Review – Composite I-a Speeches

Composite I-a Speeches (1991-January 2013)
Updated on March 17, 2016

 Items of Interest

 From 1991 to January of 2013, I attended some 55 speeches. Rather than review each speech separately and comment on the same statements over and over, I decided to combine these speeches into a “Composite speech.”  I tried to eliminate duplicate statements. Related statements, separated by hyphens, are combined into paragraphs. I added some words to keep the original meanings of these statements. In some cases, I suspect the statement is wrong but cannot prove this at this time. These statements are identified with my statement, “Is this correct?”  The Composite Speech is divided into 2 parts. The 1st part contains statements on events prior to the Dakota War. The 2nd part contains statements starting with the Dakota War.

 General Comments

  •  Many speakers assume the audience is already familiar with this history.
  • Disrespectful – According to most speakers, the fur traders and the U.S. Government are criticized without providing proof.
  • Listeners should not believe everything a speaker says. Professor William Lass said that the historian needs to be skeptical. The listener also needs to be skeptical.
  • Beware the politician who claims to be a historian. 

Most Objectionable Statements

The Dakota were created between St. Anthony Falls and the mouth of the Minnesota River. – The Dakota believe they came out of the land. – When the Creator made the world, Dakota spirits travelled from the spirit world to Bdote. – The mouth of the Minnesota River was the place of our origin. They spread out to different parts of the U.S. – Dakota believe they came from Mille lacs Lake, Pike Island and Camp Coldwater Springs. They came from different places just as the whites did.
—Incorrect – For many years, Mille lacs Lake was the Dakota creation place. Pike Island and Camp Coldwater are recent creation places. I believe they were added because some Dakota people want historic Fort Snelling and the Camp Coldwater property returned to the Dakota.
—For more information on the word Bdote see “Definitions” on the top bar.

The Dakota were Minnesota’s first inhabitants. – The entire state was Dakota Country. – All mounds in Minnesota contain Dakota remains.
—Incorrect – It cannot be proven that the Dakota were Minnesota’s first inhabitants.
—Incorrect – It cannot be proven that the Dakota at one time inhabited all of Minnesota.
—Incorrect – It cannot be proven that every mound in the state has Dakota remains.

The Dakota never took more than needed.
—Incorrect – Read Hennepin’s account of his visit to the present day Minnesota area. Dakota drove buffalo into the Mississippi River to kill them and cut out only their tongues.

The Dakota did not understand land ownership.
—Incorrect – They did not believe that an individual could own land, but as a group they certainly claimed land and defended this land.

The Dakota and Ojibway were always fighting
—Incorrect – At times in their history, they were not at war.

The economy of reciprocity with nature changed to reciprocity with the fur traders. – The French traders needed the Dakota more than the Dakota needed the French traders.
—Incorrect – The Dakota were trading long before the fur traders arrived. They certainly understood trading value for value.
—Incorrect – The fur trade was a mutually beneficial relationship.

The first missionaries came in 1837. – Missionaries came to save Dakota from destruction so they could be converted to Christians. – Missionaries in the beginning saw Dakota language as temporary. – They viewed hunting as idleness. – They worked with the U.S. to destroy Dakota culture. – They had little to show for their efforts.
—Incorrect – The first missionaries arrived in 1834.
—Incorrect – The missionaries came to Christianize and civilize the Dakota.
—Incorrect – The missionaries saw the Dakota language as necessary. This is why they created a written Dakota language and a Dakota dictionary.
—Incorrect – They viewed hunting as an occupation that was inferior to farming as a way of providing food.
—Incorrect – They sought to Christianize and civilize the Dakota. There is much more to culture than this. I do not find that they were working with the U.S.
—Incorrect – After the war, in the Dakota camps at Mankato and Fort Snelling, there were mass conversions to Christianity.

The Dakota never broke treaties.
—Incorrect – The Mdewakanton broke the Treaty of 1858 by going to war.

