Indian Affairs - State of Minnesota



Bois Forte
Fond du Lac
Grand Portage
Leech Lake
Lower Sioux
Mille Lacs
Prairie Island
Red Lake
Shakopee
Upper Sioux
White Earth

Overview of Indian Tribes in Minnesota

In Minnesota, there are seven Anishinaabe (Chippewa, Ojibwe) reservations and four Dakota (Sioux) communities. A reservation or community is a segment of land that belongs to one or more groups of American Indians. It is land that was retained by American Indian tribes after ceding large portions of the original homelands to the United States through treaty agreements. It is not land that was given to American Indians by the federal government. There are hundreds of state and federally recognized American Indian reservations located in 35 states. These reservations have boundary lines much like a county or state has boundary lines. The American Indian reservations were created through treaties, and after 1871, some were created by Executive Order of the President of the United States or by other agreements.

Anishinaabe Reservations

The seven Anishinaabe reservations include: Grand Portage located in the northeast corner of the state; Bois Forte located in extreme northern Minnesota; Red Lake located in extreme northern Minnesota west of Bois Forte; White Earth located in northwestern Minnesota; Leech Lake located in the north central portion of the state; Fond du Lac located in northeast Minnesota west of the city of Duluth; and Mille Lacs located in the central part of the state, south and east of Brainerd.

All seven Anishinaabe reservations in Minnesota were originally established by treaty and are considered separate and distinct nations by the United States government. In some cases, the tribe retained additional lands through an Executive Order of the President. Six of the seven reservations were allotted at the time of the passage of the General Allotment Act. The Red Lake Reservation is the only closed reservation in Minnesota, which means that the reservation was never allotted and the land continues to be held in common by all tribal members. Each Indian tribe began its relationship with the U.S. government as a sovereign power recognized as such in treaty and legislation. The Treaty of 1863 officially recognized Red Lake as separate and distinct with the signing of the Old Crossing Treaty of 1863. In this treaty, the Red Lake Nation ceded more than 11 million acres of the richest agricultural land in Minnesota in exchange for monetary compensation and a stipulation that the "President of the United States direct a certain sum of money to be applied to agricultural education and to such other beneficial purposes calculated to promote the prosperity and happiness of the Red Lake Indian." The agreements of 1889 and the Agreement of 1904, Red Lake ceded another 2,256,152 acres and the Band was guaranteed that all benefits under existing treaties would not change.

Dakota Communities

The four Dakota Communities include: Shakopee Mdewakanton located south of the Twin Cities near Prior Lake; Prairie Island located near Red Wing; Lower Sioux located near Redwood Falls; and Upper Sioux whose lands are near the city of Granite Falls. The original Dakota Community was established by treaty in 1851. The treaty set aside a 10-mile wide strip of land on both sides of the Minnesota River as the permanent home of the Dakota. However, in the aftermath of the U.S.-Dakota Conflict of 1862, Congress abrogated all treaties made with them and the Dakota were forced from their homes in the state. The four communities were reestablished in their current localities by acts of Congress in 1886. The four Dakota Communities today represent small segments of the original reservation that were restored to the Dakota by Acts of Congress or Proclamations of the Secretary of Interior.