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Houses of the Wahpeton Tribe

The Wahpeton, “dwellers among leaves,” constitute one of the seven great divisions of the Dakota, and to quote from the Handbook: “Historic and linguistic evidence proves the affinity of this tribe with the Sisseton, Wahpekute, and Mdewakanton. Hennepin (1680) mentions them as living in the vicinity of Mille Lac, Minnesota, near the Mdewakanton, Sisseton, and Teton. On his map they are placed a little to the Northeast of the lake.” While living in the seclusion of the vast forests which surrounded the great lakes of central Minnesota, the villages of the Wahpeton were probably formed of groups of bark or mat covered structures so typical of the region at a later day. Gradually they left the timbered regions, and about the first years of the last century were living near the mouth of the Minnesota River. Thence they appear to have moved up the stream, and during the summer of 1823 were encountered by the Long expedition in the vicinity of Big Stone Lake, in the present Lac qui Parle County, Minnesota.The account of the meeting with the Indians on the prairie, and later of their visit to the village, by the members of the expedition, is most interesting. On July 21, 1823. “While traveling over the prairie which borders upon this part of the St. Peter, that connects Lake qui Parle with Big Stone Lake, our attention was aroused by the sight of what appeared to be buffaloes chased across the prairie. They, however, soon proved to be Indians; their number, at first limited to two, gradually increased to near one hundred; they were seen rising from every...

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