Manifest Destiny means the U.S. had the God given right to take the land. – Huge amounts of land were taken from the Dakota. – The Dakota got pennies for their land – In 1803, President Jefferson wrote that we shall push our trading houses so they go into debt and are forced to sell their land.
—Incorrect – The Dakota chose to sell their land.
—Incorrect – The Dakota got more than pennies for their land.
—Incorrect – Prove that a statement made by Jefferson in 1803 ever became U.S. policy.

The real point was to make money off them. When the game gave out, tribes often suffered starvation and had to sell their land to pay their debts. – The U.S. deceived the Dakota with treaties and forced them on to reservations where they would starve. – Everyone was in cahoots to get the Dakota land. – Agents and traders made their living off the treaties. – The traders got most of their money.
—Disrespectful – Name who was making money off the Indians and show proof.
—Incorrect – The game gave out because the Dakota over-hunted to obtain fur trade goods.
—Incorrect – They had to sell their land because they were hungry.
—Unbalanced – What if the U.S. had killed the Dakota and took their land like the Dakota did to other tribes? That the Dakota got anything at all should be a credit to the U.S.
—Incorrect – The Dakota leaders agreed to move to reservations.
—Incorrect – The plan was not to starve them. Show that this was U.S. policy.
—Disrespectful – The Dakota continued to buy things from the traders on credit. How would the traders have gotten their money if not for the treaties?
—Disrespectful – Show that “the Agents” made money off the treaties. Show that “everyone was in cahoots.”
—Incorrect – The traders got what was owed. They did not get most of the Dakota money except in 1858 when they got most of the Lower Dakota money for debts owed.

The U.S. was bound by the treaties to protect the Indians. – Federal gold was boon to whites and a bust to the Dakota. – Dakota treaties are still in effect today.
—Is this correct that the U.S. was bound to protect the Indians?
—Is this correct that gold was a boon to the whites and not to the Dakota.
—Is this correct that treaties are still in effect today? We have not been paid for the land ceded in the Treaty of 1805.
—Incorrect – The Dakota descendants have been paid for land ceded in the 1805 Treaty. When soldiers came to build Fort Snelling, the Dakota allowed this thereby accepting the terms of the 1805 Treaty.

The first treaty was in 1837. – The 1837 Treaty was first treaty that ceded land after the Treaty of 1805. – The 1851 Treaty was the first treaty with the Dakota.
—Incorrect – The first treaty was in 1805.
—Incorrect – The 1830 Treaty was the first treaty that ceded land.

In the 1851 Treaty, 24,000,000 acres were ceded.
—Incorrect – There were 2 treaties in 1851.
—Incorrect – No one knows for sure how many acres were ceded.

Sibley was deeply in debt so he wanted a treaty. He got his money and became a rich man.
—Disrespectful – Sibley wanted what was owed him.
—Incorrect – Sibley biographer Rhoda Gilman said Sibley at best broke even in the fur trade.

Joseph R. Brown had a reputation for doing Sibley’s dirty work. Brown set up the trader papers. Through this, the traders could take anything they wanted.
—What does this mean that Brown had a reputation for doing Sibley’s dirty work?
—Disrespectful – This is an exaggeration that the traders could take anything.

Madison Sweetzer claimed that Ramsey committed fraud in the treaties.
—Incorrect – Madison Sweetzer was angry at Ramsey and others for trying to exclude him from getting his debts paid. More needs to be said on this.

The U.S. got the land for 10 cents an acre.
—Incorrect – Much has been said on how cheaply the U.S. got the land. This is said to show that the U.S. cheated the Indians. First, it is not known how many acres were ceded. Without this information, it cannot be determined how much was paid per acre. Second, no mention is made that following the Treaties of 1851, the Dakota did not own their reservations, but in 1858, the U.S. gave them the south half of their reservations and paid them again for the north half. And finally, no one mentions anything about how the Dakota obtained the land. They killed members of other tribes and took their land. The U.S. used liquor to get Indians to sign treaties.

There was a large quantity of champagne present at Traverse des Sioux.
—Is this correct that the U.S. used liquor? —Incorrect – There was champagne at Traverse des Sioux because of the David Faribault/Nancy McClure wedding.

