Chiefs of the Sisseton and Wahpeton bands prior to the 1862 Minnesota uprising included: Sisseton--Waanatan, Sweet Corn, Standing Buffalo, Scarlet Plume, White Lodge, and Lean Bear; Wapheton--Inkpa, Extended Tail Feathers, Spirit Walker, Sleepy Eyes, Iron Walker, Red Iron, Cloudman, Simon, Running Walker, Inihan, John Other Day, and Akipa. In 1874, after being located on Lake Traverse Reservation, the federal government recognized Gabriel Renville as the head chief of the people residing there.
Today the Sisseton Reservation is considered an "open reservation" because its’ 106,153 acres are not located on a consolidated land base. For this reason the reservation is not displayed on state maps. Paul War Cloud is a noted contemporary artist from the Sisseton Reservation.