The Lower Sioux Agency was one of two U.S. government Indian agencies established in 1853 to be the administrative centers of the newly created Dakota reservations resulting from the treaties of Traverse des Sioux and Mendota. The main function of the Agency was to provide government oversight of the Dakota and to implement federal Indian policy of the period. The Agency had a school, blacksmith shop, stables, carpenter shop, church, boarding house and homes for agency employees.
On Aug. 18, 1862, in the first days of the U.S.-Dakota War, the Agency was attacked and approximately 20 people were killed, either outright or when trying to escape. Several dozen others fled to Fort Ridgely, which was itself attacked two days later.
At the historic site's history center, visitors can explore Dakota life before, during and after the war. Self-guided trails on the grounds interpret Agency activities, and take visitors to the restored 1861 stone warehouse and the Redwood Ferry crossing, the point where a road between the Agency and Fort Ridgely once crossed the Minnesota River and the Battle of Redwood Ferry was fought. They'll also see the difference between traditional Dakota farming practices and those taught by Agency employees in the site’s period gardens and farm plots, learn about the Agency’s purpose and daily operation, and explore the underlying causes of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.
The site is located near Morton on Minn. State Hwy. 19, nine miles east of Redwood Falls. It is managed by the Lower Sioux Indian Community.
For more information about the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, visit www.usdakotawar.org.