Standing Buffalo said that we provided for you to use this land for 50 years – After 50 years it would go back.
—Is this correct? Did Standing Buffalo really think the land would be returned to the Dakota after 50 years?

The Dakota were deceived into signing the traders’ paper.
—Incorrect – Some knew what they were signing. Many did not.  

In 1857, the Dakota Indians gave away all their land north of the Minnesota River.
—Incorrect – This should be 1858.
—Incorrect – They did not give away their land north of the river.

Brown thought that cutting the reservations in half would force the Indians to learn farming.
—Is this correct? 

In 1858, they thought they were going to Washington DC to discuss the 1851 Treaty. After being there for months, they learned half of their reservations were going be taken. The 1858 Treaty took 328,000 acres north of the Minnesota River.
—Is this correct they thought they were going to discuss the 1851 Treaty?
—Incorrect – They agreed to sell their claims to the north half of their reservations. They did not own this land.
—Incorrect – No one knows for sure how much land was on the reservations north of the river.

By the time their debts were paid, the Dakota had nothing left.
—Incorrect – The Lower Dakota did not have much left. The Upper Dakota had considerable money left. 

As a result of the 1858 Treaties, the Dakota lost their traditional means of livelihood.
—What does this mean?
—Incorrect – They started losing their livelihood when they chose to over-hunt their game animals to obtain fur trade items.

But whether they kept the peace or went to war they could be robbed.
—Incorrect – If not for the Dakota War of 1862, there would be large Dakota populations on the Minnesota reservation today.

Immigrants didn’t know there were Indians here before they came.
—Incorrect – How do we know what all immigrant knew or did not know?

At New Ulm, the Dakota were just coming into contact with the whites.
—Incorrect – From the time of the first explorers and fur traders, the Dakota were in contact with the whites.

The Dakota and the whites did not interact a lot – this is why things exploded so quickly.
—Incorrect – Some did and some did not.

There was no violence against the whites prior to 1862.
—Incorrect – See the Inkpaduta Massacre during the winter of 1857-58.

Settlers did not care what their settlement met to the Indians. When we spoke, they chuckled.
—Incorrect – Can we say for sure what all settlers felt? They were told that land was available.
—Unbalanced – The Dakota called the Norwegians chipmunks because they thought their language sounded like chipmunks.

What does it mean to be confined to reservation? – Their whole way of life was disrupted. – The Dakota had no way to support their families. – The size of the reservations could not support the Dakota.
—Incorrect – They were not confined to the Minnesota reservations. They freely moved off and on the reservations.

The reservations were a strip of land. – The lower reservation eastern boundary started at Little Rock trading post. – Each reservation was 70 miles long. – The reservation was 100 miles long and 20 miles wide. – The reservations were reduced to land 20 miles by 30 miles. – Big Eagle’s village was SW of present Redwood Falls. – Little Crow’s village was down in valley, east of North Redwood. – Little Crow’s house is in the drawing “Indian Camp at Redwood.” – There were 2 missions on the reservations.
—Incorrect – At a combined 20 x 150 miles, the reservations were hardly a strip of land.
—Incorrect – The lower reservation boundary line was the mouth of the Little Rock River.
—Incorrect – The reservations were not each 70 miles long.
—Incorrect – The combined reservations never were 100 miles long.
—Incorrect – The combined reservations never were 20 x 30 miles.
—Incorrect – Big Eagle’s village was east of present Redwood Falls.
—Incorrect – Little Crow’s village was on top of the bluff east of present Redwood Falls.
—Incorrect – Little Crow’s village does not appear in “Indian Camp at Redwood.”
—Incorrect – In August 1862, there were 4 missions on the Minnesota reservations.

Indian Agents wanted the Indians trading only with American traders.
—Is this correct? What about the French fur traders working for American companies? 

As soon as the Dakota got money, the traders grabbed it.
—Incorrect – The traders did not try to collect money unless debts were owed. 

Dakota men didn’t want to be farmers because this was women’s work.
—Incorrect – By 1862, there were about 250 Dakota men farming. Farmer Indian hair was cut to get it off the shoulders.
—Incorrect – Hair was cut in hopes this would keep them from going to war.

