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National Historic Landmark KATHIO SITE

Location: Mille Lacs County, along U.S. 169, on Mille Lacs Lake at Vineland, North Kathio Township.

Ownership and Administration. State of Minnesota; Minnesota State Historical Society.

Significance. Kathio (Izatys) was the largest of three villages occupied at the beginning of the historic period by the Mdewakanton band of the Santee (or eastern) division of the Sioux, or Dakota. The first historical mention of the Sioux occurs in Jesuit annals in 1640, at which time nothing was known of them except that they were living in the vicinity of the Winnebagos. They had numerous contacts with the French in the following several decades, but not until 1679 did Daniel Greysolon, Sieur Dulhut (Duluth), make the first definite historical record of Kathio village.

Dulhut stated that he "had the honor to set up the arms of his Majesty in the great village of the Nadouessioux called Izatys." The role of this village in early French-Sioux relations is further demonstrated by the capture of Father Hennepin by the Sioux in the same year. He was freed from another village by Dulhut in 1680, whereupon they went to Kathio and warned the Indians of the danger they faced if they should harm Frenchmen.

Intertribal warfare resulting from European trade and colonization, which produced profound changes in the history of the native peoples of America, is reflected in the subsequent history of Kathio. White settlement impinged upon the Iroquois; at the same time, English and Dutch traders furnished them with firearms. The Iroquois pressed against the Chippewas. The Chippewas in turn, who had the advantage of French arms, attacked the Sioux, farther to the west, who at that time had to rely almost entirely upon the bow and arrow.

As early as the visit of Pierre Charles le Sueur to the Sioux, in 1700, they were moving westward in the face of persistent Chippewa attacks. The showdown, apparently, came in the 3-day Battle of Kathio, about 1740, as a result of which the Sioux lost their territory to the Chippewas. The Sioux moved south and west, where they figured prominently in the history of the Plains and the Rocky Mountain States; they displaced other groups just as they had been displaced by the Chippewas, who still live near Kathio.

Aboriginal materials recovered from the Kathio Site, identified as historic Mdewakanton Dakota-Sioux, corroborate the historic identification of the site as Izatys.

Present Appearance. The site is well preserved. Adjoining it is the Mille Lacs Indian Museum of the Minnesota State Historical Society. [36]

NHL Designation: 07/19/64

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Last Updated: 22-Mar-2005