Red Lake Indian Reservation (Minnesota)

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The Red Lake Reservation is a federally-recognized reservation in Minnesota.

Established -- 2 October 1863
Agency (BIA) -- Chippewa Agency (1851-1873) - Red Lake Agency (1874-1879) - White Earth Agency (1879-1899) - Leech Lake Agency (1899-1906) - Red Lake Agency (1906-?)
Principal tribes -- Red Lake and Little Shell Pembina bands of Chippewa's and the Lac Du Bois (Bois Forte) Chippewa's
Population -- 2010 census is 5,736 (when including mixed bloods it's 5,807)  - Does not include non Indians

History[edit | edit source]

The Red Lake Reservation was established by Treaty of Oct. 2, 1863 (XIII, 667); act of Jan. 14,1889 (XXV, 642); agreement, July 8, 1889 (H. R. Ex. Doe. 247, 51st Cong., 1st sess., 27, 32); Executive order, Nov. 21, 1892; Act of Mar. 3, 1903 (XXXIII, 1009), and act of Feb. 20, 1904, ratifying agreement made Mar. 10. 1902 (XXXIII. 46), for sale of 258,152 acres. 

Through the October 2, 1863 Old Crossing Treaty, the Little Shell Pembina Chippewas retained all unceded land. Instead of honoring treaty agreements, the United States illegally took the unceded land they promised through the October 2, 1863 Old Crossing Treaty. Click this link RedLake.jpg, to see the correct map of the Red Lake Reservation. It covers 3,981,806 acres or 6,221 sq. mi. or 16,113 sq. km.

To the southwest, the Little Shell Pembina White Earth Reservation borders the Red Lake Reservation. Click this link White_Earth.jpg, to see a map of the correct Little Shell Pembina Chippewas White Earth Reservation. To the south and southeast, Leech Lake Reservation borders the Red Lake Reservation. Click this link to see a map that proves Leech Lake Reservation is connected to both Red Lake Reservation and White Earth Reservation. It's the large Reservation the United States wanted to deport the Montana Little Shell Pembina Chippewas to. They actually conspired to deport the Montana Chippewas in the 1840s or 1850s.

The United States wanted to relocate the Chippewas who  lived in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota (it was really Montana where 10,000s of Great Lakes Chippewas migrated to as a result of prophecy), to one large Reservation in northern Minnesota. In the very early 1850s (1851), negotiations commenced but failed after the United States supposedly refused to ratify the treaty in which the Little Shell Pembina Chippewas ceded 11,000,000 acres.

In 1889, the United States conspired to illegally eradicate the large Little Shell Pembina Chippewa Reservation. It was done through the 1889 Nelson Act. Instead of negotiating with Chippewa leaders, the United States allowed individual Chippewa men to vote to determine if they wanted to sale the surplus land that was not needed for allotments. It was fraudulent. They unanimously voted to cede the 2,905,000 acres.

Creation of the Montana Chippewas Reservation[edit | edit source]

On May 15, 1896, the land ceded in 1889 was supposedly opened to white settlement. However, in June and July of 1896, several thousand Little Shell Pembina Chippewa Indians living in the Great Falls, Montana region and north central Montana, were rounded up and deported. The United States did not want the large Chippewa population living in north central Montana. Throughout the 19th century, 10,000s of Great Lakes Chippewas had migrated into Montana and settled there. They were motivated by prophecy. Montana could support a large Indian population as a result of the vast buffalo herds.

American soldiers forced the Montana Chippewas to board trains to be deported to other Montana Indian Reservations; Indian Reserves in Canada; and other Indian Reservations in the United States including Red Lake Reservation and White Earth Reservation of Minnesota; Wind River Reservation of Wyoming; Fort Hall Reservation of Idaho; San Carlos Reservation of Arizona; and Augua Caliente Reservation and Twenty-Nine Palms Reservation, of California.

After arriving in northern Minnesota, the Montana Little Shell Pembina Chippewas were set aside their own 256,152 acre Reservation where the western part of Red Lake Reservation was located in what is now Red Lake County, Minnesota. They may have thought the United States would leave them alone. They were wrong if they actually trusted the United States.