In 1860, there were 5,000 Dakota. – The Dakota population in 1862 was 6,000-8,000 but declining.
—Incorrect – In the 1861 annuity census, there were about 6,300 Dakota.
—Is this correct that their population was declining?

1862 was the first year that only one payment was made – There was no set date for the annuity money to be there.
—Is this correct that this was the first year that only one payment was made?
—Incorrect – According to the 1851 Treaties, the payments were due on July 1st. 

When the annuity money arrived, the traders took most of the money; some on inflated accounts. – Money was paid directly to the traders. – Government goods that were given in annuities were pure junk. – Food arrived that was rancid.
—Incorrect – The traders did not take most of the money.
—Disrespectful – Prove that their accounts were inflated.
—Incorrect – In claims for depredations and in treaties, money was paid from the annuities on approved claims before the Dakota were paid. At other times the fur traders had to collect their own debts.
—Incorrect – Yes, there was junk, but prove this was always the case.
—Incorrect – Not all food was rancid. Food also arrived at Fort Ridgely that was not fit to eat.

The reservation system was a system of corruption. – Joseph R. Brown and William Cullen had made a fortune. – Joseph R. Brown hired every relative he had to work on the reservation. The Indians complained about Brown’s relatives. Brown was moving Dakota supplies to his own warehouse and selling them back to the Indians. Brown was thrown out of office. The system was set up so officials could siphon off money. –  Brown spent $5,000 on a steam engine. How could he do this on at $1500 Indian Agent’s salary?
—Disrespectful – Name those who cheated the Indians and show proof.
—Disrespectful – As in politics, the Agents and Superintendents did hire friends and family. Show the complaints about Brown’s relatives.
—Is this correct that Brown was moving supplies to his own warehouse?
—Is this correct that Brown was thrown out of office?
—Disrespectful – Brown made money from other occupations and investments before becoming an Indian Agent.

Pearson, one of Galbraith’s employees, was worried. Pearson began leaking information about Galbraith. Galbraith wanted Thompson to get rid of Pearson. – Rev. Hinman was hearing things that he reported to Whipple. Whipple began to talk. – Galbraith was worried and pleaded to Thompson. Galbraith was out of his mind, that he would be the one to take the blame. So he came up with a way out. He would raise a company of mixed-bloods and enlist in the army. Galbraith wanted to quit his job. He was abandoning the reservation.
—Is this all correct? The U.S. was supposed to start schools – they did not. There were no schools because the school fund was being misappropriated.
—Incorrect – The U.S. did try to start schools but they failed.
—Is this correct that the school fund was being misappropriated? Show proof.

Day inspected the agencies in the fall of 1861. He sent a letter to Lincoln discussing the fraud on the reservations. Day was convinced Brown and Cullen were working scams. Dole wouldn’t let Day see the records.
—Is this all correct? How long was Day at the agencies? Who did he talk with? Who did he report to?

The U.S. militia attacked Dakota villages south of Minnesota after Inkpaduta massacre.
—Incorrect – Which villages were attacked?

Mix wanted to keep the gold and replace it with worthless paper money. – Superintendent Thompson asked the Indians if they would take paper – The Indians said no. The annuity was delayed.
—Incorrect – Was it Mix or Thompson who wanted to issue paper money. Was this a scam? Was this the reason the annuities were late?

There was a comp fund that was paid to the farmer Indians. – Trader Galbraith gave extra to those who became farmers. This was “divide and conquer.” – The Dakota were pressured by agents and missionaries to become farmers. – Some of the traders threaten to cut off credit.
—Incorrect – Dakota who would learn to become farmers were given farms, education, supplies and farm animals. This was available to all who chose to become farmers.
—Incorrect Galbraith was the Indian Agent.
—Incorrect – The Dakota decided whether or not to become farmers.
—Incorrect – Some of the traders cut off credits. They did not threaten to do this.

