Minnesota Attractions

Minnesota Indian Reservations

All about Minnesota's Indian Reservations

Minnesota Indians The name "Minnesota" is a derivative of a Siouan Indian word that means "cloudy water". The area that is currently known as Minnesota was originally inhabited by the Dakota Sioux tribe and the Ojibwa tribe that are also known as the Chippewa. Currently there are eleven federally acknowledged Indian tribes in Minnesota.

The White Earth Band of the Chippewa Indians is located in the northwestern part of the state. The area covers about 1300 square miles. Today only about 10 percent of the reservation land is owned by the Indians. The tribe is currently in court contesting the ownership of all the land which is currently owned by the government within the reservation boundaries. The Indians lost most of their land due to allotment and tax forfeiture losses in the 20th century. Established by a treaty of March 19th, 1867 with the Mississippi Band Chippewa, the reservation was meant to be a kind of confinement camp where all the woodland Indians would be sent.

The Leech Lake Band is another that is occupied by the Chippewa tribe. It was established by the treaties of February 22nd, 1873, and by the Executive Orders of October 28th, 1873 and May 26th, 1874. Due to allotment, tax forfeitures and seizures for the federal, state and county local governments’ forest and park lands the ownership of the land has majorly shifted from the Indians to others. A large percentage of the reservation land is currently the Chippewa National forest. The starting point of the Mississippi River lies within the reservation boundary. The reservation has to two casinos; the Leech Lake Bingo and Palace Casino that is situated at Cass Lake in the northwestern corner and the Northern Lights Gaming Emporium located south of Walker.

There is a group of Indians that has successfully opposed every attempt made by the government to take away part of their land. They applied every possible tactic including chasing the surveyors and social workers away. This is the group that occupies the Red Lake Band. They govern themselves and are not members of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Federation. They do not possess a strong economy but they are managing well other than the set backs brought by their isolation from the federation. They operate a fish marketing co-operative that deals with storage, packaging and shipping of fish and fish products. Due to pollution of the waters by acid rains, the business has dwindled which has cause many stresses on the families within the boundaries of the reservation.

There is also the Nett Lake Band which lies in the Bois Fort that has three pieces of land. The band’s name is French given by French voyageurs and it means strongmen of the woods. Plus the Shakopee Band of Ojibwa who reside in Shakopee, Minnesota which is just thirty miles south of Minneapolis. Here you will find one of the state’s most popular casinos which are completely owned the Indians here. However there has been many disputes on which family members actually get much of the royalties from the casino. These casinos are Mystic Lake and Little Six. Little Six was the original Mystic Lake and is actually in the form of a Tipi. Many of the homes on the reservation are very large to host many family members, and are consistently passed down through generations.

These are some of the Reservations, among others, in Minnesota. Keep in mind that wherever there is a casino in Minnesota there’s a Reservation. The casinos are all Indian owned and are a main income source. Other casinos in the state are the Grand Casino Hinckley and Mile Lacs, Black Bear Casino, and the Treasure Island Casino in Hastings. You can go through the archives and the library resources to get more on the reservations but the best information are the first hand information that has not been tempered with. So get moving to the state of Minnesota and interact with the Indians on the reserves to learn moreand appreciate their culture and lifestyle.

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