Prairie Island Indian Community
Prairie Island Indian Community (Dakota: Tinta Winta) is a Mdewakanton Sioux Indian reservation in Goodhue County, Minnesota, along the Mississippi River, in and around the city of Red Wing. It was created in 1889, with boundaries modified after that time. Much of the reservation land was lost following construction of Lock and Dam No. 3 along the river by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to improve navigation. Later, the Prairie Island Nuclear Power Plant was built nearby. The community has grabbed headlines because of the decision to store radioactive waste in above-ground steel casks. The main reservation lies within the city of Red Wing, but there are off-reservation trust lands both within Red Wing and in Welch Township in northern Goodhue County, as well as in Ravenna Township in eastern Dakota County which nearly doubles the size of the reservation's territory. The reservation had 199 residents as of the 2000 census, including its trust lands. Its total land area is 1.6689 sq mi (4.3225 km², or 1,068.1 acres). The tribe operates Treasure Island Resort & Casino near the Mississippi River north of Red Wing.
As part of the Indian termination policy that was followed by the US government from the 1940s to the 1960s, four Native American Groups in Minnesota were targeted. A memo dated 19 January 1955 for the BIA issued from the Department of the Interior indicates additional terminations were being reviewed in proposed legislation for four Indian communities of southern Minnesota including the Lower Sioux Community in Redwood and Scott counties, the New Upper Sioux Community in Yellow Medicine County, the Prairie Island Community in Goodhue County and about 15 individuals living on restricted tracts in Yellow Medicine County.
Discussions between the BIA and the Indians from the targeted area began in 1953 and continued throughout 1954. Though the Prairie Island and Lower Sioux communities drafted agreements with individual land ownership, the Upper Sioux strongly opposed fee simple title to tribal lands. On 26 January 1955 Senator Edward Thye introduced into Congress a bill (S704) to provide for termination of the tribes. Opposition, not only of the Indians, but of other citizens who realized their state expenditures might increase, were made to the committee reviewing the bill. The Governor's Commission on Human Rights also opposed the legislation, indicating that it would "not adequately protect the interests of the Indians..." The bill died in committee, never reaching the Senate floor.
- "Proposed Terminal Legislation for Indians of Southern Minnesota" (PDF). Department of the Interior. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
- >Meyer, Roy Willard (1993). "History of the Santee Sioux: United States Indian Policy on Trial". University of Nebraska Press. p. 354. ISBN 0-8032-8203-6. Retrieved 2014-12-19.
- Prairie Island Indian Community and Off-Reservation Trust Land, Minnesota United States Census Bureau
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