Can you pass this test on Minnesota Native Americans?

John and Simone

A Not Too Hard Test On Minnesota Native Americans

If 99% of the people in Minnesota had to take a test about Indians in Minnesota in order to graduate from high school, 99% of Minnesotans would not have a high school diploma. I would be one of them and I think most of you would too.

There are lots of reasons why. I grew up in a town, for example, pretty much in the middle of two lakes both of which derived their names from Lakota words: Lake Tetonka and Lake Sakatah. No one ever bothered to tell me origin of the names because no one knew. What’s even worse, I never bothered to ask nor did any of my classmates.

Well, that was a long time ago and our knowledge has improved but most Minnesotans outside of Native Americans still know very little about our first indigenous people. How would you and I do on a rather basic test about Minnesota Native Americans? Let’s just say that in order to graduate from high school, you have to get at least 15 correct.

1. How many Federally recognized tribes are there in Minnesota? __________

2. Tribal gaming accounts for about _______________ direct paying jobs?

3. You often hear the term “Anishinabe” used to refer to Ojibwe people. Anishinabe means ___________.

4. The Prairie Island Indian community is located directly north of this city. a. Duluth, b. Brainerd, c. Mankato, d. Red Wing, e. none of the above.

5. Ojibwe people in Minnesota speak the ____________ language.

6. The three reservations surrounding Bemidji are: ________, _________, and _________.

7. Nett Lake is part of which reservation? a. Red Lake, b. Fond du Lac, c. Bois Forte, d. White Earth, e. none of the above.

8. A boat which goes to Isle Royale National Park departs from this reservation: a. Fond du Lac, b. Leech Lake, c. Lower Sioux, d. Grand Portage, e. none of the above.

9. This reservation is located within four counties in central Minnesota. It is the a. Mille Lacs, b. Red Lake, c. Shakopee-Mdewakanton, d. Upper Sioux, e. none of the above.

10. What college or university was the first institution in Minnesota to drop an Indian caricature mascot? Was it a. St. Cloud, b. U. of Minnesota at Duluth, c. Mankato, d. Bemidji, e. none of the above?

11. The Red Lake Schools are a. charter schools, b. Bureau of Indian Affair Schools, c. tribal schools, d. public schools, e. all of the above.

12. Boozhoo and Hau mean “hello” in what two languages? a. Spanish and Chippewa, b. Ojibway and Latin, c. Ojibwe and Dakota, d. Dakota and Spanish, and e. none of the above.

13. Which act had to do with the dismantling of Indian lands nation wide? a. Lincoln Act, b. Dawes Act, c. New Deal, d. Self-determination Act, e. none of the above.

14. Dakota and Lakota are very similar languages. True or False?

15. There is no difference between Chippewa, Ojibway, Ojibwe and Ojibwa. True or False?

16. Ojibwe artists are known for their beautiful beadwork, particularly floral design. True or False?

17. All of the Ojibwe tribes in Minnesota belong to the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. True or False?

18. The Ojibwe are pretty much limited to Minnesota and Wisconsin. True or False?

19. Another name for the indigenous people of Minnesota is: a. Norwegians, b. Germans, c. Indians, d. Scandinavians, e. all of the above.

20. “Minnesota” is derived from a Dakota word meaning: a. beautiful loon, b. paradise waters, c. sky-tinted water, d. placid waters, e. none of the above.

21. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act prohibits most states from taxing tribal casino revenues. True or False?

22. The name of the person who invented the “slider” in baseball is from the White Earth Reservation. His name is ______________.


1. eleven, 2. 20,000 jobs, 3. Original people, 4. Red Wing, 5. Ojibwe, 6. Red Lake, White Earth, Leech Lake, 7. c. Bois Forte, 8. d. Grand Portage, 9. a. Mille Lacs, 10. c. Mankato in 1971 (Indians to Mavericks), 11. d. Public Schools, 12. c. Ojibwe and Dakota, 13. b. Dawes Act., 14. True, 15. True (only in spelling), 16. True, 17. False (all except Red Lake), 18. False, 19. c. Indians, 20. c. sky tinted waters, 21. False (prohibits all states), 22. Charles Bender.

How did you do? Are you still in high school? Leech Lake Tribal College has a great course in Minnesota Indian culture and history. I need to sign up. (Thanks to Vicki Howard of Sanford Health and Diane Schwanz, retired Red Lake teacher, for the idea for this column.)


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