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Map of Country Comprising the Sioux Indian Reservations in North and South Dakota (Frazier Augustus Boutelle Papers).

The mission civilatrice embarked upon by the United States government and Christian churches produced major changes for Native cultures by the late 19th century. Reservations began to be established in Minnesota as early as 1851 – seven years before Minnesota’s statehood. Over the next fifty years, Indian lands would continue to shrink in the face of the burgeoning American population’s increasingly voracious appetite for land.

Land loss, in turn, led to the near collapse of Anishinaabe and Dakota society, which then buttressed the American sense that assimilation into American culture was the only way forward for Native peoples in the US.