Have traveled through Navajo, Hopi and Apache reservations (AZ area) on a tandem bike dozens of times.
Am still here to talk about it.
You have nothing to fear, but fear itself. Just pedal on!
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Old 07-30-08, 03:00 PM
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How many people are on a tandem bike??
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Old 07-30-08, 11:34 PM
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yeah Pete, I don't mind this way at all. Been meeting some nice people and everything. In places where they see lots of touring cyclists I also haven't had as many great conversations either as its more of "where you heading?" "oregon" "cool" where as in some of these towns where they don't get too many tourists I've been the center of attention I guess you could say as opposed to just another guy on a bike. haha I guess it sounds vain but its nice because as I said it strikes up more conversation and pleasant encounters this way.
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Old 07-31-08, 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Robbykills
yeah Pete, I don't mind this way at all. Been meeting some nice people and everything. In places where they see lots of touring cyclists I also haven't had as many great conversations either as its more of "where you heading?" "oregon" "cool" where as in some of these towns where they don't get too many tourists I've been the center of attention I guess you could say as opposed to just another guy on a bike. haha I guess it sounds vain but its nice because as I said it strikes up more conversation and pleasant encounters this way.
Yeah that makes sense. I guess I kind of noticed the same thing when we were off route on the TA trip.

On the TA we had the "where you heading?" conversations too. We did also become good friends with a few riders who were going the same way. We camped with the same folks quite a few times and it was a sad parting when our paths diverged. One retired couple became almost like family for a while. I guess it is all good either way.

No problem with it being vain, being the center of attention can be fun sometimes. Also you probably gave as much as you got, because the people you met certainly enjoyed living your trip vicariously.
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