One hundred years ago Flandreau Indian School had its inception when the federal government appropriated $1,000 for the mission school set up in 1872 by Presbyterian missionaries for Santee Sioux who had homesteaded near Flandreau.
The first school was called Riggs Institute after the Rev. Alfred Riggs, missionary teacher and friend of the Rev. Mr. John Williamson, who had led the Sioux to Flandreau. Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the National Archives show that on January 1, 1873, the Rev. Mr. P. A. Van Nuys was appointed as teacher. Among other early teachers were Hosea Locke and the Rev. Mr. John Eastman, an Indian minister of the First Presbyterian Church which, erected in 1873, still stands on Highway 13 north of Flandreau.
In 1890 Congress appropriated $2,000 for purchase of 160 acres of land for the site of an industrial school near the village of Flandreau. In 1891 the federal government bought the land where the present Flandreau Indian High School stands and established a boarding school for Indian youth. Some of the first buildings erected are still in use. In 1895 the cost per pupil was $167 per year, or approximately 60 cents per day. In 1930 the cost was $275 per year, or approximately $1.00 per day. Today the cost of boarding, caring for and educating each pupil for a nine-month period is approximately
Today, the Flandreau Indian High School, totally supported by the federal government has more than twenty buildings and facilities to provide a varied program for 600 boarding school students. All teachers are certified by the South Dakota Department of Public Instruction, and the school is accredited by the North Central Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges