Review – Dakota Conflict Video

 Produced by Twin City Public Television, 1993
Reviewed on November 29, 2011

 General Comments

  • Unbalanced – Focuses mainly on the hostile Dakota
  • Unbalanced – Does not discuss traditional Dakota warfare
  • Unbalanced – Does not discuss what happened to the whites after the war
  • Incorrect – “The Dakota” are not defined – They appear to be the 4 eastern bands
  • Incorrect – Statements are made about the Dakota that did not apply to all Dakota 
     

Most Objectionable Statements

Largest mass execution in the history of the United States
—Incorrect – This was the largest simultaneous mass execution.

The two most tragic events in U. S. history were slavery and the holocaust of American Indians in the West.
—Incorrect – What happened to the Dakota in 1862 was not Holocaust.

For years…the Dakota watched their children go hungry.
—Incorrect – This is not true.

Dakota name for white people is Wasicun. This means “takes the fat.”
—Incorrect – According to Riggs’ Dakota dictionary, Wasicun means white man or spirit.
—Disrespectful – This later revised translation is intended to be derogatory.

Mayer went to Traverse des Sioux to witness signing of the treaty between the U.S. and the eastern Dakota Tribes.
—Incorrect – Only the Sisseton and Wahpeton bands signed the treaty of Traverse des Sioux.

The Dakota moved with the seasons and the food supply.
—Incorrect – They moved out from a base village at various times and returned to their base.

In 1851, the Sisseton and Wahpeton lived on the shores of Big Stone Lake.
—Incorrect – Not all of the Sisseton and Wahpeton lived on Big Stone Lake.

Sioux means snake.
—Incorrect – It also means enemy.

Sibley married the daughter of a chief.
—Incorrect – Her father was a headsman in the Black Dog village.

Since the time of Thomas Jefferson, fur traders were encouraged by the government to encourage large debts so Indians would have to sell their land to pay debts. 
—Incorrect – Show proof that this was U.S. Indian policy.

In Minnesota, the Dakota signed a treaty – traders knew they could settle their debts at a substantial profit.
—Incorrect and disrespectful – Prove that the traders settled their debts at a substantial profit.

“Missionaries came up the river to “deal” at Traverse des Sioux.
—Incorrect – They did not come to deal at TDS – they came to assist.

It was a wonder how so much champagne found its way into the wilderness.
—Incorrect – The champagne was there for David Faribault’s wedding

Owning the land was a strange idea to the Dakota People.
—Incorrect – Villages claimed land and defended it

Ramsey was the leader at TDS in 1851.
—Incorrect – Ramsey and Luke Lea were the commissioners. Lea was the new head of Indian Affairs and likely outranked Ramsey.

The commissioners at Mendota said Great Father will come with 100,000 men and drive you off to the Rocky Mountains.
—Incorrect – This partial quote is taken out of context.

The traders claimed most of the money from the 1851 Treaties.
—Incorrect – Prove that the traders were given most of this money.
—Incorrect and disrespectful – They claimed what was owed to them.

At TDS, they pulled me by the blanket and made me sign another paper.  It was not explained to me at all.
—Incorrect – There were Dakota there who knew what they were signing.

The commissioners could not write into Indian Treaties a major pay-off to the traders.
—Incorrect – The traders’ paper was separate from the treaty.

In Washington, the Senate struck out the clause giving the Dakota a permanent home.
—But, in the 1858, they were given ownership to the reservations on the south side of the Minnesota River.

No one knows what promises were made to get the Indians to sign the TDS Treaty.
—Incorrect – The Sisseton and Wahpeton wanted a treaty.

The Dakota slowly made their way to the Minnesota River valley and their new home.
—Incorrect – Many of the western Dakota villages were already on their reservation.

One of the first things the Germans did in New Ulm was to build a brewery.
—Why is this important?

The Dakota called Germans bad speakers.
—What does this mean? Was this a derogatory term or was it because the Dakota were not familiar with the German language?

The Dakota thought the Germans were bad neighbors.
—Incorrect and disrespectful – Not all Dakota thought the Germans were bad neighbors.
—Unbalanced – What did the Germans think about the Dakota?

The Germans did not learn Dakota words.
—Incorrect and disrespectful – Look at Helen Tarble’s narrative.
—Unbalanced – How many Dakota learned German words?

The Germans didn’t share food.
—Incorrect and disrespectful- There were Germans who shared.
—Incorrect – It was not their responsibility to feed the Indians.
—Unbalanced – Did the Indians share when the Germans were hungry?

