This Day in History: An Effort to Quell Dakota-Ojibwe Fighting

On this date in history, August 2, 1847, the Chippewa (Ojibwe) of the Mississippi and Lake Superior ceded land to the United States in an effort to create a buffer zone between them and the Dakota people with whom they were having increasing conflicts. The agreement was signed in Fond du Lac. The Pillager Band of Ojibwe would sign a similar agreement at Leech Lake later that month. In the big picture, the friction between the Dakota and Ojibwe was the result of increasing pressure on land and decreasing game in the area.

This particular land deal was a complicated one, and it didn’t work. The website Treaties Matter explains:

In 1847, Ojibwe-Dakota relations were more significant to American Indians in present-day Minnesota than were U.S.-Indian relations. In this treaty and a companion signed August 21, the Ojibwe ceded land to create a buffer zone that would separate them from the Dakota. The ceded tract, used jointly by the two tribes for hunting increasingly scarce game, was a place of frequent conflict. In a four-way deal, the U.S. purchased the land from the Ojibwe and ceded it to Ho-Chunk and Menominee people. This idea had been tried before in 1830 when the Ho-Chunk had acquired a buffer zone between the Dakota and Sac and Fox. It was a miserable failure. Based in part on this experience, the Menominee and Ho-Chunk peoples never moved to the land ceded in 1847, and eventually it was ceded by them back to the U.S.

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