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Near Granite Falls in Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Upper Sioux Agency

 
 
Upper Sioux Agency Marker image. Click for full size.
By Connor Olson, July 21, 2020
1. Upper Sioux Agency Marker
Inscription.  American Indian agencies existed to implement U.S. Government Indian policies. By the mid-1800s, agencies such as this one dotted the land west of the Mississippi river. The U.S. government intended to assimilate native people into English speaking, textbook-educated, American society.

The Dakota people call this area Pezihutazizi (Where They Dig for Yellow Medicine). Dakota women grew and gathered foods while men hunted game across a large area. But the treaties of 1851 and 1858 reduced Dakota landholdings from millions of acres to small reservations along the southern bank of the Minnesota River. The Sisseton and Wahpeton Dakota bands held the reservation land from Lake Traverse to the Yellow Medicine River.

The Upper (or Yellow Medicine Agency) was established here in 1854 with buildings that reflected the government’s goals for assimilation. The Agency boasted comfortable homes for government employees as well as a school, brick warehouse, stables, and a jail. Trader stores and Christian missions were nearby. The total area contained at least 100 houses for Dakota farmers, hinting at the success of the government’s endeavors.

Reconstructed Employee Duplex #1 Agency building. image. Click for full size.
By Connor Olson, July 21, 2020
2. Reconstructed Employee Duplex #1 Agency building.

Anger at the unfairness of the treaties festered, however, and spilled over when annuities were delayed and food was short. In early August 1862, nearly 4,000 Dakota gathered at the agency, demanding payment and food. Noting their desperation, the Indian agent distributed some food and the demands temporarily subsided. The silence was short-lived. Most of the agency buildings were looted and burned during the six-week U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.
 
Erected by Minnesota Historical Society.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Native AmericansSettlements & SettlersWars, US Indian.
 
Location. 44° 44.078′ N, 95° 27.094′ W. Marker is near Granite Falls, Minnesota, in Yellow Medicine County. Marker can be reached from Minnesota Route 67, on the right when traveling north. Located at the Upper Sioux Agency State Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5908 MN-67, Granite Falls MN 56241, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Employee Duplexes No. 1 (a few steps from this marker); The Annuity Center/Warehouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Upper (Or Yellow Medicine) Sioux Agency (within shouting distance of this marker); The Manual Labor School (about 400 feet away, measured

Adjacent marker with an artist’s rendering of the Agency. image. Click for full size.
By Connor Olson, July 21, 2020
3. Adjacent marker with an artist’s rendering of the Agency.
in a direct line); Employee Duplex No. 2 (about 400 feet away); Agency Homes (approx. 0.2 miles away); Yellow Medicine City (approx. ¼ mile away); Mazomani (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Granite Falls.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 31, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 30, 2020, by Connor Olson of Lemmon, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 41 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 30, 2020, by Connor Olson of Lemmon, South Dakota. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.
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Mar. 6, 2021