Dakota Superintendency of Indian Affairs
The records of the Dakota Superintendency relate to almost all aspects of Indian administration including negotiation and enforcement of treaties, Indian delegations, annuity and other payments, intrusions on Indian lands, hostilities and depredations, enforcement of federal laws and regulations, traders and licenses, contracts, claims, location of agencies, construction and repair of buildings, purchase and transportation of goods and supplies, furnishing food and other subsistence to Indians, Indian education and farming, medical supplies and health, agency accounts and employees, general conditions among the Indian tribes, locations of Indian bands, hunting, and inter-tribal relations.
The Dakota Superintendency was created in 1861. Since 1851 the Indians in the Dakota Territory area had been under the Central Superintendency, which had received responsibility for Indians in Dakota from the St. Louis Superintendency. The Indians in Dakota most mentioned in this correspondence are the Brulé, Yankton, Miniconjou, Sans Arc, Two Kettle, Blackfeet, Hunkpapa, Yanktonai, Yankton, Cut Head, Mandan, Ponca, Crow, Blood, Piegan, and Grosventre. Localities are South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, and Wyoming.
The Superintendency was discontinued in 1870, but was revived in April, 1877. It took charge of the Standing Rock (formerly Grand River), Cheyenne River, Crow Creek, Lower Brulé, Yankton, Red Cloud, and Spotted Tail (formerly Whetstone) Agencies.
The Superintendency was abolished in June, 1878.
Records for Superintendencies exist in the National Archives and copies of many of them are also available in other research facilities.
Bands of Sioux including: Hunkpapa, Ogalala, yankton, Blackfee, Brule, Siseton, Wahpeton, Yanktonai, Sans Ars, Miniconjou, Two Kettles (Oochenonpa), Cut Head (Pabaska), and Santee.
Governors, Ex Officio Superintendents
Agencies and subagencies were created as administrative offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and its predecessors. Their purpose was (and is) to manage Indian affairs with the tribes, to enforce policies, and to assist in maintaining the peace. The names and location of these agencies may have changed, but their purpose remained basically the same. Many of the records of genealogical value (for the tribe and tribal members) were created by and maintained by the agencies.
Agencies at the time of the establishment of the Superintendency in 1861 and tribes for which they were responsible were the:
- Blackfeet Agency, Fort Benton, Montana -- for the Blackfeet, Piegan, Blood, and Grosventre Indians
- Ponca Agency in Nebraska -- for the Ponca Indians
- Upper Missouri Agency -- for Sioux and other Indians including the Mandan, Arikara, Assiniboin, and Grosventre in the Upper Missouri Area
- Yankton Agency in South Dakota for the Yankton Indians
Between 1861 and 1870, the following Agencies were added to the Dakota Superintendency:
- Fort Berthold Agency became responsible for the Mandan, Arikara, Assiniboin, and Crow Indians who lived on the Upper Missouri
- Grand River Agency served the Yanktonai, Cut Head, Hunkpapa and Blackfeet Sioux
- Cheyenne River Agency received the Sans Arc, Two Kettle, Miniconjou, and some of the Blackfeet Sioux
- Crow Creek Agency was responsible for the Yanktonai and Brulé
- Whetstone Agency had the responsibility for Chief Spotted Tail's Brulé.
Records of the Dakota Superintendent of Indian Affairs, 1860-1878, are at the National Archives and have been microfilmed as their Microcopy Number M1016. Copies are also available at the Denver Regional Archives and at the University of Arizona. This same set of microfilm of the records of the Dakota Superintendency are also available at the Family History Library and its family history centers.
Letters received by the Office of Indian Affairs from the Dakota Superintendency, 1851-1880, have been microfilmed by the National Archives as part of their Microcopy Number M234. Copies are available at the National Archives and at the Family History Library and its family history centers on their microfilm roll numbers 1660980 thru 1661003.
- The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches. By Edward E. Hill. Clearwater Publishing Co., New York, NY ©1974. FHL Book 970.1 H551o
Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches. New York, New York: Clearwater Press, .
Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington [District of Columbia]: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1981.
Historical Sketches for Jurisdictional and Subject Headings Used for the Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880. National Archives Microcopy T1105.
Preliminary Inventory No. 163: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Washington, DC: