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Mille Lacs Kathio State Park, Onamia

#53 of 141 in Nature in Minnesota
State Park · Nature / Park
Mille Lacs Kathio State Park, also known as Kathio Site, is a Minnesota state park on Mille Lacs Lake. The park preserves habitation sites and mound groups, believed to date between 3000 BC and 1750 AD, that document Dakota Indian culture and Ojibwe-Dakota relationships. The park contains 19 identified archaeological sites, making it one of the most significant archaeological collections in Minnesota. The earliest site dates to the Archaic period and shows evidence of copper tool manufacture. The Dakota lived in this area roughly until the 18th century, when many bands of them were moving southward into the prairies and river areas of southern Minnesota. At the same time, Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) were moving in from the east. Ojibwe oral tradition, published by William Whipple Warren, suggests that there was a battle in which they successfully took control of the area from the Lakota.

Around the time of contact in the 1850s, loggers came to the area. The next 50 years resulted in a large quantity of trees being felled and floated down the Rum River or across Mille Lacs Lake to sawmills.

The name "Kathio" is actually a corruption of "Izatys", a name the Mdewakanton Dakota people gave themselves. Explorer Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut visited the area in 1679. He named the area "Izatys", but his poor handwriting led people to mistake the "Iz" as a "K". Further errors led to the name being transliterated to "Kathio".

The Kathio Historic District site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964.
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Mille Lacs Kathio State Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
55 reviews
  • Very nice heavily wooded State park with lots of trails. Campsites are very private! Friendly staff. Lots to do while in the area. Also has a National Historical Trail. Only con was the 3 plus...  more »
  • I stopped on my way home from another park, and I wasn't up for a long hike that late in the afternoon, but the landmark trail hike is a wonderful look into the history and ecology of the area and...  more »
  • We had a great weekend! Such beautiful fall colors and so much to do. I can not wait to go back this summer. The camp sites are nice and spread out. We stayed in 36 which was very secluded.
  • Great camping site with clean showers and bathroom. Campsites are far apart from each other which gives lot of privacy. Its surrounded by lot of tress so you wont feel heat on warm days. I booked the site at last minute and was one of my best experience.
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