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They were rated as possessing thirty villages, and were the terror of all the surrounding tribes by reason of their number and prowess, although admittedly less cruel.
Fathers Allouez and Marquette, from their mission of St.
In 1680 one of their war parties, descending the Mississippi against the Illinois, captured the Recollect Father Louis Hennepin with two companions and brought them to their villages at the head of the river, where they held them, more as guests than prisoners, until released on the arrival of the trader, Du Luth, in the fall.
While thus in custody Father Hennepin observed their customs, made some study of the language, baptized a child and attempted some religious instruction, explored a part of Minnesota, and discovered and named St. In 1683 Nicholas Perrot established a post at the mouth of the Wisconsin.
At the beginning of treaty relations in 1805 they were the acknowledged owners of most of the territory extending from central Wisconsin, across the Mississippi and Missouri, to beyond the Black Hills, and from the Canada boundary to the North Platte, including all of Southern Minnesota, with considerable portions of Wisconsin and Iowa, most of North Dakota and South Dakota, Northern Nebraska, and much of Montana and Wyoming.
The boundaries of all that portion lying east of the Dakotas were defined by the great inter-tribal treaty of Prairie du Chien in 1825 and a supplemental treaty at the same place in 1830.
The name Sioux (pronounced Su ) is an abbreviation of the French spelling of the name by which they were anciently known to their eastern Algonquian neighbours and enemies, viz. little, or secondary enemies, as distinguished from the eastern Nadowe, or enemies, the Iroquois.
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At this period the Minnesota region was held by the various Santee bands; Eastern Dakota and a small part of Iowa were claimed by the Yankton and their cousins the Yanktonai; while all the Sioux territory west of the Missouri was held by bands of the great Teton division, constituting three-fifths of the whole nation.
Under the name of Naduesiu the Sioux are first mentioned by Father Paul le Jeune in the Jesuit Relation of 1640, apparently on the information of that pioneer western explorer, Jean Nicolet, the first white man known to have set foot in Wisconsin, probably in 1634-5.
When and why the Sioux removed from their original home in the East, or by what route they reached the upper Mississippi country, are unknown.
When first noticed in history, about 1650, they centered about Mille Lac and Leech Lake, toward the heads of the Mississippi, in central Minnesota, having their eastern frontier within a day's march of Lake Superior.