Expert Essay: Thomas D. Peacock, member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe and author of many books and articles on Ojibwe history and culture, reflects on the Ojibwe influence on Minnesota, from language, literature, and the arts to education, economics, and politics.
Since the first sawmill was built near Red Lake in 1856, the harvesting and processing of timber has been a significant part of the local economy. It has provided an enduring source of income for the Ojibwe living in the area that is now the Red Lake Indian Reservation.
When Sybil Carter started her first lace-making classes at the White Earth Reservation, she set the stage for a major economic enterprise. In 1904, friends of Carter organized the Sybil Carter Indian Lace Association to help ship and market lace made by women on reservations to East Coast consumers. The association provided a good source of income to American Indian women. However, the association also held negative views of American Indian women and excluded them from leadership roles.
Tatankamani (Walking Buffalo) was a leader of the Mdewakanton Dakota in the upper Mississippi Valley. White immigrants who met him as they advanced into the region in the early nineteenth century came to know him and his village as Red Wing.
The second Treaty of La Pointe (1854) ceded most Ojibwe land on the northern and western shores of Lake Superior to the U.S. government. It also established the Grand Portage and Fond du Lac reservations. In exchange, the Ojibwe received annual payments and a guarantee that they could continue to hunt and fish throughout this territory.
The Treaty of Mendota was signed between the Mdewakanton and Wahpekute bands of the Dakota and the United States Government in 1851. By signing this treaty and the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux the same year, the Dakota transferred ownership of their lands to the United States. The Treaties of 1851 opened millions of acres to white settlement. For the Dakota, the treaties represented a step towards the loss of their homeland, and the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.
The Treaty of Traverse des Sioux of 1851 is an agreement between the Sisseton and Wahpeton bands of Dakota and the U.S. government. It transferred ownership of much of southern and western Minnesota from the Dakota to the United States. The treaty is significant in Minnesota's history because, along with the Treaty of Mendota signed that same year, it opened twenty-four million acres of land to immigration. For the Dakota, these treaties marked another step in the process that saw them increasingly marginalized in and dismissed from land that was their home.
The Treaty of Washington (1855) is a milestone in the history of Ojibwe people in Minnesota. The agreement ceded a large portion of Ojibwe land to the U.S. government and created the Leech Lake and Mille Lacs reservations.
In spring 1829, Wacouta (Shooter) faced two challenges upon becoming leader of the Red Wing band of Mdewakanton Dakota. He needed to fend off challenges from rivals within his village and also find success in dealings with United States government officials.
Henry Benjamin Whipple, the first Episcopal bishop of Minnesota, is known for his missionary work among the Dakota and Ojibwe and his efforts to reform the U.S. Indian administration system. After the U.S.–Dakota War of 1862, Whipple was one of the few white men to oppose the death sentences of 303 Dakota.