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Tamara St. John is an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe of the Lake Traverse Reservation of South Dakota.  She is the Tribal Archivist/Curator of Collections and works with the Tribal Historic Preservation Office on Cultural Preservation issues. She has been working on Native American Graves and Repatriation Act issues for the tribe with a long term goal of building a tribal visitor center and museum.

Tamara is a Native American genealogist has done extensive research in the history of the Dakota/Lakota/Nakota or Oceti Sakowin. She has worked with the Minnesota Historical Society and along with other Dakota Tribes collaborated on the Commemorating Controversy: The Dakota–U.S. War of 1862 exhibition. She worked with North Dakota State University and The Center for Heritage Renewal participating in panel discussions on the Dakota-U.S. War of 1862 and The Massacre at Whitestone Hill.

Tamara is a former board member of the South Dakota Humanities Council and works with both South Dakota and North Dakota Native Tourism Alliance organizations.  Tamara was elected to the South Dakota State Legislature in 2018, and is in her third term after re-election November 2022.  Tamara is currently leading the work to repatriate two Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota children who attended the Carlisle Pennsylvania Industrial School for Indians in 1879. Both Amos LaFromboise and Edward Upright are buried at the cemetery in Carlisle, Pa. which is now an active military base.  

Since 2016 Tamara StJohn has worked with other tribal nations to navigate the complex issues that surround boarding school history like those at the Carlisle Industrial School for Indians. 

Tamara St.John

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