Dakota Datebook

Sioux Commission


On October 2, 1882, the Sioux Commission was formed with Judge P. C. Shannon and Governor Newton Edmunds of Yankton, Dakota Territory; J. H. Teller of Cleveland, Ohio; and the Reverend S. D. Hinman of the Indian Bureau at Washington, D.C. The four commissioners visited the five agencies on the Great Sioux Reservation to divide it into smaller tracts of land, setting up individual reservations for the various bands of the Sioux living there. The plan, established under the direction of Major James McLaughlin, was to meet with each of the bands and determine how much land was required under an allotment quota to sustain each family. The balance of the land would then be purchased by the United States Government.


The concept, under Article 6 of the treaty of 1868, was that the head of each family was entitled to select three hundred and twenty acres for cultivation, and in addition to that tract of land, he was to select eighty acres for each of his children who were under eighteen at the time the agreement was ratified. The agreement further stated that the US Government would supply, among other items, twenty-five thousand cows and one thousand bulls to disperse among the various reservations to help establish an agricultural base for farming.


After a quick visit to the Santee Agency in Nebraska on the October 17th,where the Santee accepted their current location separate from the Great Sioux Reservation, the commissioners went on to the Pine Ridge Agency. Here they were greeted by Red Cloud, who wanted a separate reservation, a sentiment that would be echoed by the other Sioux tribes. The agreement was signed at Pine Ridge on October 29th, and then at the Rosebud Agency on November 6th.


On this date, the commission met with the tribe at the Standing Rock Agency, and again the agreement was accepted. A provision of the Standing Rock agreement was that the Lower Yanktonais Indians at Crow Creek and the Indians with Sitting Bull would share in the Standing Rock reservation. The commission went on to the Cheyenne Agency and finally the Rosebud Agency, meeting with the Brule Indians to complete their task.


An interesting feature of the agreement was that it already contained the proposed boundaries for each of the five new reservations to which the various tribes had agreed. Although non-binding, the document was the key to reducing the size of the reservations over the next few decades.


Dakota Datebook written by Jim Davis




The Bismarck Tribune December 1, 1882


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