The Germans built on land belonging to the Dakota.
Survey lines were redrawn to permit them to stay.
—Why did they build on land belonging to the Dakota?
—Incorrect – Prove that survey lines were redrawn to permit them to stay.

8,000 Dakota were in villages on the Reservations.
—Incorrect – The 1861 annuity censuses showed a total of about 6300 Dakota.

Promises in treaties weren’t kept very well.
—What does this mean?

Most food shipments rarely made it past St. Paul.
—Incorrect – Show proof of this.

What food did come was usually spoiled.
—Incorrect – Show proof of this.

Dakota saw that missionaries cared about them only if they would change.
—Incorrect – Prove this. The missionaries provided what they could to all of their Dakota neighbors.

A quote is given by Chief Big Eagle.
—Incorrect – This partial quote is taken out of context.

Joseph R. Brown married a Dakota woman.
—Incorrect – Brown’s wife was part white.

Brown was determined to turn Dakota into farmers. This served to divide the Dakota.
—Incorrect – By signing treaties, Dakota leaders agreed that their people should learn farming.
—Incorrect and disrespectful – This makes Brown appear to be the cause of the division. Dakota people who opposed those who wanted to be farmers were creating the division.

Lt. Sheehan said this country was too good for Indians.
—Why does this matter what Sheehan thought except that reservation land was good land?

In the 1858 Treaties, the Indians would be moved to the south side of the river. The Dakota were shocked that they owned nothing. The offer was $1.25 an acre – Congress reduced this to 30 cents an acre. When all was done, the traders took all their money.
—Incorrect – No villages had to move.
—Incorrect – The Dakota knew in the 1851 Treaty that they owned nothing.
—Incorrect – Why does it matter what the offer was and what the eventual price was? They were being paid for land on the north side of the river that they did not own.
—Incorrect and disrespectful – The traders did not get all their money.
—Unbalanced – As a result of the 1858 treaties, they owned the reservation land on the south side of the river.

Sarah Wakefield’s account of traders at payment table
Indians gave up all of their money not knowing if the traders were correct. One Indian swallowed his coins so traders would not get them.
—Disrespectful – Implies the traders were cheating the Indians.
—Disrespectful – Implies that the Indians were unintelligent.
—Incorrect – Because one man swallowed his coins does not mean they all did.

In 1861, cutworms destroyed their corn crops.
—Incorrect – Not all of their crops were destroyed

In 1862, since the whites moved in, the deer and game had all but disappeared.
—What does this mean? The whites hunted on non-reservation land. The Dakota hunted on reservation and non-reservation land.

The traders laid claims to their money. The traders clamped off credit.
—Incorrect and disrespectful – The traders claimed what was owed. If TPT has prove that fur traders were cheating the Indians, please show this proof and name the traders.

—Incorrect and disrespectful – Not all of the traders stopped giving credit.

On or about August 4, 1862, at the Upper Sioux Agency, Galbraith refused to issue food because he knew their hunger would force them to honor the traders’ claims.
—Absolutely incorrect and disrespectful.
—Incorrect – Galbraith did issue food to the Upper Indians within a few days of the 4th.

Myrick said “…if they are hungry, let them eat grass or their own dung.”
—Incorrect and disrespectful – Why did Myrick say this?

4 young men of Shakopee’s band were hunting north of the reserve.
—Incorrect – They were members of Red Middle Voice’s village.

A Dakota elder’s account of Acton
Dakota went into a hen house. The farmer’s wife chased them off with a broom. She hit one over the head. He went back and killed her.
—Incorrect – This is only one of many versions of this story.

Over 100 warriors went to Little Crow – The payments are late. Our people are starving.
—Incorrect – The causes of the war are many and complicated.
—Incorrect – Not all of the Dakota were starving.

Captain Marsh left Fort Ridgely with 46 men.
—Incorrect – He left with 47 men.

Milford was built on land claimed by the Dakota.
If captives were taken, they were women and children.
—Incorrect – Some of the Milford settlers were on reservation land.
—Incorrect – No captives were taken in Milford.

The Dakota were split – Some didn’t know if they wanted to fight and die like a man or starve like an animal.
—Incorrect – Not all were starving.
—Incorrect – The majority opposed war with the whites.

400 warriors at most attacked Fort Ridgely twice.
Fighting was ended by thunder storm.
—Incorrect – It is estimated 800 Dakota were in the 2nd attack.
—Incorrect – A thunderstorm did not end the fighting on either day.

A photo of the mission party is shown, and states John Otherday led them to safety.
—Incorrect – John Otherday did not lead the mission party.

