Iowa Indians to Minnesota

In 1841 the U.S. government tried to get the Sac and Fox Indians to leave Iowa and live in Minnesota.


By 1841 settler’s demands for more Indian lands in Iowa forced the Government to create a new Indian territory in Minnesota, where they had hoped to send the Sauk, Mesquakie, Winnebago, Chippewa and Pottawatomie. Treaty negotiations were held with the Sauk and Mesquakie tribes. After the Government’s proposal was presented by Commissioner T. Hartley Crawford, John Chambers, Governor of the Iowa Territory, attempted to convince the Chiefs that they must get away from the bad influences of white civilization. After holding council, the Indians answered. Appanoose, Chief of the Sauk, spoke next…

You may not think we understood the things that you ask of us, but we do. We are willing to sell some of our country if we could only survive where you asked us to live. The land you offer is the worst I ever seen. No one can live there.

Although the Government had failed to secure a treaty with the Sauk and Mesquakie in 1841; they didn’t have to wait long for them to change their mind. Over the next year white settlers continued to trespass on Indian lands. The Indians continued to get deeper in debt to local traders. Poorly clothed and suffering from hunger the Indians finally agreed to sell their land in 1842. But this time they gave up all their remaining land in Iowa and moved to a reservation in Kansas. The Government paid off their debts and paid them what amounted to about ten cents an acre of their land.


“First People of the Prairies,” The Iowa Heritage: Program # 1, Iowa Public Television, 1979.