Review – MHC Lesson Plans

 Minnesota Humanities Center
Minnesota Humanities Lesson Plans
Reviewed on June 3, 2013
Updated on March 17, 2016

Items of Interest

Search the Absent Narratives Resource Collection for the lesson plans listed below. Lesson plans 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13 and 14 were not included on the website.

General Comments

  • Unbalanced – Where on the Minnesota Humanities Website do I find similar information on other ethic groups before, during and after the Dakota War of 1862?
  • The truth was sad enough. This history does not need to be revised and embellished. Students are being presented with mainly a hostile Dakota point of view.
  • The meaning of the word “Dakota” is not clear. Sometimes it is all 7 bands and sometimes it is only the 4 eastern bands of the Sioux Nation. In my comments, I use Sioux to mean all 7 bands and Dakota to mean the 4 eastern bands.
  • There are complicated subjects that need more explanation.
  • There are many typos in these lesson plans. These appear to be rough drafts rather than classroom ready materials. I included the typos in the statements below.

Most Objectionable Statements

Lesson One – Dakota Cultural Profile

Locate the four Dakota communities on a Minnesota Map. Name the original seven divisions of the Oceti Sakowin.
—Incorrect – There are at least 6 Dakota communities in Minnesota.
—Incorrect – “divisions” should be “bands”.

The Dakota are a part of a larger group known to outsiders as the “Sioux.” The larger group also includes the Dakota and Lakota. All three are language dialects within the same Nation.
—Incorrect – This should say, “…includes the Nakota and Lakota.”

The term Sioux is a contraction of Nadouessioux, a word given to them by the Ojibwe meaning snakelike enemy and is a negative and offensive word to the Dakota. The word Sioux is still used however because when tribes established themselves with the Federal government and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, they were known as the Sioux. That word is also entrenched in the treaty terminology and cannot be easily changed.
—Incorrect – Nadouessioux means snake or enemy.
—Incorrect – Not all Dakota think the word Sioux is offensive.
—Incorrect – At least 2 federally recognized Dakota communities have changed their names.

…Dakota oral tradition states that when all the divisions were living in Minnesota, they were known as Oceti Sakowin…It them to a physical location.
—Incorrect – They are still known as the Oceti Sakowin.
—Incorrect – “It them to a physical location”

Bdewakantonwan or Mdewakantonwan – Spirit Lake People
—For more information on the word Bdewakantunwan see “Definitions” on the top bar.

Fur traders and government officials who dealt with the Dakota viewed a chief as one when held complete authority over his people….The opinions of all villagers were given equal weight in the proves of decision making.
—Incorrect – “one when held”.
—Incorrect – “in the proves”
—Incorrect – Decisions were made in council. Not all adults, including women, were members of the council.

By the time Euro-American immigrants arrived in the lands the Dakota called Mnisota, the Dakota had lived in the area for a very long time.
—Incorrect – According to Riggs’ A Dakota-English Dictionary, the correct Dakota word for Minnesota is Minisota. Mnisota is another recent change to the Dakota language.

Lesson Two – U.S. Dakota War

The Dakota creation stories (there are several) clearly show that we have not emigrated from any other place…we have always lived here. The joining of the two rivers, the Minnesota and the Mississippi is called Bdote, what is currently called Mendota…
—Unbalanced – Some scientists believe the Dakota migrated into Minnesota. These views should also be included.
—Incorrect – To say “we have always lived here” cannot be proven.
—For more information on the word Bdote see “Definitions” on the top bar.

It is important to use the correct terminology when teaching about the US Dakota War. The US Dakota war began with the hunger of Europeans and Euro-Americans for land in Minnesota. It is important to note the similarities of the governments’ systematic plan that removed indigenous Nations from their homeland in order to meet the needs of the settlers who were to follow… First the traders came in followed by military forts that would provide protection for the missionaries, soldiers and white settlers who were to come. The broken treaties were yet another weapon used to take land and although the US signed over four hundred treaties and agreements with Indian tribes, not one was ever honored. The treaties were an effective way to transfer land ownership peacefully.
—It is also important to use accurate information.
—Incorrect – The causes of the Dakota War of 1862 were many and complicated. No primary sources state that hunger for land was a primary cause.
—Incorrect – The U.S. did not control how people would arrive in Minnesota. Explorers were here first. Some arrived before the U.S. existed.
—Incorrect – Prove that no treaties were honored.
—Incorrect – Obviously the Dakota War of 1862 proves that treaties did not transfer land ownership peacefully.

