The study area was originally home to the Dakota. During the 1800s, the Ojibwe moved south and west out of their native areas in upper Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. They pushed the Dakota people across the Mississippi and claimed central Minnesota (including part of the study area) as Ojibwe land. The dividing line between the two peoples ran along the Mississippi River and the study area returned to neutral ground by the mid 1800s. In fact, “the name Anoka was derived from two Indian words, the Dakota word A-NO-KA-TAN-HAN meaning on both sides of the river, and the Ojibwe wordON-O-KAY, meaning working waters”.
Europeans had first visited the area in 1680, but had not established a constant presence until the mid 1850s. During the Wagon and Horse Era (until 1850) settlement had not reached the study era. There were Europeans in northern Minnesota participating in the lumber and fur trade, but settlement did not accelerate until the railroad transportation system improved and connected the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area to existing urban centers and the rest of the growing West.
Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education
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