Sandy Lake Band of Mississippi Chippewa

GAAMIITAWANGAGAAMAG, "Lake of the Sandy Waters"

This is the official website of the Sandy Lake Band of Mississippi Ojibwe, and it is owned and maintained by the Sandy Lake Band of Mississippi Ojibwe and it’s tribal members.

It’s purpose is to provide a voice for the Sandy Lake Band to inform he world who we are and what we are trying to accomplish as a tribe, which is to restore our federal recognition so we can continue to maintain our historic presence and culture in Anishinabe akiing and provide a better life for our future generations.

Historic and Distinct

Sandy Lake Band's history as an Indian Group can be traced to the 1730s, when westward Ojibwe expansion reached beyond the Great Lakes to the Sandy Lake area of what is now Aitkin County in Minnesota.

The Sandy Lakers played a vital role in establishing a permanent Ojibwe presence in the north-central Minnesota region.

The Sandy Lake Band strategically made its home on the historic Mississippi water route - rich in wild rice and game - and the legendary Savanna Portage, which linked the Mississippi and Great Lakes drainage systems. This important transportation network hosted the exploratory travels of notables like David Thompson, Zebulon Pike, Lewis Cass, and Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, to name a few, who all wrote about the Sandy Lake Ojibwe.

Traders and government officials did business with the Sandy Lakers; and missionary activity at Sandy Lake went on for decades. In fact, the first school in what is now Minnesota was established at Sandy Lake by Rev. Frederick Ayer and his wife in 1831. Prominent missionaries like Ely, Hall, Pierz, Spates, and Whipple speak of the Sandy Lake Band in their correspondences and memoirs. The British Northwest Company and the American Fur Company established posts there in 1794 and 1826 respectively.

Treaties - Executive Order

The Sandy Lake Chiefs and Headsmen were signatories to ten (10) treaties with the United States beginning in 1825 and ending in 1867 during the 1871 treaty-making period. The original Sandy Lake Indian Reservation, was created by the Treaty of Feb. 22, 1855 (10 Stat., 1165), included all of what is now called Big Sandy Lake and a surrounding land area. The reserved tract at Sandy Lake is specifically described in the treaty document.

Federal Restoration

At the time of the Wheeler-Howard Act of 1934, six Ojibwe bands were formed and were reorganized under the general heading of the ‘Minnesota Chippewa Tribe’. During this reorganization period, the Bureau of Indian Affairs for ‘administrative convenience’ places the Sandy Lake Reservation under the auspices of another reservation despite distinct separate cultures, history, traditions, and leaders to include a 75 mile distance.

Tribal Government


Sandy Lake Tragedy & Memorial

One hundred and fifty years after the Sandy Lake tragedy, the descendants of the 1850 annuity bands gathered to dedicate a memorial to those who suffered and died. Perched on a glacial mound overlooking Sandy Lake, the Mikwendaagoziwaag Memorial is situated near the resting places of the Ojibwe of 1850. The memorial stands as a tribute and invites visitors to reflect on the past. The late Sandy Lake Band Chairwoman Sandra Skinaway was invited to assist in the design and logistics of the memorial from its inception until her passing in 2021.

Sandy Lake Band of Mississippi Chippewa

P.O Box , McGregor, MN 55760

218.760.1395.  Email:

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