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Map of the Sioux Reserve, 1859

Map of the Sioux Reserve

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The Minnesota Historical Society recently acquired a rare and remarkable map of the Sioux Reserve from 1859.

The map was discovered, folded neatly, in one of the state’s original land survey notebooks held by the Society. The land allotted for the Sioux Reserve was surveyed and re-surveyed several times between 1858 and 1860, as treaties trimmed and re-shaped Dakota lands.

The map includes area from approximately present day New Ulm to Granite Falls; it portrays flat prairie, rolling prairie, rivers, creeks, wagon trails and two Indian Agencies. A note on the map reads, “We do hereby notify that the above is a true and correct platte for the true and original notes. Signed C.H. Snow and Henry Sutton. Approved February 24, 1859, W.C. Cullen, Supt. Indian Affairs.”

Townships 109-120 and Ranges 31-45 were surveyed and mapped by Hutton and Snow in likely response to the June 19, 1858 treaty, which limited the Sioux Reservation to land south of the Minnesota River. The treaty declares that land belonging to Dakota Bands “… which lies south or south west wardly [sic] of the Minnesota River, shall constitute a reservation for said bands, and shall be surveyed, and eighty acres thereof, as near as may be in conformity with the public surveys, be allotted…” These Dakota bands were Mendawakanton and Wahpakoota, Sisseton and Wahpeton, but no mention of Indian villages or Indian occupation is noted on the map.

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