Minnesota Gold Rush That Never Panned Out Forced Ojibwe Off Their Lands

Gold RushThroughout U.S. history, there are examples where white settlers’ greed for gold completely trampled Native American land rights.

Yes, surprisingly, it even happened here in Minnesota in 1866.

Right in the middle of it all was none other than Henry Sibley, Minnesota’s first governor (1858-1860). Sibley was no stranger to profiting at the expense of Native Americans. Back in 1851, he used his position as a key negotiator in the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux to cheat the Dakota people out of money. In that instance, he was able to secure for himself thousands of dollars of treaty money to get out from under his fur company debts. (For the details, check out This American Life.)

This time around, Sibley’s get-rich-quick scheme was gold mining on Ojibwe lands. Continue reading