Iowa History Daily: August 15 - The Neutral Ground

Iowa History Daily: On August 15, 1830, William Clark (of Lewis & Clark fame) completed negotiations at Prairie du Chien to establish a ‘Neutral Ground’ in northeastern Iowa between the Dakota and the Sauk/Meskwaki. Surveyed by Nathaniel Boone, the government moved the dispossessed Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) of Wisconsin into the area.

Following initial exploration of the Iowa Territory by military personnel and surveyors, the first Multinational Treaties took place in 1825. The resulting treaties established boundaries between Indigenous peoples throughout the upper-Midwest, including a ‘Neutral Line’ separating the Dakota, Sauk, Meskwaki, and Ioway. The Dakota continued to occupy villages on either side of the Neutral Line, including the village of Wabasha near modern day New Albin and Tahama’s village on the Upper Iowa River.

By 1830, a series of incidents including conflicts between the Dakota, Sauk, and Meskwaki necessitated a new treaty. Forcing cessions from the Dakota to the north of the line and the Sauk/Meskwaki to the south, the government moved toward the eventual establishment of the ‘Neutral Ground’ while hoping to limit conflict between the tribes.

In 1832, Nathan(iel) Boone started surveying the Neutral Ground in June, and government soon started to remove the Ho-Chunk into the area. As the Ho-Chunk arrived at the Yellow River in 1833, conflicts ensued with the Dakota, Sauk, and Meskwaki, necessitating the creation of Fort Atkinson in 1840. By 1848 the government would again move the Ho-Chunk, pushing the tribe to the Long Prairie Area in Minnesota. #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryCalendar


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