History of Minnesota

Ponca Indian

This illustrated article provides interesting facts, information and a history timeline of the Native American Indians of Minnesota.

The climate, land, history, environment and natural resources that were available to the indigenous Indian tribes in Minnesota resulted in the adoption of the Woodlands culture and some adopted the Great Plains Indians culture.

Discover the history, interesting facts and information about the way of life of the Minnesota Indians before the arrival of the white European settlers and colonists.

History of Native Americans
Native Indian Tribes Index

History of Minnesota Indians
Factors that contributed to the history of the state are detailed in the History Timeline. The history timeline shows the impact of the new comers to the state.

Stone Age History of Minnesota
The American Native Indians who lived in what is now the present state of Minnesota led a Stone Age lifestyle - they only had stone tools and weapons, had never seen a horse and had no knowledge of the wheel. The history of the Minnesota Indians are detailed in this article.

Map of Minnesota
The map of Minnesota provides a bird's eye view of the location of the tribal territories and homelands of the Minnesota Indians in relation to the present day United States of America. The map indicates the location of the State and the American Native Indians of Minnesota.


State Map of Minnesota

State Map showing location of Minnesota Indians

State Map showing location of Minnesota Indians


Names of the Minnesota Indian Tribes
Minnesota is a state of the northern United States bordering on Lake Superior and on Manitoba and Ontario, Canada. There are many famous Native American tribes who played a part in the history of the state and whose tribal territories and homelands are located in the present day state of Minnesota. The names of the Minnesota tribes included the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Chippewa, Dakota Sioux, Fox and Sauk. Woodland tribes were the Iowa, Omaha, Otoe, Ottawa, Ponca (see above picture), Winnebago and Huron (aka the Wyandot).

Fast Facts about the History of Minnesota Indians
The way of life and history of Minnesota Indians was dictated by the natural raw materials available in the State of Minnesota. The natural resources and materials available provided the food, clothing and houses of the Minnesota Indians. Fast facts about the history, culture and life of the State of Minnesota Indians. Discover facts and information about the history of the State of Minnesota Indians.

  • Name of State: Minnesota
  • Meaning of State name: A Dakota word meaning “Whitish or Sky-tinted water.”
  • Geography, Environment and Characteristics of the State of Minnesota: hill and lake region, ridges and lakes, plains and river valleys
  • Culture adopted by Minnesota Indians: Woodlands culture and some adopted the Great Plains culture.
  • Languages: Muskogean, Athabaskan and Algonquian
  • Way of Life (Lifestyle): Hunter-gatherers, farmers, fishers, trappers
  • Types of housing, homes or shelters: Tepees, Wigwams (aka Birchbark houses) and Longhouses

Sioux Battle and Siege of New Ulm, Minnesota

Sioux Battle and Siege of New Ulm, Minnesota

History Timeline of the Minnesota Indians
The history and the way of life of Minnesota Indians was profoundly affected by newcomers to the area. The indigenous people had occupied the land thousands of years before the first European explorers arrived. The Europeans brought with them new ideas, customs, religions, weapons, transport (the horse and the wheel), livestock (cattle and sheep) and disease which profoundly affected the history of the Native Indians. For a comprehensive History timeline regarding the early settlers and colonists refer to the
Colonial America Time Period. The history of the State and of its Native American Indians is detailed in a simple History Timeline. This Minnesota Indian History Timeline provides a list detailing dates of conflicts, wars and battles involving Minnesota Indians and their history. We have also detailed major events in US history which impacted the history of the Minnesota Indians. Throughout the 1800's battles and conflicts erupt between white settlers and American Native Indians including the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Chippewa, Dakota Sioux, Fox, Iowa, Omaha, Oto, Ottawa, Ponca, Sauk, Winnebago and Wyandot tribes. The American Native Indians were gradually forced to cede their lands

Minnesota History Timeline

History Timeline of the Native Indians of Minnesota

10,000 BC: Paleo-Indian Era (Stone Age culture) the earliest human inhabitants of America who lived in caves and were Nomadic hunters of large game including the Great Mammoth and giant bison.

7000 BC: Archaic Period in which people built basic shelters and made stone weapons and stone tools

1000 AD: Woodland Period including the Hopewell cultures established along rivers in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States which included trade exchange systems and burial systems

1000: Mississippian Culture established. This was the last of the mound-building cultures of North America in Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States

1659: Between 1659-1660 French fur traders Pierre-Esprit Radisson (1636 - 1710) and Médard Chouart, Sieur des Groseilliers (1618 - 1710) explore western end of Lake Superior

1679: Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Luth (1636–1710) claims the upper Mississippi region for France 

1770: Grand Portage is established as the fur trading crossroads in northern Minnesota (1770 -1804)

1775: 1775 - 1783 - The American Revolution.

1776: July 4, 1776 - United States Declaration of Independence

1803: The United States bought the Louisiana Territory from France for 15 million dollars for the land

1812: 1812 - 1815: The War of 1812 between U.S. and Great Britain, ended in a stalemate but confirmed America's Independence

1830: Indian Removal Act

1832: Department of Indian Affairs established

1858: Minnesota was admitted to the Union 

1861: 1861 - 1865: The American Civil War.

1862: Sioux Indian war in Minnesota and Dakota, aka the Dakota War of 1862. The Sioux killed upwards of 1,000 settlers in Minnesota then fled to Dakota territory pursued by 5000 US Cavalry soldiers

1862: U.S. Congress passes Homestead Act opening the Great Plains to settlers

1865: The surrender of Robert E. Lee on April 9 1865 signalled the end of the Confederacy

1887: Dawes General Allotment Act passed by Congress leads to the break up of the large Indian Reservations and the sale of Indian lands to white settlers

1898: Battle of Sugar Point US Infantry and Chippewa Indians in Minnesota

1969: All Indians declared citizens of U.S.

1979: American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed

History Timeline of the Native Indians of Minnesota

State of Minnesota History Timeline

History of Minnesota Indians - Destruction and Decline
The history of the European invasion brought epidemic diseases such as tuberculosis, cholera, influenza, measles and smallpox. The Native Indians of Minnesota had not developed immunities against these diseases resulting in huge losses in population. Exploitation including the leverage of taxes, enforced labor and enslavement were part of their history, taking their toll on the Minnesota Indians.


  • History of Minnesota Indians
  • Interesting Facts and information about the Minnesota Culture and History
  • Names of indigenous Minnesota tribes of Indians
  • Fast Facts, History Timeline and info
  • Map of Minnesota
  • History Timeline of the Minnesota Indians

State of Minnesota Indians - Additional Pictures and Videos
State of Minnesota Indian History. Discover the vast selection of pictures and videos of Native Americans. The pictures show the clothing, weapons and decorations of various Native American tribes that can be used as an educational history resource for kids and children. We hope that this article on the History of Minnesota Indians  will assist in your studies or homework and that you will enjoy watching the videos featuring many pictures of the Native Americans. A great historical educational resource for kids on the subject of the History of Minnesota Indians..


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