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Council Rock, Chief Drifting Goose Photo

Council Rock, Chief Drifting Goose

This region has a noble history that was first documented by Lewis and Clark in their journals. They recorded annual Indian tribal councils and trade fairs held at the Council Rock site. A marker is approx. 3 miles north of Redfield

The Sioux tribes established, near here, Council Rock as a central meeting place for all the bands. Using a black oviate rock measuring 6” x 11” surrounded by a circle of stones 15 feet in diameter, representatives of each tribe sat with feet extended toward the Council Rock to settle affairs of the Sioux nation. The site had religious significance and was maintained as a sanctuary from war and strife. As many as 3,000 Teton, Santee, Yankton and Yanktonai gathered here annually for a great Trade Fair, where goods were bartered among the tribes. Needy persons could always find supplies here.

Prehistoric Indian people selected this general area because of the protection afforded by the James River and the high elevation of the terrain.

The Council Stone site was first occupied by a people who constructed a village of dirt lodges. The James River, called Whitewoods by the Indians, served as a natural boundary as well as a convenient waterway for travel. The Yankton and Yanktonai bands of Sioux later located villages in the vicinity.

One famous leader, Chief Joseph Drifting Goose of the Hunkpati band of Yanktonai, occupied Armadale Island, located a few miles north of Fisher Grove on the James River. His confrontations with early white settlers are legendary.

To settle the issue, a 69,000 acre reservation was established in this vicinity. Subsequent appeasements allowed Drifting Goose's band to move to Fort Thompson on the Missouri River. The James Valley area was then opened for white settlement.

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