From 1863 the Santee history ran a varied and uncertain course as the government tried to settle them in several different places. The proposals which came in from all quarters seemed to be dedicated to getting rid of the Santee. Finally">
From 1863 the Santee history ran a varied and uncertain course as the government tried to settle them in several different places. The proposals which came in from all quarters seemed to be dedicated to getting rid of the Santee. Finally, the Secretary of the Interior picked a site on the Missouri River 100 miles from Fort Randall, about eight (8) miles above Crow Creek. The choice was a disastrous error. In 1864, 1300 Santee were placed at Crow Creek and in three months starvation and disease reduced the number to 1000. The very memory of Crow Creek became horrendous to the Santee.
Although the Crow Creek episode lasted but three years it was an important period in the history of the Santee Sioux. The Crow Creek period was over when it was decided the Santee should be moved to the mouth of the Niobrara River in Northeastern Nebraska Territory. The people from Crow Creek reach Niobrara on June 11, 1866. The first site of the settlement agency was about a mile east of the present town of Niobrara.
On February 27, 1866, President Johnson's executive order was issued withdrawing from preemption and sale. Four townships that are in what is now known as Knox County. The chief advantage of the site was that it had plenty of timber and at least 2000 acres of tillable land. Being low on the Missouri River, it would be easy to send supplies to it. It was decided by the government that the site would allow the Santee Sioux to become self-supporting.
In the summer of 1869 the establishments of the Santee Reservation became a reality. After several changes, inclusions and withdrawals the Santee Reservation became a compact, rectangular, tract of land twelve miles from East to West and averaging about fifteen miles from North to South, encompassing 115,075.92 acres. The biggest event for the Santee of the 19th Century was the allotment of lands and the opening of the reservation to white settlement.
The 1868 Treat of Fort Laramie provided for allotment of land to those desiring to farm. The present boundaries were defined in the Treaty. Over the next decade and a half allotments were made and patents were issued years later. A deadline was set by presidential order that all lands not allotted by April 15, 1885 would on May 15, 1885 revert to public domain.
By April 15, 1885, about 72,000 acres had been divided into 853 allotments. 1,300 acres were reserved for agency, school and missionary use and about 42,000 acres were open to white settlement. Allotments were gradually leased or sold to non-Indian farmers until the amount of land controlled by the Santee was reduced to the present acreage of about 2,200 acres of allotted land and about 3,200 acres of Tribal Land.
From 1885 through 1934 the history of the Santee Sioux can be understood only against the general trend of Indian Affairs during the period. The Agency of the Santee Reservation closed in 1917 and there was a gradual withdrawal of Government Services. The attempt to make farmers out of the Santee was a failure and the practice of leasing dissipated the holdings of Indian Lands.
The Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) of 1934 brought a change in Indian Policy. This Act stopped the allotments and required the Secretary of Interior to attempt to regain land lost during the allotment act, IRA also proclaimed Congress to be supportive of Indian Self-Governance and the creation of Tribal Constitutions.
Indian Tribes (historically and at present) are subject to an Act of Congress, however, since the passage of the Indian Education and Self-Determination Act of 1972, the Tribes have been given some measure of control over their internal affairs.
The Isanti or Santee Sioux belong to the "D" speaking dialect of the Great Sioux Nation. This is a distinction that is rarely considered except for those speaking the language as an important component of Indian Culture.
The recorded history of the Santee Sioux begin with the White Americans encounter with the Tribe around 1600. Most of the history prior to the encounter is based upon legend.
When the whitemen penetrated the homeland of the Sioux, the Santee were living along the Mississippi River, the the are now known as the State of Minnesota. Placing Tribes in their present locations was by an act of Congress, which divided the Great Sioux Nation into (9) smaller reservations. Due to the westward expansion and policies of the Federal Government to acquire Indian Land, unilateral treaties were made with Indian Tribes to gain possessions of their land.
Starting in the early 1800's and continuing through most of that century saw the movement of white Americans into territory occupied by the Sioux. With this movement of white settlers, came the White man's desire to cause the Santee Sioux to adopt his culture and ways. Considerable effort was made to turn him into a Christian and a farmer. The efforts met with few successes. What was happening during these years of "Civilizing the Sioux" were smaller events that would end in catastrophe for the Santee. A period that would be described as "Reservation Life for the Santee People in Minnesota" began when the Sioux ceded all the land East of the Mississippi by Treaty in 1837.
This Treaty left the Santee without a home. In 1854 an Act passed by Congress , allowed the President to confirm an area along the Mississippi River in what is now South Dakota, Western Minnesota , Iowa and North Dakota. This area was supposedly reserved for the Sisseton, Wahpeton, Mdewakanton, and Wahpekute bands. Friction began to grow between the Santee, the United States Government and the White Settlers.
In 1862, it reached and explosive stage and as a result the Four (4) bands of the Sioux mentioned above, took part in an uprising in Western Minnesota, for these actions, an act was passed on February 16, 1863, which abrogated and annulled all Treaties made with the Sioux. All lands and occupancy within the State of Minnesota were forfeited to the United States. With this Act, the removal of the Sioux Indians from the State of Minnesota was begun.
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