Through treaty negotiations, the Ho-Chunk or Winnebago moved their homes to Blue Earth County in 1855, and by 1863 they were gone. Parts of what would become Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois had been their homeland for centuries. European explorers first contacted the Ho-Chunk near Green Bay, Wisconsin in 1614.
More than 2,000 Ho-Chunk resettled on a reservation located in present-day townships McPherson, Medo, Beauford, Decoria, Lyra, Rapidan and parts of South Bend, Mankato and LeRay. The Dakota welcomed the Ho-Chunk Nation when they arrived in Mankato with a celebration and feast. The goal of the U. S. government was to make the people self-sufficient farmers. By 1859, the Office of Indian Affairs felt the Ho-Chunk were making great progress and could succeed as individuals.
At the close of the U.S. Dakota War of 1862, a fearful white community called for the removal of the Ho-Chunk reservation in Blue Earth County. On April 10, 1863, the Ho-Chunk were informed that they had to leave their homes once again. They were then relocated to Fort Thompson, South Dakota. Following this, land was purchased from the Omaha Tribe in Northeast Nebraska where they remain to this day.