Minnesota Indian Tribes

The following tribes at one time are recorded in history as having resided within the present state of Minnesota. If the tribe name is in bold, then Minnesota is the primary location known for this tribe, otherwise we provide the tribes specifics as it pertains to Minnesota and then provide a link to the main tribal page.

  • Arapaho Indians. There are traditions that they once lived along Red River, in the present North Dakota and Minnesota.
  • Cheyenne Indians. The earliest known home of this tribe was in that part of Minnesota bounded roughly by the Mississippi, Minnesota, and upper Red Rivers. From here they moved to the Sheyenne branch of Red River, North Dakota.
  • Chippewa Indians
  • Dakota Indians. When first known to Europeans the Dakota were mainly in southern Minnesota. They gradually moved westward but did not cede all of their lands in Minnesota until 1863, and even then retained rights to the famous Red Pipestone Quarry.
  • Fox Indians. In 1830 representatives of this tribe were a party to a treaty ceding Minnesota lands to the Whites..
  • Iowa Indians. According to tradition, this tribe lived for a time near the famous Red Pipestone Quarry in southwestern Minnesota, and were at the mouth of Minnesota River when the Dakota reached that country. They appear to have been near the mouth of Blue Earth River just before Le Sueur arrived there in 1701. Dakota informed him that Blue Earth River belonged to the Dakota of the West, the Iowa, and the Oto. (See Iowa.)
  • Missouri Indians. Representatives of this tribe were a party to the treaty of 1830, ceding Minnesota lands to the Whites. (See Missouri.)
  • Omaha Indians. At one time the Omaha lived about the Red Pipestone Quarry in Minnesota. (See Nebraska.)
  • Oto Indians. As noted above (under Iowa), the Oto are reported to have shared at one time the ownership of Blue Earth River with the Iowa and the Western Dakota. (See Nebraska.)
  • Ottawa Indians. A band of Ottawa, in company with some Wyandot, once wintered on Lake Pepin. (See Michigan.)
  • Ponca Indians. This tribe was probably in southwestern Minnesota at the same time as the Omaha. (See Nebraska.)
  • Sauk Indians. In 1830 Sauk representatives were a party to a treaty ceding Minnesota lands to the Whites..
  • Winnebago Indians. A part of the Winnebago lived in Minnesota from 1848 to 1862 after surrendering their reservation in Iowa Territory.
  • Wyandot Indians. This tribe visited the borders of Minnesota for a short period in company with the Ottawa. (See Ottawa, above, and Ohio.)

Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 145. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office. 1953.

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