On August 23, 600 warriors attacked New Ulm. There was hand-to-hand fighting. All buildings outside the barricades were burned. 2000 fled from New Ulm.
—Incorrect – There was also an attack on New Ulm on August 19.
—Is this correct? – Was there hand-to-hand fighting?
—Is this correct? -Were all buildings outside the barricades burned?

The public was outraged over how slow Sibley moved.  He took days to travel what normally took hours. On August 28, Sibley finally arrived at Fort Ridgely. Quotes are given from Jane Swisshelm.
—Incorrect – No one can say that the “public” was outraged.
—Incorrect – He did not take days to travel what normally took hours.
—Disrespectful and unbalanced – Why did Sibley move so slowly?

Governor Ramsey said that the Sioux Indians must be exterminated or forever driven beyond the borders of the State.
—More than 650 innocent men, women and children had been killed by hostile Dakota. The public blamed all Indians for this. Ramsey was representing public opinion.

As warriors returned from Wood Lake, they released over 100 white prisoners to the friendly Indians.
—Incorrect – The hostages were taken by friendly Dakota during the Battle of Wood Lake.
—Unbalanced – Does not discuss the bravery of the friendly Indians who rescued the hostages.

General Pope had just been humiliated in the 2nd battle of Bull Run.
—What does this matter?

Sibley promised he would punish only those who had killed civilians. Pope had other ideas.
—Did Sibley promise to punish only those who had killed civilians?
—What does this mean? Pope had other ideas.

Under cover of darkness, Sibley surrounded the Indian camp and disarmed and took all the men as prisoners.  They were chained.
—Incorrect – Sibley did not disarm and take of the men as prisoners in this fashion.
—Incorrect – They were not chained at this time.

Sibley set up trials in Francois LaBathe’s Store.
—Incorrect – The trials started at Camp Release.
—Unbalanced – Does not discuss the Dakota trial system. What would have happened had the hostile Dakota broken through the barricades at New Ulm and Fort Ridgely?

Believing they would be treated as prisoners of war, the Dakota were proud to say they had fought in battles.
—What does this mean?

They marched to Fort Snelling – Guarded by soldiers.
Graphic quote of Samuel Brown about baby killed in Henderson and placed in a tree
—Incorrect – The soldiers were not guarding them.  The soldiers were protecting them.
—Unbalanced – Where are the graphic details of the murders of white babies?

Death toll of war was over 500 whites.
—Incorrect – The death toll was over 650 whites.

Mendota is where life began for Mdewakanton.This is where Mother Earth gave birth to our ancestors. This was Eden to the Dakota people
—Incorrect – There are several Dakota creation stories.
—Incorrect – Dakota people call earth, father, mother and grandmother. Which is correct?

At Fort Snelling, they were burying dead every day from sunrise to sunset.
—Incorrect – The official count states that 102 died here.
—Incorrect – The majority died during the early part of their stay.
—Unbalanced – What about the hundreds of whites who died after the war?

The steamboat Favorite passed St. Paul with men from Mankato without stopping.
—Incorrect – The steamboat landed near the Fort Snelling camp to unload Dakota men who had been found innocent and others.

The “Human cargo” was loaded on the steamboats.  Citizens of St. Paul throw rocks at the Indians as the steamboats departed.
—Incorrect – Not all of the Dakota at Fort Snelling were removed on steamboats.

Quotes about how bad Crow Creek was
—Unbalanced – What about the whites after the war?

1863 Sibley and Sully punitive expedition
Whitestone Hill Battle and Sam Brown’s quote about Whitestone
—Unbalanced – What happened to the whites after the war?
—Unbalanced – Why is Sam Brown’s quote about Whitestone given and no quotes about what the Indians did to the whites during the war are given?

The treaty payments were cancelled and the Dakota land taken.
—Incorrect – Dakota descendants were paid later for land and annuities taken in 1863.

Bounties were offered for Dakota scalps.
—Incorrect – Indians were still returning to Minnesota and killing people.
—Unbalanced – Indians also offered bounties for white scalps.

Lamson was in his cornfield when he shot Little Crow
—Incorrect – Lampson did not own this field.
—Incorrect – This was not a cornfield.

Shakopee and Medicine Bottle were drugged in Canada and brought across the border. They were tried and denied legal council.
—Is this correct? – Were they denied legal council?
—Unbalanced – If the white trial system is discussed, then the Dakota trial system needs to be discussed – There wasn’t one.

Forced acculturation practiced in Minnesota was official government policy by the turn of the century.
—Incorrect – The Dakota were not forced to acculturate

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