Treaty of Traverse des Sioux

Treaty of Traverse des Sioux

Painting by Frank B. Mayer, a witness to the negotiations and signing of the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux. Painted in 1885.

Treaty of Traverse des Sioux

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 similar treaties 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.

Godfrey, Joseph (c.1830–1909)

The U.S.–Dakota War of 1862 was a turning point in Minnesota history. Joseph Godfrey, an escaped slave, joined the Dakota in their fight against white settlers that summer and fall. He was one of only two African Americans to do so.

Bonga, George (c.1802–1874)

Fur trader and translator, George Bonga was one of the first black men born in what later became Minnesota. His mother was Ojibwe, as were both of his wives. Through these relationships, Bonga was part of the mixed racial and cultural groups that connected trading companies and American Indians. He frequently guided white immigrants and traders through the region. Comfortable in many worlds, Bonga often worked as an advocate for the Ojibwe in their dealings with trading companies and the government.

U.S. Model 1841 Percussion Rifle. This rifle was struck by a bullet and disabled during the Battle of Birch Coulee.

US Model 1841 "Mississippi" rifle

U.S. Model 1841 Percussion Rifle. This rifle was struck by a bullet and disabled during the Battle of Birch Coulee.

Lithograph interpretation of the Battle of Birch Coulee, 1912.

The Battle of Birch Coulee

Lithograph interpretation of the Battle of Birch Coulee, 1912.

The Battle of Birch Coulee, September 2–3, 1862

The Battle of Birch Coulee, fought between September 2 and 3, 1862, was the worst defeat the United States suffered and the Dakotas' most successful engagement during the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Over thirty hours, approximately two hundred Dakota soldiers pinned down a Union force of 150 newly recruited U.S. volunteers, militia, and civilians from the area, holding them until Henry Sibley's main army arrived.

Sandy Lake Dam near McGregor, Aitkin County.

Sandy Lake Dam near McGregor, Aitkin County.

Sandy Lake dam in the mid-20th century

Franklin Cook, Minneapolis.

Franklin Cook, Minneapolis.

Franklin Cook circa 1880

Log house, White Earth Reservation.

Log house, White Earth Reservation.

A house at White Earth Reservation circa 1900

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