The city of Osakis is located on Lake Osakis which is in both Douglas and Todd County. It is approximately one hundred and twenty-five miles from the state’s capital, St. Paul. There are one thousand six hundred and fifteen people that reside in the city of Osakis. The majority of Osakis is in Douglas County, but a small part of the city extends into Todd County. Osakis is situated on the southwest shore of Lake Osakis on Minnesota State Highway 27. It is about one mile from exit 114 off Interstate 94. (NAR Alpha, 2008)
The city of Osakis has not always been a town of luxurious resorts and motels that cater to its tourists. Rich with Indian heritage Osakis was once the home to the Dakota and Ojibwa tribes. You can find evidence of Indian villages all around the lake. Remains of a hunter found in Osakis provide that people lived, or at least visited, this area of Minnesota eight to twelve thousand years ago. Osakis lies right on the border line between Dakota and Ojibwa territory which made it a battle ground for the two tribes. One famous skirmish is still remembered by the local people and an interesting, but false, legend was created on how the name “Osakis” came to be. Many areas in Osakis, such as, Buck Point, Battle Point, and Didier’s Corner were named after Native American stories.
In the early 1800’s, the upper Mississippi river basin was explored by Nicholas Nicollet, a French geographer. When his map was published in 1843, the lake and rivers leading into and out of the lake were labeled “Osakis”. A controversial fact of Osakis history is that of the Vikings. Some believe that the Vikings were in central Minnesota some 500 years before the first settlement. They point to certain evidence of Viking exploration, like, the Kensington Runestone landmark, located in Alexandria, and the Viking Alters Rock.
Not until 500 years after the Vikings supposedly came, did the first white settlers arrive in Osakis. Mary Gordon and her family settled...