The initial 1805 treaty ceded 100,000 acres of land to build a military post. Even though Zebulon Pike was only able to acquire two signatures, the treaty was ratified by congress and those two signatures represented the will and agreement of the entire Sioux nation. At that time the Dakota population was estimated anywhere between 35,000 and 21,675 people. Other treaties followed with the same undermining tactics until the Dakota Nation’s land mass was reduced from a 4 state region to a mile wide strip of land along the south side of the Minnesota River. There was no way Dakota could sustain their traditional way of life which included using resources over a wide area for food, housing, clothing and tools.
—Incorrect – The 1805 Treaty ceded land at the mouth of the St. Croix River and at the mouth of the Minnesota River.
—Incorrect – We do not know how much land was ceded at the mouth of the Minnesota River where Fort Snelling was later built.
—Incorrect – Had the Dakota felt violated when soldiers started work on Fort Snelling in 1820 the Dakota would have driven them off.
—Incorrect – The author assumes that the entire Sioux Nation owned the land that was ceded.
—Incorrect – Estimates of the Dakota population in 1805 were not reliable until censuses were taken. This range is too high.
—Incorrect – There are 3 terms being used: Sioux nation, Dakota nation and Dakota. What do these terms mean?
—What does this mean? – “undermining tactics”
—Incorrect – The Dakota land mass was small portions of 3 present-day states and a large portion of present-day Minnesota.
—Really Incorrect – The 1862 Dakota reservations, combined, were 10 miles wide and about 150 miles long.
—Incorrect – When they sold their land, Dakota leaders agreed their people would stay on the reservations and learn farming. However, the Dakota often left their reservations.

Once the fort was built, Missionaries moved in to civilize the Dakota and educate them…Christianized farmers stored surplus in “root cellers”. This practice was seen by the traditional Dakota faction as “hoarding” when generosity was a principle value. The Dakota believed that to not share was to not be human.
—Incorrect – The missionaries were not waiting for a fort to be built. The early mission at Lac qui Parle was well beyond of the influence of Fort Snelling.
—Incorrect – The missionaries built missions. The Dakota chose to attend.
—Incorrect “cellers”
—Incorrect – Not all Dakota farmers were Christians
—Incorrect – The Dakota farmers shared what they could with their relatives and friends.

After Treaty of 1851, large influx of whites arrived to take over lands formerly Dakota homelands. German immigrants arrived en-masse to New Ulm. During the first winter they arrived they took over the gabled…village of Dakota. Also made fun of Dakota and refused to share food.
—While they did move into Dakota lodges, they moved out when the Dakota returned.
—Is this correct? They “also made fun of Dakota and refused to share food”? What is the source of this statement?

…Food supplies promised by federal government never arrived and the Dakota petitioned traders to extend credit so their people could eat. The Dakota were faced with horrible hunger as they had the responsibility to feed thousands of people a day. At Yellow Medicine Agency, trader Andrew Myrick said “so far as I am concerned, let them eat grass”.
—Incorrect – Which food supplies never arrived?
—Incorrect – The Dakota did not petition traders to extend credit. Credit was being given without petition up to June 1862.
—Incorrect – We don’t know if thousands of Dakota were starving.
—Incorrect – It cannot be proven where Myrick made this statement.
—Disrespectful – Myrick learned that many Dakota planned to refuse to pay their debts when the annuity money arrived.

