The Department of Natural Resources is accepting public comments through Feb. 10 on an environmental assessment involving 125 acres of land at the Lower Sioux Agency, a history center near Morton in south-central Minnesota.
Under the proposal, the land would be removed from federal Land and Water Conservation Fund designation so that it could be enrolled in trust for the benefit of the Lower Sioux Indian Community. As part of the process, an environmental assessment must be prepared and submitted to the National Park Service.
The DNR is coordinating this process on behalf of the Minnesota Historical Society, which has co-managed the Lower Sioux Agency history center, along with the tribe. The Historical Society intends to convey portions of the Lower Sioux Agency to the Lower Sioux Indian Community. The Minnesota Legislature authorized the conveyance in 2017. The site is located along County State Aid Highway 2 in Redwood County.
The Lower Sioux Agency history center and other sites, markers and museums in the Minnesota River Valley provide perspective on the U.S. Dakota War of 1862. Since 2009, the Historical Society and Lower Sioux Indian Community have had a partnership that has resulted in more opportunities for public engagement, and has doubled attendance at the historic site.
Following the proposed land conversion, the site would continue to be open to the public. The Historical Society would remain actively engaged with the Lower Sioux Indian Community in preservation, interpretation, and community outreach. The LSIC has plans for year-round programming and expanding cultural reclamation efforts.
A copy of the environmental assessment is available online. Copies may be requested by calling 651-259-5115.
Written comments must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10, to the attention of Cynthia Novak-Krebs, project manager, Environmental Policy and Review Unit, DNR Ecological and Water Resources Division, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4025.
Electronic or email comments may be sent to [email protected] with “Lower Sioux Agency” in the subject line. Written comments may also be sent by fax to 651-296-1811.