Q&A: What was the 1858 Treaty with the Sioux?

1858 Land Cessions, TreatiesMatter.org

In their report following the Treaties of Traverse des Sioux and Mendota in 1851, Commissioner Luke Lea and Governor Alexander Ramsey commented on the Dakota reservation writing, “This region is sufficiently remote to guarantee the Indians against any pressure on the part of the white population for many years to come.”  This was hardly true, because in 1858 the Dakota were pressured into ceding their lands on the north side of the Minnesota River thereby relinquishing half of their reservation lands.

One month after Minnesota became a state, a delegation of Dakota chiefs and headmen were sent to Washington to negotiate the sale of their lands north of the Minnesota River.  Out of necessity, the Dakota agreed to sell their land based on the acknowledgement that white settlers had encroached on their land and had planned to stay.  Payment was not made until 1860, and most of the funds went to pay debts claimed by traders.  For the Dakota, the land cession represented another step in the loss of their land and the suppression of their way of life.  As a part of the treaty, Dakota families were prescribed 80 acre allotments and were expected to take up farming.

1858 Dakota Delegation to Washington, MNHS Collections

Speaking about the Treaty, Chief Big Eagle who had been a member of the delegation to Washington said, “The selling of that strip north of the Minnesota caused great dissatisfaction among the Sioux . . . It caused us all to move to the south side of the river, where there was but very little game, and many of our people, under the treaty, were induced to give up the old life and go to work like white men, which was very distasteful to many.”

Read the 1858 Treaty with the Sioux

See this blog post on YouTube


“1858 Dakota Treaty Delegation,” http://www.usdakotawar.org/history/multimedia/1858-dakota-treaty-delegation

Treaties Matter, “1858 Land Cession Treaty with the Dakota,” http://treatiesmatter.org/treaties/land/1858-dakota