“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Churchill in Chippewa County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

The Dakota

The Dakota Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Connor Olson, June 29, 2021
1. The Dakota Marker
Inscription.   The Dakota Dakota "These are territories that we hold from no one but the Master of Life who gave them to us."
- Dakota chief to French Diplomat Joseph Marin, 1754

people were created in Mni Sota Makoçe. Minnesota has always been their home. This place shaped Dakota ways of thinking and being, their language, history and culture for countless generations before Europeans first arrived here around 1680.

The seven divisions of the Oyate, or Dakota people, are historically allied as the Oçeti Sakowiŋ, or Seven Council Fires. All the Oyate are related, but each has a unique history and culture. They speak three dialects of the same language. The four Santee, or Eastern bands featured in this exhibit speak Dakota: the Bdewankantuŋway (Mdewankanton), Wahpekute, Wahpetuŋway (Wahpeton) and Sisituŋway (Sisseton). Their Western Dakota cousins, the Ihnanktuŋwan (Yankton) and Ihnanktuŋwanna (Yanktonai) speak Nakota. The westernmost council fire, the Titunway (Titon) speak Lakota. Today, tribal government centers for these Nations are located in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Montana,

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Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Dakota at Lac qui parle
We know this place by its French name, Lac qui Parle, “the lake that speaks” because a French explorer, Joseph Nicolet, was the first person to try to write down its Dakota name. Today Nicollet's place name is spelled “Bde Iyedan.” Waŋbdiokiya, a Dakota man who lived here, told Stephen Riggs that Nicollet misunderstood “Bde Iyahde," a Dakota reference to the Minnesota River connecting to the lake. When missionaries arrived at Lac qui Parle in 1835, they settled among the western bands of the Wahpetuŋway, a nation 1,500 strong, with summer villages stretching downriver to present-day Belle Plaine. In 1838, when Wanbdiokiya made the earliest written Dakota census of this place, he recorded the names of 105 heads of families living in seven villages on both sides of the lake. After the Treaties of 1851, Lac qui Parle was located within the Upper Sioux Reservation. In the reservation era, some Dakota maintained villages here, while others continued to come and go. Dakota people did not leave this place until they were exiled from Minnesota in 1863. In 1938 the Upper Sioux Indian Community was established about 30 miles away, re-affirming Dakota sovereignty in the area.

"From the beginning when the Dakotas grew, the present Chippewa country belonged to the Dakotas, they say. My

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fathers told it thus. What is called Knife Lake was the Mdewankantons planting ground, they say; and Wazina Ha Wakpa [Pine Bark River) used to be the planting ground to the Wahpetons, they say....but for some unknown reason they came here and remained, because there was much buffalo on the open prairie, and the Chippewas came and took up their home there, it is said. Because all the wise men are now dead nobody mentions these things, and so it is."
- Waŋbdiokiya, Lac qui Parle, letter to Thomas Williamson April 1837
Erected by Minnesota Historical Society.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ExplorationNative AmericansSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1680.
Location. 45° 1.427′ N, 95° 52.112′ W. Marker is near Churchill, Minnesota, in Chippewa County. Marker can be reached from 140th Avenue Northwest (County Road 32) near 1st Street West (County Road 13). Located in Lac qui Parle Mission State Historic Site. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Watson MN 56295, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Huggins Cabin (here, next to this marker); Dakotas at Lac qui Parle (within shouting distance of this marker); Missionaries at Lac qui Parle (within shouting distance of this marker); Acculturation & Autonomy (within shouting distance of this marker); The ABCFM (within shouting distance of this marker); Williamson Cabin (within shouting distance of this marker); Lac qui Parle Mission (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Riggs & Pettijohn Cabins (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Churchill.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 5, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 4, 2021, by Connor Olson of Kewaskum, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 148 times since then and 16 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on July 4, 2021, by Connor Olson of Kewaskum, Wisconsin. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A wide shot of the marker and its surroundings. • Can you help?

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Apr. 17, 2024