Students explore a map of Minnesota in 1862 to determine the importance of the Dakota/Sioux reservation land during the Dakota Uprising of 1862. Students identify and label critical sites of the uprising on the map, and discuss the link between the sites and the uprising.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Minnesota | Unit 6: United States–Dakota War" which contains an exploration of how the actions and points of view of the Dakota, the settlers, the Minnesota government, and the US government influenced the causes and results of the United States–Dakota war.
188.8.131.52.3: Explain reasons for the United States–Dakota War of 1862; compare and contrast the perspectives of settlers and Dakota people before, during and after the war.
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show images to the class (optional)
- Class set of Minnesota in 1862 map handout
- Map: Minnesota in 1862 (optional)
- Crayons or markers
- Explain to students that the Dakota/Sioux peoples once occupied all of Minnesota. With the influx of pioneer settlement, the nation was forced onto small reservations through treaties with the US government. Through the 1850s, the United States did not uphold their parts of the treaties, never delivering compensation for the land and claiming more of it for the new state. The United States entered the Civil War in 1861, which pulled men and resources away from forts and posts in Minnesota to fight the Confederates. The Dakota/Sioux wanted land or compensation for the broken treaties and saw the lessened troop numbers as an opportunity to fight back. The conflict that ensued is known as the Dakota Uprising of 1862.
- Tell students that they will be labeling a map of Minnesota to identify key sites related to the Dakota Uprising.
- Provide the students with the Minnesota in 1862 map handout. You can also project the map.
- Have students get out crayons or markers to label the map. They should title the map, “Dakota Uprising Sites.”
- Have the students find and trace the Minnesota River with a blue crayon or marker. Explain to the students that this is where the uprising began in 1862. Have them label the river with, “Start of the Uprising.”
- Have the students find and circle Mankato, Minnesota, with a red crayon or marker. Explain to the students that this is where the conflict took place between the Dakota/Sioux and the US military. Many Dakota/Sioux people died here. Have them label this part of the map with “Conflict between Dakota and the United States.”
- Have the students find and circle the Dakota/Sioux reservation area of 1862 with a yellow crayon or marker. Explain to the students that this reservation land was “given” to the tribe by the US government after the nation had already surrendered a large portion of their land to the United States.
- Ask the students the following questions while referring to their maps:
- Describe the importance of this area to the Dakota/Sioux nation.
- Why would the Dakota/Sioux hold an uprising during this time period?
- Why did the Dakota/Sioux decide to stage an uprising?
- This area was part of their reservation land. The Dakota had already surrendered large portions of their land to the United States. This was the only portion of their land remaining.
- The Civil War was taking place, and many of the Minnesota men were away fighting in the war. This gave the nation the perfect opportunity to stage an uprising.
- The Dakota/Sioux wanted to get parts of their land back or to be compensated for the land that they had already surrendered to the US government.