Review – MHS Internment Video

Minnesota Historical Society
U.S.-Dakota War – Internment Video
Reviewed July 3, 2013

Items of Interest 

This is one of several videos on the Dakota War of 1862 that the Minnesota Historical Society has posted to YouTube.

 General Comments

  • Unbalanced – I do not object to MHS producing this video. I do object to the fact that MHS did not produce a similar video on what happened to the whites after the Dakota War of 1862. This war was tragic for all ethnic groups who were involved. All groups should be remembered.

 Most Objectionable Statements

 In 1819, the U.S. Army built a fort at the junction of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, a place that is the sacred center of the Dakota homeland…It is a place of rebirth and birth…
—Incorrect – They did not start building Fort Snelling until 1820.
—Incorrect – If this had been a Dakota sacred site, it was not so sacred as to prevent a fort from being built here.
—Incorrect – That this was the Dakota place of creation is a relatively recent change to Dakota history.

The U.S. army gathered those had surrendered and forced them to march from Lower Sioux Agency to Fort Snelling, a distance of more than 100 miles
—Incorrect – Many Dakota at Camp Release did not go to war with the U.S. They did not surrender. They waited for Sibley to arrive.
—Incorrect – They were not force-marched to Fort Snelling.

The confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers was where the concentration camp was. For more than 1700 Dakota it would become a place of disease, brutality and death. Soldiers and settlers harassed and brutalized the Dakota. Estimates of deaths ranged from 100 – 300 mostly due to outbreaks of measles and other diseases.
—Incorrect – This was not a concentration camp.
—Incorrect – How were the Dakota harassed and brutalized at Fort Snelling?
—Incorrect – The official army count of deaths was 102.

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