Review – TPT The Past is Alive Within Us – Video

 The Past Is Alive Within Us: The U.S. – Dakota Conflict
A Video by TPT (Twin Cities Public Television)
Updated on March 17, 2016

Items of Interest

Funding is made possible by the State Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. In other words, Minnesota tax payers financed this film.

General Comments

  • There needs to be better administration on the Legacy Fund to prevent products like this from happening again.
  • Unbalanced and Disrespectful – A great portion of this video focuses on the Dakota. Speakers in this video say that we need to understand both sides, but this is not happening in this video.
  • Unbalanced – The words “reconciliation” and “healing” are often used but are never defined. How does telling only one side, promote reconciliation and healing for everyone?
  • Incorrect – The term “concentration camp” is used to evoke images of the Nazi concentration camps. By no means was the Fort Snelling Dakota internment camp similar to a Nazi concentration camp.
  • Incorrect – The U.S. – Dakota Conflict is included in the title, but little was said about the Conflict itself.
  • Incorrect – There are many generalities that do not apply to all persons in that group.
  • Incorrect – Discussions of complicated subjects are too short.
  • Incorrect – There are statements made, without clarification, making it difficult to understand what the speaker is saying.
  • Incorrect – Who, when and where is often confusing.
  • Incorrect – It is not clear that there were two 1851 Treaties, two 1858 Treaties and two Minnesota Dakota Reservations.
  • There are many incorrect, unbalanced and disrespectful statements. See below.

Most Objectionable Statements

This was and is Dakota homeland without a doubt. We were connected and tied to this place. We have significant sites, prayer sites, burial sites and gathering sites.
—Incorrect – The Dakota did not originate in Minnesota. Other groups who were here before the Dakota also had significant sites.

We suffer from a cultural imperialism.
—What does this mean?

For us the war has been lasting for one hundred and fifty years. We deserve to speak to that and address that situation so that we can heal.
—Unbalanced – All people whose ancestors were involved in the Dakota War have a right to speak and address that situation.
—Incorrect – Not all people whose ancestors were involved in the Dakota War are healing.

In November 1862, weeks after a conflict sparked by a white corrupt government Indian system in which between 400-600 white civilians and soldiers and an unknown number of Dakota were killed, 1700 non-combatant Dakota, primarily women, children and elders were marched by force 150 miles to a concentration camp below Fort Snelling
—Incorrect – There were many causes of the Dakota War.
—Incorrect – The war was sparked by the murder of 5 whites by Dakota in Acton Township, Meeker County.
—Incorrect – More than 650 white civilians and soldiers were killed.
—Incorrect – About 145 Dakota men were killed during the war.
—Incorrect – They were not forced-marched.
—Incorrect – The actual distance was a little more than 100 miles.
—Incorrect – This was not a concentration camp.

They were assaulted along the way by angry civilians and soldiers. The approximately 1400 who survived the walk and a brutal winter were exiled to a reservation in Crow Creek, SD.
—Incorrect – When, where and how were they assaulted by soldiers?
—Incorrect – Not all of the survivors were exiled.

In 2012, Dakota people again walked the forced march route to remember and grieve the suffering of their ancestors.
—Absolutely incorrect – The 2012 Commemorative March was more than 80% off the course of the 1862 march.

Since 1862, few people have asked for the Dakota perspective of what happened that year. The history of MN has been told from a largely white perspective. This program seeks to show how a 6 week’s long war 150 years ago, still causes pain today
—Unbalanced – Is this the core reason that this video is unbalanced to the Dakota side? This is a myth. History books, court testimonies and newspapers were filled with the Dakota perspective of the Dakota War. Obviously, this video is focused only on Dakota people who are still in pain today.

Dakota lived throughout Minnesota when the Jesuit missionaries arrived in 1642
—Incorrect – Dakota never lived throughout Minnesota at the same time.

There is a reason why we wanted to stay here – because we have a responsibility to this place to take care of it.
—Incorrect – How were the Dakota taking care of this land?

We had our societies – we had our structures for over 2,000 miles that we moved.
—What does this mean?


The Dakota had begun to share the land with the Ojibway by the 1700s.
—Incorrect – While they may have been friendly for brief periods, they were often at war. Why doesn’t this video discuss the bloody wars between the Dakota and their neighbors?

There were grave injustices that were done – horrors were visited on the Native Americans.
—Unbalanced – I think the speaker is saying the whites visited horrors on the Native Americans. But, Native Americans also visited horrors on Native Americans before the whites arrived.

The story isn’t what we always thought it is, because I don’t think we have been asking the right questions.
—What does this mean?

Historians…boil down the story and that’s what the public wants to consume.
—Incorrect – Not all of the public wants a boiled-down version.

You are disconnected from your sacred sites, your sacred places. When you are disconnected from your relatives and you are forced to create a new home, it will affect you in ways that are very hard to explain.
—Who, when and where are missing. Is the speaker talking about when the last of the Dakota people were driven out of northern Minnesota by the Ojibway?

[Three comedians on stage making jokes]
—Disrespectful – This is distasteful, given the serious subject of this film. What if 3 white comedians were on stage making jokes about Dakota people?

What does healing look like? I don’t know. The problems that our Dakota communities face…is historical trauma as a result of systemic repression, colonization…
—If we cannot define healing, how do we know how to heal? How do we know if we have healed?
—Incorrect – All Dakota people are not facing historic trauma. This person does not speak for all Dakota people any more than I do.

