Near St. Peter in Nicollet County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Welcome to Traverse des Sioux
Early French and English explorers named this waterway the St. Pierre (St. Peter) River. In 1852 the territorial legislature petitioned the U.S. government to change the river's name to Minnesota — a Dakota word meaning cloudy water.
Near this site at one time was a shallow, hard-bottomed river crossing. The Dakota Indians called it Oiyuwege, meaning "the place of crossing." French explorers renamed it Traverse des Sioux, or "crossing place of the Sioux." The exact location of the crossing is now not known.
The Dakota Indians, known to outsiders as the Sioux, have lived in this place for centuries.
First, native people gathered here to hunt game and exchange goods and information. By 1700 they were joined by Europeans who came to this area to trade guns, cloth, and other products the Dakota wanted for furs. Over the next 150 years, traders and Indians did business with each other at Traverse des Sioux, swapping news, ideas, and customs as well as trade items.
By 1851 settlers in the newly established Minnesota Territory were pressing hard to open Indian lands for settlement. In a treaty signed here that year, the Sisseton and Wahpeton bands of the Dakota sold most of southwestern Minnesota — some 21 million acres — to the government for about 7.5 cents per acre. The sale triggered a land rush. By 1853 this historic meeting place had become the town of Traverse des Sioux. But, like hundreds of other towns in the Territory, it soon failed. The site was farmed until 1969, when it was turned into a state park. In 1973, in recognition of its unique significance, Traverse des Sioux was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a state historic site.
Traverse des Sioux
Erected by the Minnesota Historical Society. Funding provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Exploration • Native Americans • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Minnesota Historical Society series list. A significant historical date for this entry is July 23, 1851.
Location. 44° 20.969′ N, 93° 57.032′ W. Marker is near St. Peter, Minnesota, in Nicollet County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of North Minnesota Avenue (U.S. 169) and Dodd Avenue (State Highway 22), on the right when traveling north. Marker is at a kiosk along an interpretive trail that is adjacent to the Nicollet County Historical Society Treaty Site History Center. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1851 North Minnesota Avenue, Saint Peter MN 56082, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Minority in Their Homeland (within shouting distance of this marker); Traverse des Sioux (within shouting distance of this marker); "Only a Memory Now" (within shouting distance of this marker); Land-Seas Archaeology (about 400 feet away); Ministering to the Dakota (about 600 feet away); Ecakensdonyapi (about 600 feet away); The Rush for Land (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Peter.
More about this marker. painting captions:
• Seth Eastman, Buffalo Hunt, 1846-48
• Seth Eastman, The St. Peter's River near Its Confluence with the Mississippi, 1848
• Alfred Sully, View of Traverse des Sioux, 1856. Courtesy Beinecke Library, Yale University
• Francis Davis Millet, The Signing of the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux, 1905
Also see . . .
1. Treaty of Traverse des Sioux. Wikipedia entry. (Submitted on December 1, 2014.)
2. Traverse des Sioux. Wikipedia entry. (Submitted on December 1, 2014.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 6, 2021. It was originally submitted on December 1, 2014, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 351 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on December 1, 2014, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.