The war itself began in Mdewakanton villages in summer of 1862. On a dare, a group of young Dakota men stealing chickens were caught and ended up killing a white farmer and his family. Dakota war parties made their first attack at the Lower Sioux Agency near present day Morton…Next, white settlements in “Big Woods” and New Ulm were attacked. In all over 500 white colonists were killed. The number of Dakota lost in the was was never counted.
—Incorrect – The war began with the attack on the Lower Sioux Agency.
—Incorrect – No sources say that young Dakota men were caught stealing chickens.
—Incorrect – The Dakota killed the 3 members of one family and 2 members of 2 other families.
—Incorrect – The Dakota attacked more than just New Ulm and the Big Woods.
—Incorrect – More than 650 whites were killed
—Incorrect – “was was”

The Battle of Wood Lake was the turning point of the war…Many Dakota who took part escaped to prairies to the west. Others, tired of fighting or who had remained neutral, formed a Friendly Camp. Henry Sibley, now General Sibley took them all prisoner. Some 1200 Dakota were arrested and marched to concentration camps at Mankato and Fort Snelling. At New Ulm and other locations the whites threw rocks and poured boiling water on Dakota women and children. Three hundred Dakota men condemned to death and on December 26, 1862. President Lincoln commuted some of those sentences but still what became the largest mass hanging in U.S. history took place in Mankato Minnesota as 38 Dakota men were hanged at once.
—Incorrect – The turning point was the failure to take New Ulm and Fort Ridgely.
—Incorrect – The Dakota did not escape, both hostile and friendly Dakota fled.
—Incorrect – The “friendly camp” was formed by those who opposed the war with the whites.
—Incorrect – They were not all taken prisoner.
—Incorrect – Total Dakota count taken to camps at Mankato and Fort Snelling was about 2000.
—Incorrect – They were not all arrested.
—Incorrect – These were not concentration camps.
—Incorrect – The women and children were not taken through or near New Ulm.
—Incorrect – “Three hundred Dakota men condemned to death and on December 26, 1862.”
—Incorrect – This was the largest simultaneous mass hanging in U.S. history.

As a result of this War, Congress nullified all treaties with Minnesota Dakota. Whether they were participants in this war or not, all were denied further treaty benefits. Congress appropriated money for removal of Minnesota to Crow Creek, South Dakota. With no provisions, 300 Dakota died the first winter at Crow Creek. To escape further starvation many moved further to a place called Santee, Nebraska.
—Incorrect – In the 1970s, Dakota descendants were paid for land and annuities taken in 1863.
—Incorrect – “removal of Minnesota”
—Incorrect – They were moved to the Santee Reservation in Nebraska.

Finally in the late 19th century, some of the land was restored to Dakota in Minnesota. More land was added in 20th century which represent the four Dakota communities in Minnesota today. Prairie Island, Prior Lake, Upper and Lower Sioux.
—Incorrect – There are also Dakota communities at Mendota and Pipestone.

…my great-great-grandmother…was on the original death march in 1862.
—Incorrect – This was not a death-march.

[Regarding one of the Dakota Commemorative Marches]
They were so weary, and more than halfway into their 150-mile walk.
—Incorrect – No one in 1862 walked or rode 150 miles from the Lower Sioux Agency to Fort Snelling.

[Obituary by “Miss Collins”…]
The families of three hundred prisoners were driven from the state. Only a few old men were allowed to accompany them. Mrs. Kitto with her new born babe in her arms and three little ones at her side…started on the long journey from Minnesota to Nebraska…
—Incorrect – Families other than those of prisoners were also removed.
—Incorrect – There were also young men in this group taken to Crow Creek.
—Incorrect – They were taken to Crow Creek, Dakota Territory, not Nebraska.

The purpose of the Dakota Commemorative March is to tell our stories. Dakota women are now the voices of our grandmothers and as we come together to touch the earth of our ancestors, walk the same path they did…In this way, we can take back the spirit of our identities and begin healing for our future generations…
—Incorrect – The commemorative march to Fort Snelling is more than 95% off the original course. See Bakeman and Richardson, Trails of Tears: Minnesota’s Dakota Indian Exile Begins.
—Incorrect – Not all Dakota nor all whites are still healing from the Dakota War of 1862.

