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Mendota Sacred Sites

Statements from Jim Anderson

Jim Anderson Sky Red Mahpiya Duta's story of his people.

From the very first Mendota was and still is where the waters meet as the Dakota word expresses. As early as 1657, maps showed my ancestors at the Men-do-ta where the waters meet.

We were them when the first French fur traders came and when the first white men came to settle here because it was where the waters met. The French married Indian women to get labor and companionship. But most, to get in good with the suppliers of the furs, our Dakota people.

When and after the signing of Treaties in Mendota, our people were then together as a tribe. When unrest broke out in 1862 our people were called the friendlies. Our people helped save a large number of settlers from being killed.

After the uprising 38 Dakotas were hung, the rest rounded up and relocated to Nebraska. Our small tribe at Mendota were friends of General Sibley and were kept there in Minnesota for services rendered to the white settlers during the outbreak.

Sibley Indian Homes

Some moved to Fainbault with Reverend Whipple, the remaining were put on land of Sibley's called Sibley's Indian Homes. At this time Sibley tried unsuccessfully to get the Government to grant land or money for the land for our people because we could not relocate, None was given because the Mendota tribe couldn't dream of being removed from their ancient homeland. But also because of the saving of the settlers, the relatives of the 38 that were hung sworn revenge on the people known as the Friendlies. So Sibley put my people on ten acres of his land and took care of them out of his own pocket.

When Sibley died in 1891 my people were again left without a place to live, because with Sibley gone they were made to leave the land.

Squatters Homes

Trying to keep our people together they moved down to the old river road in Mendota where no whites wanted to live because of the seasonal flooding. So the Dakota people were called Squatters on their own ancient homeland by the white people in Mendota.

Talking with Mr. Don Newcomb, a highly regarded leader and elder of our Indian Community, I learned that our Dakota people lived together on the old river road as a community of Mendota Indians as called by the rest of the town folks.

Indian Squatters

There was no running water, so Don recalls having to use a community outhouse. To get water all our Indian relatives used a natural artesian well in the side of the river bank All our relatives got their water for drinking, cooking, and washing from the community well even when the temperature dropped below -20 F. In 1952 our Dakota people were removed again because of the Establishment. We moved up into town and into the surrounding area.