The Dakota are mentioned in the Jesuit Relations as early as 1639-40; the

tradition is noted that the Ojibwa, on arriving at the Great Lakes in an

early migration from the Atlantic coast, encountered representatives of

the great confederacy of the plains. In 1641 the French voyageurs met the

Potawatomi Indians flying from a nation called Nadawessi (enemies); and

the Frenchmen adopted the alien name for the warlike prairie tribes. B

1658 the Jesuits had learned of the existence of thirty Dakota villages

west-northwest from the Potawatomi mission St Michel; and in 1689 they

recorded the presence of tribes apparently representing the Dakota

confederacy on the upper Mississippi, near the mouth of the St Croix.

According to Croghan's History of Western Pennsylvania, the Sue Indians

occupied the country southwest of Lake Superior about 1759; and Dr T.S.

Williamson, the father of the Dakota mission, states that the Dakota

must have resided about the confluence of the Mississippi and the

Minnesota or St Peters for at least two hundred years prior to 1860.

According to traditions collected by Dorsey, the Teton took possession of

the Black Hills region, which had previously been occupied by the Crow

Indians, long before white men came; and the Yankton and Yanktonnai, which

were found on the Missouri by Lewis and Clark, were not long removed from

the region about Minnesota river. In 1862 the Santee and other Dakota

tribes united in a formidable outbreak in which more than 1,000 whites

were massacred or slain in battle. Through this outbreak and the

consequent governmental action toward the control and settlement of the

tribes, much was learned concerning the characteristics of the people, and

various Indian leaders became known; Spotted Tail, Red Cloud, Crazy Horse,

Sitting Bull, American Horse, and Even-his-horse-is-feared (commonly

miscalled Man-afraid-of-his-horses) were among the famous Dakota chiefs

and warriors, notable representatives of a passing race, whose names are

prominent in the history of the country. Other outbreaks occurred, the

last of note resulting from the ghost-dance fantasy in 1890-91, which

fortunately was quickly suppressed. Yet, with slight interruptions, the

Dakota tribes in the United States were steadily gathered on reservations.

Some 800 or more still roam the prairies north of the international

boundary, but the great body of the confederacy, numbering nearly 28,000,

are domiciled on reservations (already noted) in Minnesota, Montana,

Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

The separation of the Asiniboin from the Wazi-kute gens of the Yanktonai

apparently occurred before the middle of the seventeenth century, since

the Jesuit relation of 1658 distinguishes between the Poualak or Guerriers

(undoubtedly the Dakota proper) and the Assiuipoualak or Guerriers de

pierre. The Asiniboin are undoubtedly the Essanape (Essanapi or Assinapi)

who were next to the Makatapi (Dakota) in the Walam-Olum record of the

Lenni-Lenape or Delaware. In 1680 Hennepin located the Asiniboin northeast

of the Issati (Isanyati or Santee) who were on Knife lake (Minnesota); and

the Jesuit map of 1681 placed them on Lake-of-the-Woods, then called L.

Assinepoualacs. La Hontan claimed to have visited the Eokoro (Arikara) in

1689-90, when the Essanape were sixty leagues above; and Perrot's Memoire

refers to the Asiniboin as a Sioux tribe which, in the seventeenth

century, seceded from their nation and took refuge among the rocks of

Lake-of-the-Woods. Chauvignerie located some of the tribe south of

Ounipigan (Winnipeg) lake in 1736, and they were near Lake-of-the-Woods as

late as 1766, when they were said to have 1,500 warriors. It is well known

that in 1829 they occupied a considerable territory west of the Dakota and

north of Missouri river, with a population estimated at 8,000; and Drake

estimated their number at 10,000 before the smallpox epidemic of 1838,

which is said to have carried off 4,000. From this blow the tribe seems

never to have fully recovered, and now numbers probably no more than

3,000, mostly in Canada, where they continue to roam the plains they have

occupied for half a century.