Timeline of Events Leading Up to the Dakota Conflict and the Exile of the Dakota People

Taken from
—Incorrect – This address is not valid

1851: Treaty of Traverse des Sioux. After years of mounting pressure from white settlers and facing huge debts to fur traders, the people fo the Eastern Dakota Nation sign a treaty giving up all of their lands west of the Mississippi River…The Dakota are relocated to a strip of land…
—Incorrect – “fo”
—Incorrect – “Eastern Dakota Nation” needs to be defined.
—Incorrect – There were 2 treaties in 1851.
—Incorrect – The Sisseton and Wahpeton signed their 1851 treaty because they were starving.
—Incorrect – Not all of the Dakota had to relocate.
—Incorrect – At a combined 20 miles wide and about 150 miles long, these 2 reservations were not a “strip of land.”

1858: Dakota leaders on a diplomatic visit to Washington D.C. are told they did not own the reservation land. Faced with more debt and threatened with expulsion, they are forced to sell the northern half of their reservation.
—Incorrect – By terms of the 1851 Treaties, they already knew they did not own the land.
—Incorrect – If they did not own the land, how can they be forced to sell the northern half?
—Incorrect – There were 2 reservations.

Ausgust-September 1862: Frustrated by broken promises, reservation policies that forced cultural change, failed crops and the refusal of the government agent and traders to release food to starving families, Dakota men went to war to reclaim their land. As a result, over 500 settlers were killed…The U.S. Army…Over 6,000 Dakota refugees flee the state and about 2,000 are taken prisoner.
—Incorrect – “Ausgust”
—Incorrect – The causes of the Dakota War of 1862 were more complicated than this.
—Incorrect – Which reservation policies forced cultural change?
—Incorrect – The agent did issue food to the upper Dakota.
—Incorrect – Not all traders were withholding food. It was not the responsibility of the traders to feed the Dakota.
—Incorrect – The majority of the Dakota men did not go to war.
—Incorrect – More than 650 whites were killed. They were not all settlers.
—Unbalanced – Sibley was aided by friendly Dakota who opposed the war.
—Incorrect – In the 1861 Census, there were about 6300 Dakota. “Over 6,000” is too high.
—Incorrect – They were not all taken prisoner.

September-December 1862: In 15 minute trials, over 300 Dakota men are condemned by a military court… 1,700 Dakota people are held in a prison camp…below Fort Snelling.
—Incorrect – Not all trials were 15 minutes.
—Incorrect – This was an internment camp.

December 26, 1862: 38 Dakota men are hanged…the largest mass execution on U.S. history
—Incorrect – It was the largest simultaneous mass execution in U.S. history.

1863: Forced removal of the prisoners at Fort Snelling…to the Crow Creek Reservation…
—Incorrect – Not all were removed.

1867: Simultaneous establishment of the Sisseton (or Lake Traverse) Reservation in northeastern South Dakota and the Devil’s Late (now called Spirit Lake) Reservation in central North Dakota fort the Sissetonwan and Wahpetonwan Dakota peoples.
—Incorrect – “Late”
—Incorrect – “fort”

1869: The Flandreau Colony. Tired of government interference, 25 Mdewakantonwan Dakota families leave the Santee reservation to establish independent homesteads in and around Flandreau, South Dakota.
—Incorrect – Their reasons for leaving were more complicated than this.

Then the wasicu (white men) came.
—Incorrect – Riggs’ A Dakota-English Dictionary defines wasicu as “the keel or the bottom of a boat.” Wasicun is defined as “white men” or “spirit.”

Wabasha (Wabasha) – which means “Red Banner.”
—“Red Banner” is one of the translations of “Wabasha.”

Wahpeton = “dwellers among the leaves.” One of the sever divisions of he Dakota Nation.
—Incorrect – “sever”
—Incorrect – The Wahpeton were one of the 7 bands of the Sioux Nation.

