If you are looking for a route through central South Dakota that keeps you close to the Missouri River, includes historic points of interest, and provides beautiful scenery; may we suggest the Native American Scenic Byway from Chamberlain to Fort Pierre? This 100-mile stretch of highway will take you through two of South Dakota’s nine Indian reservations, across the Missouri River, and is the only designated Native American Scenic Byway in the US. Begin at the Information Center/Rest Area at exit 263 on I-90 at Chamberlain. Take SD Highway 50 north approximately fifteen miles. Turn northwest on BIA Highway 4 to Fort Thompson where you will cross the Missouri River. Once you have crossed the bridge, you will be on the Lower Brule Reservation. Take BIA Highway 10 (also called Highway 1806) through the town of Lower Brule. You’ll stay on this road northwest for about the next 65 miles to the junction of Highway 1806 and US Highway 83.
Members of the Okiciapiye (o-kee-chee-AA-pee-y) “helping each other out” Group have agreed to work together to fulfill the mission of the Native American Scenic Byway. According to the Vision Statement, “the Native American Scenic Byway is the gateway to a revealing cultural experience. It is a journey through the heart of the Teton Lakota Nation. It will allow visitors appropriate access to the history, tradition, development, and future of the Lakota people.
The value of the Byway is the utilization of existing cultural, historic, recreational, and scenic resources in a well conceived and well planned fashion to foster tourism and the resulting economic development. The demand for historic cultural attractions is considerable. Satisfying this demand for traditional experiences such as the reintroduction of the buffalo will provide the opportunity for the Lakota to attain a greater level of self-sufficiency through the use of the land and other cultural resources. It will help create a new economic unit on the reservations.
The ultimate purpose of the Native American Scenic Byway is to generate understanding of the unique history and culture surrounding the corridor. It is a focal point for the coordinated planning, marketing, and use of these resources. These activities will link the communities, the Lakota, and various governmental agencies in mutually beneficial constructive efforts.
More than just a safe, comfortable, enjoyable drive, the experience of the Byway will help the heart and mind of the visitor travel back in time to the day when the Lakota were the dominant culture of the high plains. When the visitor feels the spirit of this land, then the vision of the Byway will be complete.”