Native Americans

Minnesota is centered within Dakota creation stories and is an important place in traditional Ojibwe history. Along with the Dakota and Ojibwe, the Ho-Chunk, Cheyenne, Oto, Iowa, and the Sac & Fox tribes also acknowledge Minnesota as important to their tribal histories.

Supporting Native American ties to Minnesota, archaeologists have documented human activity to at least 9,000–12,000 years ago. Historically, the Minnesota region was strategically important to Native American peoples for thousands of years as they used the waterways for transportation, food, and to develop an extensive trade relationship with other native peoples—trade items from this and other regions have been found along the entire Mississippi River. By the 1600s there were two main groups of people living in present-day Minnesota, the Dakota and the Ojibwe.

Both the Dakota and Ojibwe peoples pass on their history through oral traditions—stories and remembrances told from generation to generation. Oral traditions are often supported by archaeological and written records from the past which help us further understand how the Dakota and Ojibwe have lived in this region.