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Old 08-12-2012, 11:46 AM
 
32 posts, read 77,499 times
Reputation: 22
Default Possible move to South Dakota in a year--pros and cons?

My company has locations around the country and I have the option of having a relative say in where I live out of their 46 options... one of them is South Dakota. Yes, the whole state (I haven't been given specifics yet; I may be working with Lakota children, however so probably near the reservations). So... what is there to like and dislike about living in this area? (I have one added benefit of my little brother starting college up in North Dakota and it might be nice to be close(r) without being really close, ha!)

I'm trying to narrow down my options--I'm fresh out of college, ready to experience the world, and really open-minded so I'm letting every place be on the table. I am single, female, am not particularly needy at this point. I have a dog and like outdoorsy stuff but what's most important to me is having stuff to do (cultural events, places to go, trails to hike, classes to take, etc) and most most important is having the community be welcoming. I'm very social and make friends easily but I've lived in places where the culture encourages being more isolated--that is not for me!

SO... how does South Dakota do in that regard? What are summers like? Anything else you can tell me that'll help me make or break this on my list? I have lived in very very poor areas of the country and very rich areas of the country--I'm adaptable. Like I said, the community is the most important, crime rates and quality of my living space is relative to what I can do and who I can do it with. I can always move again to a better area once I get a feel for the place. Thank you so much!
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Old 08-12-2012, 02:01 PM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
17,625 posts, read 22,043,857 times
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You're into a catch 22. If you are going to work with Lakota Children on the Reservation, you are going to live in isolation, or, you are going to drive 60 or 70 miles, one way, to live in a small town of 2000 or less.

I don't know how used to winter driving you are, but a 60-70 mile commute in the winter time can be devastating to some folks.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Eastern SD
2,409 posts, read 1,778,716 times
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I think you'd be happier in a higher population density area, with more forested areas and more amenities, like eastern Minnesota or Wisconsin. Those are the two I have the most experience with, there are so many areas I'd like to visit, from the pacific northwest to Tennessee. If I could work and have a career that paid the same anywhere South Dakota would not be first on my list, mostly because I enjoy trees, beaches, and karst topography, and a bit higher population density too.

Suburbs of Minneapolis, MN, Madison, WI, Milwaukee, WI, and Chicago, IL would be my choices in your situation. Or any small town that's in between them in southern or east Central WI. The drive to get from place to place won't be as far and there will be more to do.

If you can stick within 50 miles of Rapid City or Sioux Falls it's no big deal though. The black hills are beautiful. The rest of the cities in the state are fairly small. You could also try out Omaha, NE. Billings, Montana has been on my list and is beautiful and has a reasonable number of people too though it too is really off the beaten path. I'd avoid Sioux City, IA.

Just keep in mind commute times to the nearest city where you'd want to get some entertainment, or state park, scenic area, or whatever. Google maps/earth is a great tool.

Last edited by stockwiz; 08-13-2012 at 09:40 AM..
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Hot Springs
1,036 posts, read 1,131,666 times
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There is a large Lakota population in Rapid City and in Chamberlain. Either location would fit most or all of your needs. However, if you will be living on the Rez, then ElkHunter has pointed out some potential problems that you will have to deal with. Fwiw, I have found the Lakota to be very welcoming people.

uh
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:30 PM
 
Location: South Dakota
412 posts, read 270,318 times
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I have a dog and like outdoorsy stuff but what's most important to me is having stuff to do (cultural events, places to go, trails to hike, classes to take, etc) and most most important is having the community be welcoming.

The Sioux Falls area and the Rapid City area are really the only two areas that seem to fit your criteria. The Rapid area fits the outdoorsy stuff you like with the Black Hills at its doorstep. Sioux Falls has some outdoorsy stuff but on a real tame level. You can kayak the Big Sioux, hike trails at the local state parks, boat at the nearby lakes, but these outdoor activities pale in comparison to what is available in the Rapid area. On the other hand, Sioux Falls does a pretty good job of offering cultural events for a city of its size. A free, three-day blues and jazz fest each summer that brings in acts like Los Lonely Boys, and the Washington Pavilion, which is the city's cultural gem. Intellectually, there are two small private universities and a public outreach center. Augustana College brings in world-renowned speakers each year, people like Madeline Albright and Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland. (See Fall 2012 Events to Feature Performing, Visual, Literary Arts; Forums | Augustana College for a fall 2012 schedule of events at Augie.) A decent variety of restaurants also can be found, in fact, a few that would qualify as gourmet. Overall, Sioux Falls is a safe community on the rise, mainly because of Denny Sanford's investment in the local health care scene. The city is a little vanilla if you are coming from a place with cultural diversity. Summers are usually really pleasant, although it can get hot ( high 90s-low 100s) just to remind you that it is summer. Mostly in the 80s, though.

