Review – THE UPTAKE Essays

“Will Journalism be done by you or to you?” 

Items of Interest

The following essays and videos are included in this review. I have tried to remove duplicate statements.

MN “Concentration Camp” Survivors’ Relatives Remember 150 Years Later

Healing Minnesota’s Deepest Wound – Pardoning a Dakota Warrior

Descendants of Exiled Dakota Indians Remember

We are here – Native American Artists

Honoring the 38 

General Comments

  • Unbalanced – Very little is given about the white victims during and after the Dakota War. Without this information, viewers do not understand why Dakota were interned at Fort Snelling, hung at Mankato and removed from the State.
  • Several times, it is mentioned that people are still healing over what happened in 1862. It does not help these people to falsify the facts.

Most Objectionable Statements

To this day, the war remains a wound that has yet to heal.
—Very few claim to be still healing over what happened in 1862.

Descendants of those who were marched to Fort Snelling mark this time through a special ceremony at the exact spot.
—Unbalanced – What about the descendants of the white victims?

We need to educate others about what happened to our people.
—Unbalanced – People need to be educated about all the victims of the Dakota War.

In May 1863, the survivors from the camp were crowded aboard steamboats and taken to Crow Creek in southeastern South Dakota.
—Incorrect – Not all of the Dakota survivors in this camp were taken to Crow Creek.

 …the women and children were marched from Morton, Minnesota all the way up through these little towns and a lot of them died on the way here.
—Incorrect – There were also men in this group.
—Incorrect – They came from the Lower Sioux Agency. Morton did not exist at that time.
—Incorrect – Two maybe three died.

They were put in a concentration camp right were you see these trees…It was the first concentration camp in the United States.
—Incorrect – This was not a concentration camp.
—Is this correct? – Does anyone know for sure where the stockade was?

They were killed by settlers when they went through the small towns. Babies were taken out of mothers’ arms and killed.
—Incorrect – One baby was killed in Henderson.
—A total of 2, maybe 3 were killed.

Women going out and having to urinate were shot or bayoneted.
—Absolutely Incorrect – If this were correct, the many Christians in the group would have said something to the white authorities.

One of the biggest problems our people had is that they wanted to share everything.
—Incorrect – They did not want to share their hunting grounds with other tribes.

They were put here [Fort Snelling] before they were barged out of the state
—Incorrect – Those who were removed were removed on steamboats.

It’s December 26, 1862 in Mankato, Minn. The cold air and snowfall surround 38 Dakota men awaiting their death by hanging for crimes allegedly committed during the US-Dakota War of that year.
—Incorrect – Using the word “allegedly” suggests that there is doubt they committed crimes. Some were probably innocent but not all were.

In August of 1862, after a poor harvest and delays in payments from the federal government, many Dakota were angry and starving.
—Incorrect – A bumper crop was beginning to ripen in August 1862.

After pleading for food at the Indian Agency at the Lower Sioux Reservation… they were told to “eat grass.” War broke out and blood was shed.
—Incorrect – The causes of the war are more complicated than this.

Many Dakota took up farming — a system totally foreign to them.
—Incorrect – Farming was not foreign to them. Farming as the whites did was foreign to them.

There is still a law on the books today that states the Dakota tribe is not allowed in the state of Minnesota.
—Incorrect – This was a bill to remove most of the Dakota from the state. This bill did not prevent many Dakota from staying nor did it prevent many including my Dakota grandfather from returning.
—Incorrect – There was more to this bill than just removal.

Many people ask, “If you pardon Chaska, why not pardon the other 37?
—Incorrect – “Pardon” is the wrong word. “Apology” is the correct word.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the U.S.-Dakota war of 1862. If you talk to any Dakota person still living in the state — it’s like it happened yesterday.
—Incorrect – Not all Dakota people feel this way.

The Dakota were banished from Minnesota, women and children forcibly marched to an internment camp at Fort Snelling before being put on boats and sent down the Mississippi River…Those who chose to stay in Minnesota went into hiding. The trauma over loss of language and culture remains today.
—Incorrect – Not all Dakota were banished from Minnesota.
—Incorrect – Elders and young men were also in this group taken to Fort Snelling.
—Incorrect – They were not forcibly marched.
—Incorrect – Most of those who stayed in Minnesota were not in hiding.
—Incorrect – Not all Dakota people are suffering trauma today.

There was a great mood of retribution in MN
—The reason for this mood of retribution was that more than 650 whites had been killed by hostile Dakota.

