The Department of Tribal Relations works with American Indian leaders to help their tribes in the state. It looks for ways the state can work with tribes to improve life for all of South Dakota.  The secretary of the department is Dave Flute. He is a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, or tribe. He graduated from North Dakota State University with two social science degrees. Secretary Flute is a military veteran who served in Afghanistan. He believes that Dakota values are similar to military values: duty, honor, respect, selfless service, honesty, and bravery.

Before becoming secretary for the Department of Tribal Relations, he was chairman for the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. He also served as the Lake Traverse councilman.