Flandreau Indian Christian Community
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Wakpa
N 44° 04.096 W 096° 35.217
14T E 693244 N 4882286
Quick Description: This is the oldest continously used church in South Dakota. Started in 1870 and this building built in 1873.
Location: South Dakota, United States
Date Posted: 1/27/2007 9:43:39 PM
Waymark Code: WM163R
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member MNSearchers
Views: 26

Long Description:
The Flandreau area was always known to the Dakota Indains as an easy place to ford the Big Sioux River. They called this area Wakpa Ipaksan, (the Bend in the River). The Big Sioux River circles this marker starting a mile north flowing east and circling to a mile south of the marker. Because of the gravel bottom and gentle banks, they camped and used this area for hundreds of years. Old camp sites can still be discerned along the river valley. Since the uprising of 1862, it was illegal to be a Dakota Indian in Minnesota. But the Dakota, or woodland Sioux (not to be confused with their relatives on the plains the Lakota), were used to and loved the lakes and rivers of Minnesota and wanted to return. The banks of the Big Sioux River was as close as they dared get. Those families that left Santee, NB settled and took homesteads from about the Brookings County line running down the Big Sioux to the dells of Dell Rapids.
The church east of the marker has been in continous use since it was erected in 1873. It was restored to its original siding and bell tower in 2003 under a program started by Gov. Janklow using prison labor.
The cemetary is a walk through early South Dakota history. Many of the headstones were made with nearby sandstone and barely readable now.
The grave of Little Crow, the War Leader for 1862 Minnesota Uprising, is on the north end of the cemetary.
Marker Name: Flandreau Indian Christian Community

Marker Type: Roadside

Marker Text:
Flandreau Christian Indian Community For a quarter of a century before 1862 and its War of the Indian Outbreak in Minnesota, Santee Sioux had been accepting Christianity. With the killing of over 500 whites by the truculent minority, the Government hung 38, imprisoned over 300 at Davenport and the remaining 1,300 old men, women and children were transported by steamboat to the bleak and drought stricken Crow Creek Agency, set up in May 1863 at Ft. Thompson. Longfellow’s Evangeline is a parallel to this saga of separation, heartbreak and tragedy. Despite relief expeditions from Minnesota over 300 Santee’s died of malnutrition and exposure at Ft. Thompson that winter of 1863-64 and over 100 died at Davenport. The next two years were ones of continued tragedy. In 1866 the Ft. Thompson and Davenport groups were re-united at Santee agency at the mouth of the Niobrara. The one-third Christians had constant difficulty with the backward non-Christian brethren and in 1869 twenty-five families gave up tribal rights, annuities, everything to become citizens and acquire homesteads along the Sioux at Flandreau. They soon built their little Presbyterian Church in what was to become Flandreau and that fall were joined by 15 additional families. Among those making the break with tradition were Old Flute, All Over Red, Iron Dog, Big Eagle signers of the 1868 Treaty and Iron Old Man their acting pastor who perished in a blizzard enroute from Santee to Flandreau. John P. Williamson of that missionary family of preachers and teachers was their early guide, councilor, and protector at Ft. Thompson and Flandreau. This Church, built in 1873, is one of the oldest continuously used churches in South Dakota. The graveyard memorializes many of those early Christian names who shared in this hegira from Mankaton to Ft. Snelling, Ft. Thompson, Santee Agency terminating here. Erected 1956 by County Commissioners and State Highway Commission

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MNSearchers visited Flandreau Indian Christian Community 4/9/2007 MNSearchers visited it

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