…Chaska received communication from Sarah Wakefield. She pleaded for his life. Rev. Riggs pleaded for his life. Riggs had been a one-man grand jury. Riggs could find no indication anywhere that Chaska had killed anyone in the war. Through the pleading of Whipple, Wakefield and Riggs, Lincoln commuted the sentence of Chaska.
—Incorrect – The speaker is confusing Wakefield’s Chaska with Riggs’ Chaska. These were 2 different Dakota men.
—Incorrect – In a letter to a St. Paul newspaper, Riggs denied that he was a grand jury.

There are still open wounds on both sides
—Incorrect – I have never heard a white person claim to have open wounds.

People from New Ulm lost 50 of their citizens in Milford. They are still resentful today strangely enough.
—Disrespectful – I live in New Ulm. I have never heard a white person here express resentment towards the Dakota People for what their Dakota ancestors did to the whites.
—Disrespectful – If someone is resentful, why is this strange?

And certainly the Dakota people have open wounds and resentful about their loss of lives, their loss of land, their loss of the payment for this land
—Incorrect – Not all Dakota people feel this way.
—Incorrect – Dakota people were paid for this land.

I am thinking that just maybe we can rub a little salve in the wound by asking Dayton to ask Obama to issue a pardon for Chaska.
—Incorrect – Pardon is the wrong word. Apology is the correct word. Chaska was hanged by mistake.
—As stated above, this speaker is confusing 2 men who were both named Chaska.

Education and understanding brings reconciliation and healing.
—Incorrect – Reconciliation is the wrong word. There cannot be reconciliation until there is conciliation. Education on all sides leads to understanding on all sides.

…a line of Dakota Indians, following in the footsteps of their exiled ancestors, rounded a highway curve in Mendota and marched toward Fort Snelling.
—Incorrect – The original march in 1862 did not go into Fort Snelling on the Mendota side of the Minnesota River.

The marchers – about 100 Indians, trailed by another 100 or more non-Indian supporters were finishing a week-long Dakota Commemorative March, a 150-mile-long tribute to 1,700 Dakota captives most of them women and children, along with some elderly men who were marched by soldiers from the Lower Sioux Reservation…to Fort Snelling.
—Incorrect – While the commemorative march may be 150 miles, the original 1862 march from the Lower Sioux Agency to Fort Snelling was about 100 miles.
—Incorrect – These were not captives.
—Incorrect – There were also younger Dakota men in the original march.

At every mile post along the road…the 10th year the march has been recreated – descendants of those Dakota exiles placed stakes in the ground bearing the names of the Dakota women…
—Incorrect – 2012 was the 6th year of the commemorative march.
—Disrespectful – If they did not place stakes for the Dakota men in this group, this was disrespectful.

Although official histories say there were few deaths along the march, oral Dakota histories say there were many, including a death of a baby snatched by a mob near New Ulm…
—Incorrect – This baby was snatched at Henderson.

And there is no question about the many deaths that occurred in the prison camp at Fort Snelling. Sources say 150 to 300 died…
—Incorrect – The only official count was 130 deaths.

“Every Sioux found on our soil should get a permanent homestead, 6 feet by 2,” wrote the St. Cloud Democrat as the prisoners were arriving at Fort Snelling. “Shoot the hyenas … exterminate the wild beasts, and make peace with the devil and all his host sooner than with these red-jawed tigers whose fangs are dripping with the blood of innocents.”
—Unbalanced – Hostile Dakota had just killed more than 650 innocent men, women and children; many in the worst ways imaginable.
—Incorrect – These were not prisoners.

…Mni Sota Makoce, the Dakota words for this place, the land where the waters reflect the clouds.
—Incorrect – This is a more recent name and translation.

But some Dakota worry that the 150th anniversary observances of the war and its punishments might obscure the larger truths about Minnesota and the culture and history of its original inhabitants.
—Unbalanced – What about the culture and history of other ethnic groups?
—Incorrect – Prove that the Dakota were the state’s origin inhabitants.

 When you understand it fully, both sides weren’t equally wrong, and one side, the Dakota people, suffered a greater injustice.”
—Incorrect – More whites were killed than Dakota.

Girls were raped by soldiers and then killed. We never found their bodies
—Incorrect – If this were true, the Christians in the group would have reported this.

Dozens of Dakota women were murdered along this way. His grandmother was bayonetted by a soldier on horseback.
—Absolutely Incorrect – If dozens had been killed, the Christians in the group would have reported this.
—Incorrect – Soldiers on horseback did not carry bayonets.

Dakota kids have a high suicide rate. They don’t graduate from high school. This is the legacy of the mistreatment that happened in 1862. Nobody has done anything to repair those harms.
—What does this mean? Who is responsible for repairing those harms?
—Maybe if people stopped spreading untruths about the Dakota War, this would help?