As for reservations, there is a small one about 40 miles north of Sioux Falls, another about 3 hours north of Sioux Falls, one west a little ways, and than the rest are in the central and western parts of the state, anywhere from 4 to 6 hours drive.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:45 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis
774 posts, read 540,820 times
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South Dakota is a great place to live in many ways. We have no state income tax. Each part of the state is unique. If the outdoors are the most important for you, I'd recommend Rapid City or the black hills area. Rapid City does have a large Lakota population, but is a little distance from some reservations. The summers in the hills nice. Highs average in the 80s and 90s with little humidity. Most of the rain usually happens early in the summer. This is black hills weather; the rest of South Dakota's weather is very different. In my personal opinion, Rapid City is not as social as many larger cities and lacks in cultural events. You would proabably have a larger social life and more cultural events in Sioux Falls, but Sioux Falls doesn't compare to the black hills in outdoor activities.
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Old 08-31-2012, 05:59 PM
 
15 posts, read 11,667 times
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More to think about before moving. Thanks for all the honest comments!
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:36 PM
 
Location: Custer, SD
1,508 posts, read 1,697,907 times
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Keep in mind, too, that since there is no income tax, as RC01 mentioned, some of the other taxes, especially property taxes, might be higher than you are used to.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:40 PM
 
Location: Sioux Falls, SD area
1,633 posts, read 2,020,538 times
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I'm going to give this info with no flowering rhetoric. You're obviously young and very idealistic. The life of living on the reservation is like nothing you can even dream about in you're nightmares. It's a dismal existance. The people live on next to nothing and for some reason the residents do not make a strong effort to change. For every one resident that makes an effort to leave the horrendous poverty there there are three that make no effort to leave, but will make every effort to stop the person attempting to improve themself and push them to resort back to "traditional ways".

Businesses have learned over the years that starting up on the rez is a losing proposition. The work ethic there is next to nil.

You damn right, our government is partially at fault. The whole system is a mess. Now adays the biggest problem is usually the local reservation leaders. They are constently being exposed for their corruption.

This is what you will be moving into. There is nothing to do ESPECIALLY FOR A SINGLE YOUNG WHITE FEMALE that is safe while living on the reservation.

I am NOT a racist. I'm a realist. The Indians in South Dakota have been dealt a stacked deck. They're stuck in the middle of nowhere on nearly worthless land. The native americans have somewhat thrown their hands up and given up. HOWEVER, any attempt by outside sources to improve their situation is usually met by a brick wall. After all, they are a "soverign nation". Bullcrap. When you're very existence is regulated by the paychecks you receive from another "soverign nation" you are dreaming. When the indian population is finally brought into the United States as full citizens then maybe we can eliminate the hypocrosy of having countries within a country. THEN, maybe we can really make some dents into the reservation issues that are so appalling.

Sorry for the rant, but your situation seemed to warrant it.

In closing, if you're a young single female, STAY OFF THE REZ. If you want to work with the indian situatiion, move to either Rapid City or Sioux Falls for no other reason than you're own safety. TRAVEL to the rez's from either town, but base your life from these communities.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Custer, SD
1,508 posts, read 1,697,907 times
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jmgg's information is pretty much dead on. If you are a young, single, white female, the last place you want to try to live is the Rez. Communities nearest either large reservation on the western side of the state are not going to offer you much of what you are looking for. They tend to be dusty, poor cowtowns who aren't very welcoming to outsiders. Your best bet, like has been mentioned several times already, is to make Rapid City or Sioux Falls your home base, and find a program that allows you to work with the natives that are off the Rez in those areas.

My husband is a school teacher in a community between the two southern reservations. He lives there during the week, and though we have discussed it, he does not want me moving there with him. There is little opportunity, and less respect for whites. It is like living in a ghetto. He does not fear for his safety, as he is there at the request of the community, and he spent 15 years living/working/teaching in the poorest areas of Detroit before this. They asked him to come, so there is a bit more in the way of respect for him and what he does for them, but he does not want his family there. He sees how isolated the other teachers' families are, and he knows how limited the opportunities for socializing and interacting with the small community are.

I hope you are able to find something that offers you what you are looking for. You mentioned that you are relocating due to work. Hopefully, they have some sort of support system in place and other staff in the area to help you get settled. Whatever choice you make, make it an informed one! If you have more specific questions, we are more than happy to help you find the answers!
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