Chief Sleepy Eyes

Chief Sleepy Eyes (HM1A2Y)

Location: Sleepy Eye, MN 56085 Brown County
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Country: United States of America
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N 44° 17.904', W 94° 43.383'

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[seal of the Minnesota Historical Society]


Sleepy Eyes, or Drooping Eyelids, was born about 1780 in a Sisseton Sioux Indian village at Swan Lake in Nicollet County. The Bureau of Indian Affairs commissioned him a chief in 1824. His fame was achieved not as a warrior or hunter but as a friend to explorers, traders, missionaries, and government officials.

Chief Sleepy Eyes signed several treaties - Prairie du Chien in 1825 and 1830, St. Peters (Mendota) in 1836, and finally, reluctantly, Traverse des Sioux in 1851.

Traditionally his band, often called the Swan Lake or Little Rock band, hunted over a broad area between Swan Lake and Coteau des Prairies in southwestern Minnesota and southeastern Dakota. After the Spirit Lake massacre in 1857, frightened settlers demanded that Sleepy Eyes' wandering band remain on reservation land along the Minnesota River. From 1857 to 1859 his chief village was at Sleepy Eye Lake, near this plaque.

Sleepy Eyes died about 1860 while hunting in Roberts County, South Dakota, and is not to be confused with a nephew of the same name who was implicated in the uprising in 1862. In 1898 the old chief's grave was located, and in 1902 he was re-buried on this site near his last home.

Sponsored by Brown County Historical Society
HM NumberHM1A2Y
Series This marker is part of the Minnesota Historical Society series, and the Minnesota State Monuments series.
Historical Period19th Century, 18th Century
Historical PlaceTown, Other
Marker TypeMemorial
Marker ClassHistorical Marker
Marker StyleFree Standing
Year Placed1964
Placed ByMinnesota Historical Society, Brown County Historical Society
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 at 4:35am PDT -07:00
Locationbig map
Location DescriptionLocated in the area near the old Sleepy Eye RR depot. There is also a Minnesota State Monument here that was erected in Chief Sleepy Eye's honor. There is a nearby park that contains a sculpture of the chief.
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15T E 362549 N 4906459
Decimal Degrees44.29840000, -94.72305000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 44° 17.904', W 94° 43.383'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds44° 17' 54.2400" N, 94° 43' 22.9800" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)507
Can be seen from road?Yes
Is marker in the median?No
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 100-198 Oak St NW, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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