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The Mdewakanton and Wahpekute Dakota signed the Treaty of Mendota with the U.S. government in August 1851. In exchange for $1.4 million and annual interest payments of $58,000, the tribes agreed to relinquish their ancestral lands and move to a reservation on the Minnesota River. Little Crow, the Mdewakanton leader, saw the deal as a way to ensure his tribe’s survival in a rapidly changing world.Nine months later, settlers were pouring onto Dakota land even though Congress had yet to ratify the treaty. Wearing a suit of otter skin, Little Crow addressed a gathering of his people at Kaposia, a Dakota village on the Mississippi River south of St. Paul. Referring to the territorial governor as “our Great Father,” he accused Alexander Ramsey of negotiating in bad faith the previous summer.The Minnesota Pioneer published his speech without comment:
|Little Crow sat for many photos, including this one taken by Joel Emmons Whitney in about 1860. (Photo courtesy of mnhs.org)|
|This 1854 lithograph of "Little Crow's Village" -- presumably Kaposia -- appeared in Henry Lewis' Das illustrirte Mississippithal. (Image courtesy of mnhs.org)