Mnisota = unclear or cloudy waters. It is also sometimes translated as sky tinted waters
—Incorrect – Mnisota is a recent change to the Dakota language. The correct word is Minisota. Riggs’ Dakota-English Dictionary defines mi-ni as “water”; so-ta as “smoke”; and Mi-ni-so-ta as “whitish water.”

[Map] – Present Day Reservations and Communities
—Incorrect – This does not show Dakota communities at Mendota and Pipestone and in Canada.
—While this lesson plan is about the Dakota, this map shows Lakota and Nakota communities.

Lesson Three – Conquest or Genocide

—Much of this lesson plan has been included and discussed in previous lesson plans.

Learner Outcomes:

1. Identify the Dakota as the original inhabitants of Minnesota and describe their democracy.
—Incorrect – The Dakota were not the original inhabitants of Minnesota.
—Incorrect – Not all men were permitted to participate in council. Women could not participate in council, nor could they be village, hunt or war leaders.

2. Explain how American government agents ignored the Dakota process of decision making to ratify treaties with the Dakota.
—Is this correct? Did agents ignore the Dakota process of decision making in all treaties? If they did, the Dakota leaders who were included would have protested.

3. Student debate whether or not American treatment of the Dakota can be construed as genocide based on the United Nations definition of genocide.
—Incorrect – This Lesson Plan does not develop the theme of genocide.
—Unbalanced – If the claim is that the U.S. committed genocide, then genocide by the hostile Dakota must also be discussed.

4. Students research the definition of “colonialism”…Students debate the issue of whether or not America can be a democracy and a colonial power at the same time. From WordNet of Princeton University: Colonialism: exploitation by a stronger country of a weaker one; the use of the weaker country’s resources to strengthen and enrich the stronger country.
—Unbalanced – Isn’t this what happened when the Dakota killed members of other tribes and took their land?

[The U.N. definition of Genocide is given here]

There is strong evidence that the ancestral homeland of Dakota, and all Indian Nations who speak a Siouan language, included lands along the Central Mississippi River Valley. Therefore it is quite possible that the Dakota lived in the woodlands and prairies of what is now called Minnesota for hundreds of years.
—The central Mississippi river valley is the area about Missouri. How does this justify that the Dakota have been in Minnesota for hundreds of years.

In the early 1600s, when they were first encountered by the French, the Dakota lived in several large fortified villages throughout Minnesota.
—Incorrect – They were encountered by the French in about 1660 in the area of Lake Mille lacs.
—Is this correct? – “large fortified villages”?
—Incorrect – They were not living throughout Minnesota.

Trade…had been going on for centuries prior to the arrival of Europeans. Commercial fairs were held each year…Dakota ideas about trade took the form of “reciprocal giving”. Whether paid for or given away, the result was the same.
—Incorrect – I disagree that this trade was the form of “reciprocal giving” or gift-giving. This was value for value trading.

Other historians note that the Ojibwe and Dakota were indeed frequently at war from the early 1700s until well into the following century. However, the four eastern divisions of the Dakota had already begun to leave the woodlands before the Ojibwe arrived. The historical record notes that 600 Dakota were wintering near the French trading for at Lake Pepin and at the trading village to the south at Prairie du Chien.
—Incorrect – Meaning of “Dakota” is not consistent. In some text, Dakota means the 4 eastern bands of the Sioux Nation. In other text such as this, Dakota means all 7 bands.
—Incorrect – Just because 600 Dakota were wintering at Lake Pepin and Prairie du Chien does not mean they had left the northern woodlands.
—Incorrect – “trading for”

The first formal treaty between the Mdewakantonwan division of the Dakota and the United States took place in 1805. The treaty negotiated by Zebulon Pike, an American military officer, ceded 100,000 acres of land around the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers to the American government.
—Incorrect – The Mdewakanton were a band.
—Incorrect – The treaty ceded land at the mouth of the St. Croix River and the Minnesota River. It cannot be proven that 100,000 acres were ceded at the mouth of the Minnesota River.

The circumstances surrounding the signing of this treaty suggest the legality of the treaty is questionable… [Refer to the document for the author’s reasons]
—Incorrect – If the Dakota felt violated when soldiers started work on Fort Snelling in 1820, the Dakota would have driven them off. I believe the legality of the 1805 Treaty has already been resolved in U.S. courts.

The treaty of 1837 between the Mdewakantonwan villagers and the American government opened lands east of the Mississippi River to white encroachment.
—Disrespectful – The whites settled on ceded land. This was not encroachment.

The leaders of the four bands of Dakota living in Minnesota were Dakota men who had either converted to Christianity or had taken up farming under the influence of white missionaries. The missionaries had their own reasons for persuading Dakota leaders to sign a new treaty. They had come to believe the only way the Dakota would adopt Christianity would be to give up their communal lifestyle. Giving up communal life meant adopting the family practices, farming methods, and ownership patterns of the whites. This would be accomplished more rapidly, they reasoned, if the Dakota held only a fraction of their land base.
—Incorrect – Not all members of the Dakota bands were living in Minnesota.
—Really incorrect – The leaders were not all Christians and farmers
—Incorrect – They were not under the influence of white missionaries.
—Incorrect – Saving souls was not their only objective. The missionaries were in favor of a treaty because they believed if the Dakota were not “civilized,” they would perish. Learning how to farm would help keep them from starving.

The treaty conference itself was held in the summer of 1851 at the Dakota village of Traverse des Sioux on the Minnesota River…Neither Ramsey nor Lea had muck experience in treaty negotiation. Earlier negotiators had generally followed Indian customs and traditions. Those who wanted to persuade provided the guests with a communal meal. For the Dakota, treaty conferences were social and well as political events…
—Incorrect – There were 2 treaties and 2 treaty conferences in 1851.
—Incorrect – The Traverse des Sioux conference was not held at a Dakota village.
—Incorrect – “muck”
—Incorrect – While Ramsey and Lea may have lacked experience, others there certainly understood Dakota protocol.
—Incorrect – A great deal of food was served at Traverse des Sioux.

A final treaty took form on July 23, 1851. Thirty-six village chiefs ended up signing the treaty. An equal number, especially among the Sisseton and Wahpeton bands, never agreed to sign.

—Incorrect – The 1st treaty was signed on July 23. The 2nd treaty was signed on August 5.
—Incorrect – Village chiefs and other leaders signed the treaties.
—Incorrect – I doubt that a total of 36 village chiefs signed the treaties.
—Incorrect – Very few if any refused to sign.

According to the provisions of the [1851] treaty, the Minnesota Dakota agreed to relinquish a large portion of their lands. This territory ran from central Minnesota in the north to northern Iowa in the south, and from the Red and Sioux Rivers in the west to an undefined border in the east. The area to be set aside as a reservation included land from Yellow Medicine Creek to Lake Traverse.
—Incorrect – There were 2 treaties.
—Incorrect – The eastern border was the Mississippi River.
—Incorrect – It was the Yellow Medicine River.
—Incorrect – This was the boundary of the upper reservation. There was also a lower reservation created by the 2nd Treaty in 1851.

In return for the ceded land, the government was to keep $1,360,000 in the United States treasury for 50 years. Other benefits of the treaty included $10,000 for food provisions and $18,000 for education and farming…the bands were to receive $305,000 “hand money”, as it was called to open farms in support of their needs until the first year’s interest on their money arrived.
—Incorrect – These amounts are from the 1851 Treaty of Traverse des Sioux only. The 1851 Treaty of Mendota is not included.
—Incorrect – The purpose of the $305,000 is not correct. See Folwell, A History of Minnesota, Vol. 1 for more information on the 1851 Treaties.
—Incorrect – The treaties stated they were to receive interest only but not the entire principle.
—Incorrect – The Dakota received much more than just money.

