Hennepin, Louis (c.1640–c.1701)

Father Louis Hennepin, a Recollect friar, is best known as an early explorer of Minnesota. He gained fame in the seventeenth century with the publication of his dramatic stories of the exploration of the Mississippi River. Father Hennepin spent only a few months in Minnesota, but his influence is undeniable. While his widely read travel accounts were more fiction than fact, they allowed Hennepin to leave a lasting mark on the state.

Circular explaining the location of "half-breed" Dakota scrip, March 21, 1857.

Circular explaining the location of "half-breed" Dakota scrip

Initial page of a circular distributed by the General Land Office and dated March 21, 1857. The circular explains how land will be divided among the "Dacotah or Sioux Half-breeds or Mixed-bloods" following the act approved by Congress on July 17, 1854.

Petition sent by members of the Sioux Nation to Joel Roberts Poinsett

Petition sent by members of the Sioux Nation to Joel Roberts Poinsett

Initial page of a petition sent by members of the Sioux (Dakota) Nation to U.S. Secretary of War Joel Roberts Poinsett in September of 1838. The petition's writers urge the secretary to divide the land within the Lake Pepin Half-Breed Reserve into plots so that individual titles may be awarded.

Black and white engraving on paper depicting Lake Pepin. Made by Jacob C. Ward c.1840.

Lake Pepin, Upper Mississippi

Black and white engraving on paper depicting Lake Pepin. Made by Jacob C. Ward c.1840.

The "Half Breed Tract" and Scrip

The 1830 Treaty of Prairie du Chien set aside 320,000 acres of potentially valuable land west of Lake Pepin for "half breed" members of the Dakota nation. The move set off a series of events that would enrich a number of early Minnesotans, none of Indian heritage.

Hand written document recognizing "Wahcoota" as Tatankamani's successor, May 17, 1829.

Document written by Indian Agent Lawrence Taliaferro recognizing "Wahcoota" as Tatankamani's successor, May 17, 1829.

Following the death of Tatankamani (Red Wing) in 1829, Lawrence Taliaferro, the United States Indian Agent at Fort Snelling, recognized "Wahcoota" as his successor.

Wacouta I (Shooter), (c. 1800–1858)

In spring 1829, Wacouta (Shooter) faced two challenges upon becoming leader of the Red Wing band of Mdewakanton. He needed to fend off challenges from rivals within his village and also find success in dealings with United States government officials.

Black and white portrait of Zebulon M. Pike wearing the uniform of an U.S. Army captain, c.1810.

Zebulon M. Pike

Portrait of Zebulon Pike. C. 1810. Pike led the first United States expedition through the Upper Midwest in 1805, and met Tatankamani during his travels in the area.

Color lithograph of Red Wing's village in 1855.

Red Wing's Village

Henry Lewis's 1855 lithograph shows Red Wing's village forty years after Tatankamani (Red Wing) brought his followers there.

Tatankamani (Walking Buffalo) "Red Wing" (c.1755–1829)

Tatankamani (Walking Buffalo) was a leader of the Mdewakanton Dakota in the upper Mississippi Valley. White settlers who met him as they advanced into the region in the early nineteenth century came to know him and his village as Red Wing.

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