In August, there were 4,000 hungry, angry and sick Dakota at the Upper Agency. Governor Ramsey had the authority to open the doors of the warehouse to get food for the Indians, but he didn’t. – There was no concern in 1862 there would be a war.
—Incorrect and disrespectful – The agencies were operated by the U.S. Ramsey could have complained but it was the Indian Agent and his superiors who had the authority.
—Incorrect – Some did express concern there could be a war.

Acton is 40 miles north of New Ulm. – 3 Indians killed those at Acton. – The Indians found chicken eggs along a fence near Robinson Jones’ cabin. – Dakota killed 5 settlers over a dispute in a henhouse. – The Dakota were hungry. – After the murders, they found 2 horses and rode double, back to their village. – The Dakota stole a wagon and rode back to their village. – An inquest was held on the morning of the 17th. – An inquest was held in the evening of August 17. Four Sissetons committed the murders. – The Sisseton/Wahpeton people started the war at Acton.
—Incorrect – The Acton location is 57 miles northwest of New Ulm
—Incorrect – There were 4 Dakota present. We do not know how many committed the murders.
—Incorrect – There are many stories as to what happened at Acton. We do not know if the “egg story” is correct. We do not know if they were hungry.
—Incorrect – They fled on foot and later stole horses.
—Incorrect – The inquest was held on the morning of the 18th.
—Incorrect – 4 Wahpeton men living in a Mdewakanton village killed those in Acton Township.

The young men who killed the settlers at Acton urged their leaders to fight. – The Dakota community decided to go to war. – When the Indians came from the Rice Creek Village to Little Crow’s house. – Little Crow told the warriors if they want to go to war, he will go with them. He had given up on the U.S. – Little Crow laid the war plan for the next day. – Shows a painting of Little Crow’s village on the Mississippi and says this is where decision for war was made.
—Incorrect – It is not known if the young men urged their leaders to fight. It is known that they offered to turn themselves in to the Army. Their friends and families opposed this.
—Incorrect – About 100-150 members of a Lower Dakota soldiers’ lodge made the decision for war. The majority of the Dakota leaders and their people opposed war.
—Incorrect – The Indians came from Shakopee’s village to Little Crow’s house.
—Incorrect – Little Crow first tried to talk the warriors out of war. It is not known if he had given up on the U.S.
—Incorrect – It is not known if Little Crow laid out the war plan or when it was laid out.
—Incorrect – The decision for war was probably made in Shakopee’s village.

The Dakota never told the causes of the war. – The broken promises of the 1851 Treaties caused the war. – The Dakota War started with Inkpaduta. – The Dakota War was not because of food shortages but because other people began to choose our leaders. – The do-nothing policy in Washington caused the war. -The Dakota were hungry in 1862. Galbraith refused to issue food. – Forcibly removing people is ethnic cleansing and an international crime. – The U.S. deliberately provoked the war to get their land. – Myrick said, “So far as I am concerned, if they are hungry, let them eat grass or their own dung” – The traders cut off credit. – The traditional Dakota were suffering from malnutrition, due to lack of meat. – The war was a clash of cultures. Neither side understood each other. Neither side wanted change. – The war was a clash of master stories.
—Incorrect – Dakota did tell causes for the war. See Big Eagle and Little Crow statements in Through Dakota Eyes.
—Incorrect – The causes of the Dakota War were many and complicated. It cannot be said that any single event caused the war.
—Incorrect – No primary sources state that the cause was the U.S. chose Dakota leaders.
—What does this mean: “The do-nothing policy?”
—Incorrect – Not all Dakota were hungry in 1862. Galbraith did issued food to the Upper Dakota but not to the Lower Dakota.
—Unbalanced – The Dakota also forcibly removed people during the war. —Incorrect – To say the U.S. deliberately provoked a war which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 people is absurd.
—Incorrect and disrespectful – It must be stated why Myrick told them to eat grass.
—Incorrect – Not all of the traders cut off credit.
—Incorrect – It cannot be proven that all “traditional Dakota” were suffering from malnutrition.
—Incorrect – To say the war was a clash of cultures or a lack of understanding is too general.
—Incorrect – Both sides were changing.

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