By Jim Umhoefer
Yellow Medicine County. 8 miles southeast of granite Falls on Highway 67.
Highway map index: E-17.
Tempers were as hot as an August afternoon when the Dakota Indians destroyed the Upper Sioux Agency, in the summer of 1862. On another hot August afternoon, I wandered past the foundations of the vanished agency buildings and circled the only structure in the present-day park to survive the U.S.-Dakota Conflict. The restored brick employee duplex is now a historic site administered by the Minnesota Historical Society.
It's hard to visualize the tragic violence of that long-ago summer while strolling on the park lawn, reading historical markers. But by piecing together facts from the markers, some causes of the uprising emerge. In 1851, as pressure to open up the Dakota homeland to white settlement grew, the government engineered the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux. This treaty removed the Dakota from Iowa and Minnesota to a 20-mile-wide reservation along the upper Minnesota River. Read more: