Dakotah Presence


Click here to view video on the Dakotah Presence.

Dakotah Indians have lived in the Minnesota River Valley since the 1600s as the successors to the Oneota and Iowa Indian cultures.  The Dakotah annual cycle of life followed the season with Winter spent in sheltered wooded areas.  Spring in the maple sugaring camps, Summer following game across the prairies and Fall in the river and lake shallow waters harvesting wild rice.  Burial of deceased band members was often near the permanent villages or along the bluffs of the Minnesota River following the practice of previous cultures.  Dakotah names for lakes, streams, natural areas and sacred places are still in use today.

The full presence of the 7,000 Dakotah Indians present in the Minnesota River Basin in the middle of the 19th century is being researched and documented through special heritage programs at the Shakopee, Upper Sioux and Lower Sioux Dakotah communities.  In the 21st century, Dakotah individuals are reclaiming their heritage through cultural camps, language studies, pow wows and other gatherings while also using their entrepreneurial skills in the modern day economy.  The successful Mystic Lake, Jackpot Junction and Firefly Indian casinos are one example of Dakotah economic success with many more expected in coming years.