Eradication of the Montana Chippewas Reservation[edit | edit source]

In 1902, the United States again refused to honor agreements and treaties. They forced the adult Chippewa men of the Montana Chippewas Reservation adjacent to Red Lake Reservation, to vote to determine if they wanted to cede their Reservation. It was fraudulent. They unanimously voted to cede their Reservation. Afterwards, they relocated to Red Lake Reservation.

Communities[edit | edit source]

Red Lake Reservation had a population increase of 735, between 2000 and 2010. That is close to a 15% population gain in 10 years. And leaders of Red Lake Reservation have built many new housing units since the mid 1990s. These housing clusters are isolated but classified as being a part of one of the four CDP's (census designated places) which are within the boundaries of the Reservation. Leaders of Red Lake Reservation, must give each new housing cluster a community name and community or town limits, or their own jurisdiction. And since available land is not abundant, they have to be careful in how the housing clusters are laid out. A circle or C shaped street community will help to use as little land as possible. Place hydroponic farms (greenhouse farms) within each community so employment is available and safe food (even tropical foods) is grown. Form fishing and hunting society's which will follow Federal and State laws, which will function as new employment opportunities.

Little Rock: 2010 population is 1,208. Little Rock is a CDP (Census Designated Place) located in the southern part of Red Lake Reservation. It covers 8 sq. mi. It's location is a little south of Lower Red Lake. On the east, near Blake Lake, Green Lake, and Isle Lake is a cluster of housing units. Many are located along each side of MN-1. About 2.5 miles to the west is the main part of Little Rock. About 1.25 miles to the west is another cluster of housing units. They are located along Reservation Highway 5. About 2/3 of a mile to the northwest is another cluster of housing units located along each side of MN-1.

Ponemah: 2010 population is 724. It is a CDP (Census Designated Place). It covers 12 sq. mi. About 1.65 miles north of the main part of Ponemah is a new cluster of housing units. Directly to the south by 1.0 miles, is another area where new housing units have been built. Both clusters of housing units are their own distinct community but classified as being a part of Ponemah.

Red Lake: 2010 population is 1,731. It is located in the southern part of the Reservation, a little south of Lower Red Lake. It is a CDP (Census Designated Place). It covers 6 sq. mi. Just to the west and southwest of Thunder Lake, is a new cluster of housing units. Directly south of Thunder Lake is another cluster of new housing units. And another cluster of new housing units is located east and southeast of Thunder Lake. Directly west and south of Balif Lake, is another cluster of new housing units. All these clusters of new housing units, are not connected to each other and to the main part of Red Lake which is located along each side of MN-1. They are each a distinct community but classified as being a part of Red Lake. Many of Red Lakes housing units extend south along the east side of Highway 89. Red Lake is the largest community on Red Lake Reservation. However, it is really made up of four distinct communities.

Redby: 2010 population is 1,334. It is located in the eastern part of the Red Lake Reservation. Just south of the southeastern shores of Lower Red Lake. It is a CDP (Census Designated Place). On the east, about 0.8 miles from the main part of Redby, is a new cluster of housing units. It's a distinct community but classified as being a part of Redby. Many of Redby's housing units extend south to near Green Lake.

Fox Lake: It is an area located along each side of Highway 89. It extends from the southern boundary of the CDP of Red Lake, to the southern border of Red Lake Reservation. Though the lake (Fox Lake) is located a bit to the northwest, it's a good name for this distinct community which is a growing community. The southern part of Fox Lake is located a little south of Muerlin Lake. The remaining population of Red Lake Reservation is located mainly at this location.

Records[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Confederation of American Indians. Indian Reservations: A State and Federal Handbook. Jefferson, North Caroline: McFarland & Co., c1986. WorldCat 14098308; FHL book 970.1 In2.
  • Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #30, 1906. This publication lists the 22 states which had reservations in 1908. Available online.
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Volume 16 -- Not yet published
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Volume 18 -- Not yet published
Volume 19 -- Not yet published
Volume 20 -- Not yet published
  • Tiller, Veronica E. Velarde. American Indian Reservations and Trust Areas. [Washington, DC]: Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1996. WorldCat 35209517; FHL book 970.1 T463a.
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