Genocide was committed. Bounties were placed on Dakota scalps. There were mass executions. There was suppression of our religion and our language.
—Unbalanced – If the whites committed genocide, then the Dakota also committed genocide.
—Unbalanced – Dakota also placed bounties on white scalps. Bounties were placed on Dakota scalps after the war because hostile Dakota were returning to Minnesota and killing whites.
—Unbalanced – More than 650 innocent white men, women and children were killed by hostile Dakota.
—Unbalanced – There was also suppression of other languages.
—Suppression of Dakota religion occurred following the hostilities caused by the Ghost Dance.

How painful to be separated from beloved brothers, fathers and uncles who were providers and protectors.
—Unbalanced – What about the pain and suffering of innocent whites?

I know of no country where combatants of a sovereign nation were tried and hanged for protecting their families and homeland.
—Incorrect – They were hanged for war crimes.

We need to tell the truth. We need to acknowledge the truth. We need to begin dialogue for land reparations. How to pay for the land we sold?
—I agree. We all need to tell and acknowledge the truth.
—Incorrect – The U.S. paid for this land in the 1900s.

Photos of Fort Snelling are eerie. This was the birth of an institution. Many died of hunger and despair.
—Unbalanced – The reason for the Fort Snelling Dakota camp was that 650 innocent men, women and children were killed by hostile Indians.

You’ll also see the names of 38 Dakota warriors who were hanged in the largest mass execution in U.S. history on December 26th, 1862. Most had been convicted by a military court of participating in the US-Dakota War that had begun in August that year. Unrepresented by any legal defense, the 38 were hanged in Mankato…
—Incorrect – This was the largest simultaneous mass execution in U.S. history.
—Incorrect – Not only did they participate, most were implicated in the murder or rape of innocent white men, women and children.
—Incorrect – In these types of trials, it was not required by law that the accused be furnished counsel.
—Unbalanced – What about the Dakota trial system? – There wasn’t one.

The exhibit features the work of 20 Native American artists and reflects a wide range of responses to the war and the past 150 years.
—Unbalanced – Where is the exhibit of white artists?

The American flag must be a complicated symbol for Native Americans…They’re proud to be American, and yet the flag is also a symbol of oppression and a symbol of their demise.
—Incorrect – Not all American Indians feel this way about the flag.

The U.S.-Dakota war started in August of 1862 after the Dakota, restricted to a narrow reservation along the Minnesota River, were left starving after a season of crops failed.
—Incorrect – There were 2 reservations.
—Incorrect – At 10 miles wide and about a combined 150 miles long, these were not narrow reservations.
—Incorrect – The Dakota were not confined to their reservations.

Money was owed to them by the federal government, but was tied up because of the ongoing Civil War.
—Incorrect – This was not the only reason the money was delayed.

Exhausted, hungry and desperate, a group of Dakota hunters decided to take food from a settler’s farm. Five whites died during the raid, sparking a decision by many Dakota to go to war to try to win back their ancestral lands.
—Incorrect – It cannot be proven they were exhausted, hungry and desperate.
—Incorrect – It cannot be proven they took food from a settler’s farm.
—Incorrect – This was not a raid.
—Incorrect – 100-150 men of a Lower Dakota Soldiers’ Lodge made the decision to go to war. The majority of the Dakota did not go to war against the whites.

Hundreds of settlers and soldiers were killed, but the war spelled ultimate disaster for the Dakota, who were imprisoned, exiled, executed and banished from their homeland.
—Incorrect – More than 650 whites were killed. This is why Dakota were imprisoned, exiled, executed and banished.
—Unbalanced – What happened to the whites after the war?

They were owed food, money and tools through their annuities. Food was in a warehouse and agent would not issue it.
—Incorrect – The agent did issue food to the Upper Dakota. He did not issue food to the Lower Dakota.

MHS is not blind to the fact that we have not had the best relationship so far.
—What does this mean?

Four to five hundred whites died during attacks on settlements and isolated farmsteads and in a handful of pitched battles…But even more Dakota died during the retribution that came after the war, in hangings, in prison camps, in exile to barren reservations where starvation and disease took heavy tolls.
—Incorrect – More than 650 white men, women and children were killed during the war.
—Unbalanced – Hundreds of whites died after the war from injuries received and from epidemics that swept the crowded refugee towns.

[In Mankato] the names of the 38 executed warriors – displayed on a new memorial unveiled yesterday…
—Incorrect – Unless the monument has been modified, it has been reported that 2 of the men named on the monument were not hanged and 2 that were hanged on not on this monument.

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