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18 August 2008

On this day in history: Battle of Lower Sioux Agency, 1862

In 1851, the United States government signed a pair of treaties with the Dakota Sioux who ceded much of their land in the Minnesota Territory in return for goods and money. The Dakota neither received the full compensation nor all of the annuity payments: that which wasn't stolen by corrupt officials of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, was often paid straight to those traders with whom the Dakota had run up debts. Incursions onto their reservation and destruction of the ecosystem they relied on to survive left the Dakota impoverished and angry - anger that spilled over when the Federal government, distracted by the Civil War, was very late making the 1862 payment.

When the funds finally arrived in Minnesota, it was already too late. On 18th August, 1862, Little Crow, chief of the Mdewakanton Dakota Sioux, led a large party of braves in an attack on the Lower Sioux Agency, a settlement populated by Andrew Myrick ,the Indian agent, and various other government officials. The braves killed ten people including Myrick, into whose mouth they stuffed grass as revenge for his response to their earlier request for assistance: 'Let them eat grass.'

The day before the attack, four Dakota braves killed five european settlers and stole food from them. The likelihood of violent reprisal against the Dakota persuaded Little Crow of the necessity of waging war on the settlers to drive them from the Minnesota River valley. The Dakota made further attacks until they suffered an overwhelming defeat at the Battle of Wood Lake in September, 1862.

Following their surrender, many of the Sioux faced a military tribunal without explanation of what was happening. With some trials lasting less than five minutes, 303 Sioux received a death sentence, although President Lincoln later commuted the majority of these. The US government forced the remaining Dakota Sioux from the Minnesota Valley to reservations in South Dakota.

The University of Missouri-Kansas School of Law site hosts a set of pages on the Dakota Conflict Trials 1862, which includes transcripts and analysis.


only for biz said...

hey.......these are some really interesting stories.........the stories which made people legends.....

so do you only write about some particular countries ....or open to all?/

would like to link with you......

tell me back....if you'd like too..

The Way It Is

Stepterix said...

Thank you for the kind words. I to write about a wide variety of countries and topics. In previous posts I have written about Australia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Venezuela, etc.

I am happy to swap links with you, and have added a link to your site on this page.


Renee said...

Facing a death sentence for defending their land. The legacy of what was done to Native Americans lives on today. Neither the Canadian or the American government has done enough if you ask me to address this historic wrong.

Adam Fuller said...

To the creator of this blog. I am doing a history project on the Mankato Uprising for a class. Would it be possible to use the picture MankatoMN38.jpg for our project? the Execution of the 38 Sioux Indians. Please contact me at
Let me know if you will allow us to use this photo and the rights you want us to use. Thank you.