With the support of some of the missionaries and mixed-blood Indians, the American fur traders got several Dakota leaders to sign a document which became known as the “trader’s paper”. The paper pledged some $210,000 of treaty money to pay traders for so-called past debts. Many of those who signed this paper later stated they were led to believer they were signing a second copy of the treaty.
—Incorrect – Which missionaries helped get the Dakota to sign the traders’ paper?
—Incorrect – More than several Dakota leaders signed the traders’ paper.
—Disrespectful – Using the term “so-called” suggests the traders cheated the Dakota.
—Incorrect – “believer”
—Unbalanced – Some who signed the traders’ paper knew what they were signing.

…Most of the $90,000 the Mdewakanton were to use to pay what they owned fur traders ended up in the hands of…Henry Sibley, and…Alexander Fairbauit…over $200,000 of the money that was to go to the Sissetonwan and Wahpetonwan groups ended up in the hands of Alexander Ramsey and Henry Sibley. Those leaders who protested what was going on, such as Maza Sa (Red Iron) were arrested and stripped of their chieftainship. In all, the Dakota got seven cents an acre for their Minnesota homelands. Those who really profited from the Treaty of 1851 got away with what some historians have called a “monstrous conspiracy”. Two years later, the United States Senate investigated Sibley and Ramsey for fraudulent dealings but they were never charged.
—Is this correct? – Most of the $90,000 ended up in the hands of Sibley and Faribault?
—Incorrect – Sibley represented the fur traders under him. The money that Sibley received also paid the debts owed to his fur traders.
—Incorrect – “owned”
—Incorrect – “Fairbauit”
—Incorrect – Red Iron was the only Dakota leader who protested and was confined. Ramsey did not have the authority to strip Red Iron of his chieftainship.
—Incorrect – It has never been accurately computed how much land was ceded. Did this calculation include the many services that the treaties provided?
—Incorrect – Ramsey was brought up on charges but was found innocent.
—The distribution of treaty funds and settlement of trader debts is complicated. I will deal with this in a later essay.


By the summer of 1862, tensions between the Minnesota Dakota, the federal and state governments, and the white colonists became so intense that war erupted.
—Incorrect – What tensions were there with the state government?

The aftermath of the Dakota War, sometimes mislabeled as the “Sioux Uprising”, prove to be devastating for the Dakota.
—Unbalanced – It was also devastating to the whites.

…many issues reached a climax that summer which led to the war…Farming itself was not so tasteful to the traditional faction. Rather, it was the style of farming imposed on them by missionaries and government agents.
—Incorrect – Neither the missionaries nor the agents forced them to become farmers.

…Little Crow, who took part in the Dakota War, and his brother big Eagle, complained that the sexual abuse of Dakota women by white men was a major source of their anger against the whites.
—Incorrect – Big Eagle was not Little Crow’s brother.
—Incorrect – Where did Little Crow say sexual abuse of women was a major source of anger?
—Incorrect – Big Eagle said, “…whites abused the Indian women in a certain way and disgraced them.” He did not call this sexual abuse.

Dakota leaders were aware that the traders and politicians had cheated them out of much of their treaty money…But what really angered them was the failure of government agents to keep their promises.
—Incorrect – Prove that the traders had cheated them out of much of their treaty money.
—Unbalanced – But, the majority of the Dakota leaders opposed war with the whites. Only one side is being presented. There needs to be more information why many Dakota opposed war.


—Text here is very similar to the U. S. Dakota War lesson plan above. See my comments on this text above.

…Medicine Bottle and Shakpe, were lured back from Canada and hanged at Pilot Knob…
—Incorrect – They were drugged, bound and taken back across the border to the U.S.
—Incorrect – They were tried, found guilty and hanged at Fort Snelling.

Lesson Four – The Four Seasons

—No comment

Lesson Five – Animal Classification

—No comment

Lesson Nine – The Tipi

—No comment

Lesson Ten – A Dakota Creation Story

—No comment

Lesson Fifteen – American Indian Land Recovery

—This discussion on land and the Dawes Act of 1887 should focus on the Dakota Indians. What is being said here did not apply to all Dakota reservations.

Why Treaties Matter Curriculum
—These statements are similar to the Why Treaties Matter Exhibit website. Refer to my comments on the Why Treaties Matter Exhibit website.

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