After all Dakota land was taken and the Dakota were abolished from the state of Minnesota, every treaty signed with the Santee was nullified.
1825 – A treaty is signed in Michigan Territory with the Sioux, Chippewa, and others, allegedly, to introduce map boundaries to native tribes and to establish the idea of land ownership to lessen inter-tribal wars.
It was the first step in the process of identifying land parcels for ownership by native people. It
set the stage for the U.S. Government to set future reservation boundaries, and to identify future parcels to be ceded (sold for money and promised goods).
The same strategy was used time and again as white settlement moved further into Indian land. In 1851, the tactic had spread westward into Dakota Territory with the signing of the Horse Creek Treaty/Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851, when lines on a map divided land in similar fashion. That same year, map marking in Minnesota Territory had advanced to the point of ceding nearly all Dakota controlled land to the U.S. Government and establishing a strip of land 10-miles wide, 130-miles long on each side of the Minnesota River for the Dakota to control. To read more, access The Thirty-Ninth Man, click here.
There were others who spoke, and then signatures were affixed to the document. In many cases, the Indians were able to sign their own names, a result of the schooling given by the missionaries. After signing the treaty documents, they moved to a makeshift table made from an upright barrel where they signed a second document presented by Joseph R. Brown and Martin McLeod, which authorized payment of claims by traders from the Indians’ annuities. Those placing their mark on the paper had no idea what they were signing.
It seemed there was no end to the treachery of the traders or of the agents of the U.S. Government present at the proceedings.
Thirteen days later, on August 5, 1851, at Mendota, near Fort Snelling, the Mdewakanton and Wahpekute bands added their signatures to the treaty documents. Chief Wabasha, as head of the Santee delegation, was dressed in his ceremonial attire, looking splendid and larger than life. To his right sat his number two chief, Little Crow, and the chiefs and headmen of all the bands. Shakpe/ Shakopee, son of the Shakopee who was killed running the gauntlet, was there as well. All signed the treaty; all did so with remorse.
The treaty ceded all land in the Minnesota Territory with the exception of the newly established stretches along both sides of the Minnesota River running a distance of 130 miles, each strip averaging ten miles in width.
In addition to annuity payments, provision was also stipulated that specified amounts of money to be provided for the erection of mills and blacksmith shops, opening farms, fencing and breaking land, and other “beneficial objects as may be deemed most conducive to the prosperity and happiness of said Indians . . .”
With these treaties, Dakota people sold most of their land to the U.S. in exchange for $3.75 million, at an estimated price of twelve cents per acre. When the treaties were signed, the traders claimed to be owed almost half a million dollars for goods given to the Indians on account.
As recognized by Lawrence Taliaferro with the signing of the Treaty of St. Peter in 1827, it was now clear to anyone wishing to look with open eyes: the fur trade had transformed itself into land speculation and outright thievery through entries for fictitious credit given by the traders.
What easier way to make money than to steal funds the Indians would receive for their lands after signing the treaties? Land speculators, including Henry Sibley as agent for Pierre Chouteau, began buying land adjacent to the reservation established by the treaty.
To learn more about this period, see The Thirty-Ninth Man – click here.
Before the end of the year, seven thousand Dakota Sioux were moved from their native land to the Minnesota River strips, opening huge parcels to settlement at the purchase price of one dollar twenty-five cents per acre.
The 1851 Treaty of Traverse des Sioux was the catalyst that set in motion the Indian wars that would wrack the Dakota Nation and culminate with the massacre at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Tears Of Sorrow – click here.
September 17, 1851
At seventy-seven, I’m at the beginning of a new chapter in a life filled with blessings from above, adventure, love of family, and kinships reaching into the heavens and to God himself. —AND— I love to tell a story.