A Prairie Notebook

Smile…Welcome to Flandreau

Congratulations on your new job as the Flandreau city administrator and welcome to town.

As a newbie myself, I want to share some of the things you won’t want to miss living here. Granted, you’ll have the fun of discovering Flandreau through your own eyes and experiences, but it doesn’t hurt to have a bit of a guide to help you notice the people and places that you are about to enjoy.

  • Like many towns this size, a lot of activity revolves around the schools, in this case the public school and the Flandreau Indian School, a boarding school with students from numerous tribes across the country. There are many events all year, but I hope you got the chance to grab an Indian taco last week at FIS. If not, there will be other Indian taco sales at various places throughout the year.
  • For a smaller community, Flandreau has a pretty strong business community, even though it is between the larger towns of Sioux Falls, Madison, Brookings and Pipestone, Minn.

I’m sure you have met some of the group that I like to characterize as 30 in their 30s. Ok, maybe some are younger and others older than that decade, but there are a surprising number of people in that general age group who volunteer and promote the business community here, largely through the Flandreau Development Corporation. They have ideas on everything from revitalizing downtown to adding recreational opportunities to supporting homegrown businesses and looking for other companies to bring to town to provide good jobs. They admittedly need help with that, and hopefully that will be part of your mission as administrator. One thing is certain, they have a lot of passion and spirit behind them. Not every community sees that in its next generation of leaders.

  • That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of “elders” in town who still care deeply about this place. They have history on their side, and they don’t seem tired yet. It’s pretty amazing when you think about it how one community can have people of all ages involved in working for what is best for Flandreau.
  • This town is diverse, and that seems powerful.

Take a moment to look at the work the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe has done to build infrastructure, programs and opportunities for its tribal members and Flandreau in general. From the Royal River Casino, which is in the middle of an update, to the tribal health clinic and the community center, both beautiful new buildings that get lots of use. In addition, you will have a chance to attend rodeos June 8-9, a new event by the casino that could be a big draw for Flandreau.

  • Speaking of events, you’ve arrived at a good time. Winter was kind of miserable (except you won’t want to miss the annual holiday parade), but it’s spring and there are tons of things to put on your calendar. From hot dog days to Riverside Park Days to the Moody County Fair to events at the Crystal Theatre, you’re going to just have fun here.
  • Speaking of food, you’re not going to go hungry.

Besides the Indian tacos, hotdogs and other fare, there’s a really good steakhouse in town at Mad Mary’s, there’s a new Mexican place at Fajita’s Bar and Grill, you’ve got the traditional café at John’s Place, all you can eat at the casino, and you probably won’t buy bread and sweet rolls anywhere else after visiting the Flandreau Bakery. This is probably another reason to promote more outdoor recreation. We need to move our bodies living here. Plus, there’s the call of that beautiful natural resources the Big Sioux River provides.

  • It took me a while to put this one together so I’ll just help you out. If you see a license plate with “Shrek” or “Fiona” on it, that’s just Sheriff Troy Wellman and his wife, Chris. You’ll understand and probably appreciate their fun sense of humor. Oh, they also make a believable Santa and Mrs. Claus.

So again, welcome. There are so many things to enjoy here. And from my experience, people will know who you are before you know them by name. They’re good about that here so just smile. It’s the best part about small-towns.


All the best,


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