This thesis explores the relationships between three groups of people on the mid-nineteenth century Minnesota frontier: evangelical Protestant missionaries, the Dakota who converted to the Christian faith and lifestyle taught by these missionaries, and the Dakota who remained traditional in their outlook and lifestyle. It does this through an analysis of the impact of these relationships on the development of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. As is made clear through the use of both primary and secondary sources, the missionaries helped create tensions within the Dakota community, tensions expressed through shifting social structures, argument, alienation, and, at times, violence. As traditional Dakota begin and conduct their war against the government and Euroamerican settlers, hoping to reclaim what they have lost, they regard the converted Dakota as their enemies as well, and expand the war to include attacks against them.


Rhonda R. Dass

First Committee Member

Lori A. Lahlum

Second Committee Member

Ronald C. Schirmer

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)




Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



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