Jim Anderson, the Historian and Cultural Chair for the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community and a leading activist for the Dakota people, passed out one hundred copies of the following flier during a July 2007 Anoka County sesquicentennial event. The information in the flier was written by Thomas Dahlheimer, the director of Rum River Name Change Organization, Inc.. C. D. Floro, the editor of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe's Lake Traverse Reservation newspaper, recently published the flier in the tribe's newspaper, a newspaper named Sota .

History of the Dakota Indians in the region now known as Anoka County

The name of Anoka County was taken from the town of Anoka, which was named in 1853. It is a Dakota word meaning "on both sides; applied by founders to the city laid out on both sides of the "Rum" River.

In a 1873 newspaper article by L.M. Ford, Goodrich is quoted: "The name for the new town was a topic of no little interest, and the writer had something to do in its selection. It was decided to give it an Indian name. The Dakota Lexicon, just published, and of which I was the owner of a copy, was not infrequently consulted and at length the euphonious name Anoka was decided upon. . . . It was said to mean 'on both sides,' when rendered into less musical English, and to this day the name is by no means inappropriate, as the town is growing up and extending on either side of the beautiful but badly named river."

The "Rum" River was an important landmark for Minnesota Indians and early explorers searching the Mississippi River valley. The Dakota lived at the headwaters of this historic river. It flows out of Mille Lacs Lake. The sacred Dakota name for Mille Lacs Lake is Mde Wakan or Spirit Lake. Unfortunately, the "Rum" River has a profane and controversial name. It is believed that the sacred Dakota name for this historic river (Wakan), translated as (Great) Spirit, was mistranslated in a punning way by early 18th century white fur traders to mean the spirituous liquor (rum), and that this is how it received its current profane name.

Daniel DuLuth, a French explore, was sent to the region in 1676 by the Governor of New France, Count Frontenac. He reached the southern shore of Mille Lacs Lake on July 1679. And upon discovering the great village of the Dakota he set up the arms of his majesty in token of a claim by right of discovery. By doing so, he claimed the Dakota's sacred homeland territory as French territory, including the land now know as Anoka. When he did this he was following the edicts of his Pope and King, or abiding by the Christian Doctrine of Discovery. After this occurred, no other European nation's explorer could claim the Dakota's homeland territory for his nation, provided French colonist settlers subjugated the Dakota and annexed their land, which they could do by forcing the Dakota from their sacred homeland territory.

The Ojibwe had come to Minnesota with the French fur traders. For a while the Ojibwe and Dakota lived peacefully, often trading and occasionally intermarrying. But, unfortunately, the peace did not last long. French fur traders were trading furs for alcohol, or spreading the disease of alcoholism amongst the two tribes. This caused excessive completion for furs, and this, in turn, caused the two tribes to become enemies who were at war with each other. And to make this situation even worse, the French settlers instigated conflicts between the Dakota and Ojibwe, and allied with the Ojibwe.

The Battle of Kathio, fought between the Dakota and Ojibwe in 1750, demonstrated the early advantage the Ojibwe established by acquiring gun powder and muskets from their French allies. The Dakota, armed with bows and arrows, were defeated and moved to the Minnesota and lower Mississippi river valleys. After being forced from their sacred homeland territory some Dakotas would occasionally return to try to regain the region. After about thirty years and two major battles with the Ojibwe they did not return again to try to regain their sacred homeland territory. White settlers and the Ojibwe then took full possession of the Dakotas sacred homeland territory. The Ojibwe were given a small area of it to live on in the Mille Lacs Lake area. To this present-day, neither the Dakota nor Ojibwe own any of the sacred homeland territory that once belonged to the Dakota people.

According to the Christian Doctrine of Discovery, only white European Christian nations could own land. This religious doctrine was later modified to include our predominately white Euro-American Christian nation. It was then written into United States law. This is why Indians cannot own land to this present-day, nor are they allowed by the U.S. to be full independent sovereign nations. The fifteenth century Papal Bull, Inter Caetera, instructed Christian settlers to "subjugate the barbaric nations, and bring them to the faith itself". Christian settlers subjugated the Dakota and annexed their land, including the land now known as Anoka. White colonist settlers allied with the Ojibwe to force the Dakota from their sacred homeland territory. Recently, the Dakota have begun returning to their traditional homelands to reconcile and unite with the people now living in them.

After being pushed from their "Rum River" watershed homeland territory, some of the Dakota people established a village in what is now Winona, Minnesota. White settlers later forced them from this sacred homeland territory of theirs. Recently, a Winona Dakota Unity Alliance was founded and for the last four years Dakota people have been coming from Nebraska and South and North Dakota where they were exiled to after the 1862 Dakota conflict, to gather and celebrate their return to their traditional homeland territory in Winona. This occurs during annual pow-wows and reconciliatory/unity events. And just recently, an Anoka Dakota Unity Alliance was founded. The appearance of Dakota people at this Anoka County sesquicentennial event is the beginning of the Dakota's return to their sacred traditional homeland territory in Anoka.

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