Documenting the Dakota: From America to Canada

The Dakota term Ozuye illustrated itself as an attack process to strike the target and returned without a stop. The Ozuye tactics were carried out as described. The next was the territorial losses. The settlers, army posts, missionaries, traders, and gold diggers were claiming lands. The treaties were violated by illegal traders. Soon Dakota people were forced to take a stand for their limited land called reservations.

It only happened once to the Dakota people in Minnesota when a small party of Dakotas were involved. They fought with white settlers now known as the Minnesota Massacre. Soon after, the U.S. army retaliated against the whole Dakota nation. Many sub-bands had no knowledge of the fight that took place in Minnesota but the U.S. army attacked any native encampment as long as they were Dakota. By that time, many Dakota bands were settled on reservations in Minnesota and North Dakota. They dwell in log and brick houses pursuing farm and stock raising occupations. Even they were included in some of the raids by the United States army. […] The Dakota people were disorganized and language was silenced in confusion -- the proud words that used to be, "We are the survivors of the Dakota minority movement. We are the descendants of the eastern generation. We will be the ancestors of the new generation." But now, the Dakota people were scattered and fled, fleeing to survive. The Dakota who are now residing in Canada won this right in the Seven Fire treaty with the British government in 1812. And this is why there was no hesitation for some of the Dakota people to enter into Canada.

Elder Samuel Buffalo, from SK Archives, R-1345, Samuel Buffalo, September 8, 1977, excerpt from transcript

In this excerpt, Dakota Elder Samuel Buffalo describes some of the land issues that led to conflicts with American settlers.  These conflict eventually led to violent confrontations between some Dakota and the American army, prompting the Dakota to leave their traditional territories.  This excerpt highlights how the Dakota came to be dispersed throughout both Canada and the United States, and the disruption that this caused amongst the Dakota people. The Seven Fire Treaty that Samuel Buffalo refers to was an agreement that was made between the Dakota and the British to secure their alliance with one another in opposition to the Americans, in the War of 1812.

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