By Gillian Joseph

treaty of Mendota
august 5, 1851

in consideration of the occupied / congress’ mouth / shall blacksmith instructions

rights relinquish to
treaty wants

the Indians       /       the dollars
farms of sums       /       and chiefs

former peace of the country

a thousand thousands / set apart / by the boundaries of
Dakota | Minnesota

United the Sioux
the Rivers said

a spirituous reservation / bounded on the west / to balance out

conditions perpetual / with consent of / stricken

ten cents / acre
to force their hands in

Med-ay-wa-kan-toan and Wah-pay-koo-tay lands


black box(my ancestor) ■



This story is part of the Indigenous Rust Belt project, supported by Ohio Humanities.

Gillian Joseph (they/them) is a queer, 2-Spirit Ihaŋktoŋwaŋ and Mdewakaŋtoŋ Dakota storyteller who grew up as a guest on Waxhaw and Catawba lands. They work in Indigenous health education and are the author of Protector of the Beads: a Dakhota Poem (forthcoming from Wíyouŋkihipi Productions).

Cover image of the Traverse des Sioux by Lorie Shaull (creative commons).

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