On this day in history, May 8, 1906, Congress passed the Burke Act, which became another vehicle for white settlers to get Indian-owned lands. Continue reading
This Day in History
This Day in History, May 4, 1863: The Dakota Exile
On this day in history, May 4, 1863, the U.S. government began deporting more than 1,100 Dakota people from their homelands, implementing federal legislation that exiled Dakota people from Minnesota following the Dakota-U.S. War. On May 4 and 5, steamships took more than 1,100 Dakota women, children, and elders from St. Paul to the newly created Crow Creek Reservation in the Dakota Territory. Continue reading
This Day in History: Supreme Court rules desecrating sacred site doesn’t violate First Amendment
On this day in history April 19, 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Association that brought into focus the clash between the Western view of land as a resource to be mined, plowed or harvested and the Indigenous view of the earth as Mother and sacred. Today’s example comes from the U.S. Supreme Court case, decided this Continue reading
This day in history, Sept. 30, 1854: Ojibwe people in the Arrowhead region forced into treaty to open land to mining interests
Correction: An earlier version of this post misidentified Henry Sibley as one of the treaty negotiators. It also failed to correctly distinguish between the Treaty of 1854 and the Treaty of 1855. Those errors have been corrected.
History offers several examples of white settlers’ greed for gold and how it led to violence, disease, land theft, and genocide of Indigenous peoples, the California and Black Hills gold rushes being prime examples.
Less well know is that it happened in Minnesota, too. It started in 1848, when surveyors found a copper vein in the Arrowhead region of the Minnesota Territory, on Lake Superior’s north shore, the Why Treaties Matter website said. In the 1860s, the Minnesota State Geologist identified gold just west of the Arrowhead region.
Mining interests wanted in. They pressured the federal government to force treaties with the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) people to get access to their land and minerals.
What the Anishinaabe saw as sacred, the colonists saw as profit.Continue reading
This day in history, March 24, 1999: U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of Mille Lacs Band’s treaty rights to hunt, fish, and gather
On this day in history, March 24, 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa had treaty-protected rights to hunt, fish, and gather on the lands the Band ceded to the U.S. government by an 1837 treaty. It’s known as the Treaty of St. Peters (present day Mendota), the first treaty in which the Anishinaabe people ceded significant lands in what would become the state of Minnesota.
This treaty — and the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision — have particular relevance today. The Red Lake and White Earth nations have opposed the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota based on treaty rights to hunt, fish and gather along Line 3’s proposed route. They cite the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court case as precedent.
This Day in History, March 19, 1867: U.S. treaty with Chippewa Indians gives white business leaders access to valuable timber lands
I’ve wondered how many “This Day in History” entries could be written just about broken treaties. Wikipedia says: “From 1778 to 1871, the United States government entered into more than 500 treaties with the Native American tribes; all of these treaties have since been violated in some way or outright broken by the US government.” I guess that means you could fill an entire calendar and have plenty left over.
Today’s entry concerns a treaty between the Chippewa of the Mississippi and the U.S. government on March 19, 1867 that effectively stole valuable timber lands from Chippewa people in northern Minnesota. This was the last treaty the U.S. government negotiated with Native nations in Minnesota.
It’s part of state history that most of us who live here never learned. We need to. It’s an important correction to our history books. The wealth of early business leaders had its roots not in sweat and toil, but in deceit and outright theft of Indigenous lands and resources.
This Day in History, Feb. 27, 1803: President Jefferson’s private plan to swindle Indigenous lands
On this day in history, Feb. 27, 1803, President Thomas Jefferson wrote a private letter William Henry Harrison outlining his plans to gain control of massive amounts of Indigenous lands.
At the time, Harrison was serving as the first Governor of the Indiana Territory, the frontier of his day. The Territory included an expansive area that would later become the states of Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin, and parts of Michigan and Minnesota. Harrison was dealing with many Indigenous nations. Jefferson wrote him privately that “I may with safety give you a more extensive view of our policy respecting the Indians.”
This Day in History (Feb. 8, 1887): Dawes Act Forces Assimilation, Leads to Massive Indian Land Theft
On this day in history, Congress passed the Dawes Act which both forced indigenous peoples to assimilate into a system of private property ownership and effectively stole millions of acres of what should have been treaty-protected lands.
The Dawes Act allowed the government to divide up communally held reservation lands into individual parcels, up to 160 acres for a head of household, according to Wikipedia.
The law’s deceit was that there was plenty of acreage left over after individual allotments were made. The law allowed the government sell off this so-called “surplus” land.
The poster to the right says it all. Continue reading
What’s behind the mascot? Next up, San Francisco 49ers and the genocide of indigenous peoples
Healing Minnesota Stories got a recent spike in views on an old post: The Kansas City Chiefs name represents a form of cultural appropriation, but the backstory is more bizarre than you think. It’s not surprising given that Kansas City made the NFL playoffs and now the Super Bowl.
So let’s next deconstruct the mascot of the San Francisco 49er’s, Kansas City’s Super Bowl rival. Scratch the surface of history, and it’s an ugly story.
Today, Sept. 30, is Orange Shirt Day, remembering Indigenous children who suffered in residential schools
If you happen to have an orange shirt in your closet, consider wearing it today (Monday, Sept. 30). Orange Shirt Day is a relatively new effort to raise awareness and remember the indigenous children who suffered in Canada’s residential school system, a system that stripped them of their languages, cultures, spiritual traditions and their very identities.
The practice is not as wide spread in the United States, which has a similar ugly history with American Indian boarding schools. Some people in the United States have followed Canada’s lead.