Fortune 91 comedy group
—Disrespectful – Comedy here at this point, is distasteful.

They were starving – they didn’t get their blankets – It was cold.
—Incorrect – They were not all starving.
—Incorrect – Accounts don’t mention that blankets were needed.
—Incorrect – This was mid-summer. No one was cold.

We [whites] did a lot of things wrong and so that’s probably why we don’t talk about it.
—Incorrect – “We” did not do a lot of things wrong. This happened more than 150 years ago. Not a lot of people are interested in the Dakota War and they don’t talk about it.

[Events in New Ulm]
—There is no mention they are in New Ulm or what was happening in New Ulm.

Until relatively recently, the focus had been on what was called at various times the Sioux Massacre, the Dakota Conflict and now most commonly called the Dakota War. The attention was on that moment in time and what was missing was the build-up to that war
—Incorrect – Today it is called the U.S. – Dakota War by most people.
—This last sentence can be applied to this video. Very little is said on what caused the war.

When I think about Fort Snelling today, I think about our creation story. That is Bdote, the place where the energy is…it is a journey about coming to terms with the pain and what happens there. It was a concentration camp – It was intentional. We have to look at what was the intention Governor Ramsey’s at the time. That was to exterminate the Sioux Indians.
—Incorrect – That the Fort Snelling area was a place of creation is a more recent belief. The long- standing Dakota place of creation was Mille lacs Lake.
—For more information on the word Bdote see “Definitions” on the top bar.
—Incorrect – It was not a concentration camp.
—Incorrect – Governor Ramsey did not move the Dakota to this camp. The federal government did.

—Disrespectful – Governor Ramsey was representing the public opinion.

The northern part of what is today the state was home to the Ojibway people. And the Dakota people primarily to the southeastern and to the west.
—Incorrect – When was this ever true?

Our history is simplified through this binary of bad Indian vs. good Indian, farmer Indians vs. Christian Indians, traditional vs. non-traditional, long-hairs vs. cut-hairs. To separate people into two and to say one or the other is not reality and leaves out the majority of the population who were in the middle.
—Disrespectful – What do we call the Dakota who went to war and the Dakota who did not go to war?
—Incorrect – The Christian Indians were farmers. The farmers were not vs. the Christians.
—Incorrect – If there was a middle, few were in the middle.

Ramsey used all sorts of bullying tactics to get the [1851] treaty signed. The traders were allowed to slip in a paper that paid off the Dakota debts to them without the Dakota having any input on what was owed or even a clear understanding of what they were being asked to sign.
—Disrespectful – Ramsey should not be criticized without showing proof.
—Incorrect – There were two treaties. Which treaty is being discussed?
—Incorrect – There were Dakota who know they were signing to pay their trader debts. In a letter from Riggs to Sibley, Riggs stated that the Lac qui Parle Dakota discussed how their traders should be paid.

Sibley along with many traders made their fortunes in the 1851 treaties. Ramsey’s Indian system became a well-documented way to wealth for white Minnesotans.
—Incorrect – According to Sibley biographer, Rhoda Gilman, Sibley at best broke even.
—Disrespectful – Many of the traders listed in the 1851 Treaty of Traverse des Sioux were mixed-bloods. Did they make fortunes off the treaty?
—Disrespectful – Explain Ramsey’s Indian system and how it became a way to wealth for white Minnesotans.

The Indian system was built on a chain of patronage. You all know each other. Now, the Dakota don’t know most of you. There was not a lot of oversight. Transparency was not a word. You get to make the system how you want it. There was a lot of money involved in that system. Has that story vanished from American politics? – No, not at all.
—What does this mean?

Predictory lending was definitely alive and well back then.
—What does this mean?

The Minnesota Territory flooded with families looking for new beginnings even before the treaty was ratified in 1853.
—Incorrect – It was ratified in 1852.

We don’t see settlers until a few years before the Dakota War.
—Incorrect – The previous statement says settlers flooded in before 1853.

I don’t know that I can answer whether I think the settlers were innocent or not. They were both. …they knew that Dakota people were here. What the invasion of people was like on our land and what that meant on the resources…
—Incorrect and disrespectful – The settlers cannot be blamed in any way.
—Incorrect – Knowing that Dakota were here does not make the settlers guilty.
—Unbalanced – When the Dakota migrated out of northern Minnesota, they were invaders. They forced other tribes to move or be killed.

Even 150 years ago the churches in this area were part of the brokenness that occurred and I think the church needs to be part of the healing and the justice making and the peace making that’s happening now, hopefully.
—Incorrect and disrespectful – Explain how 2 churches in New Ulm were part of the brokenness that occurred.
—Incorrect – The churches today are not responsible for what happened 150 years ago.
—What does “healing and justice making and peace making” mean?

An exploratory group from the German Land Company came upriver from Chicago to find a spot for settlement.
—Incorrect – New Ulm is not upriver from Chicago.

It is really the Treaty of 1858, when half of what they had was taken truly by force.
They were told by the officials in Washington if they didn’t give up half their reservation, they would be driven off altogether
—Incorrect – The Dakota did not own the reservation land on the north side of the river.
—Incorrect – It was not taken by force.
—Incorrect – The U.S. paid for this land in the 1851 Treaties and they paid for this land a second time in the 1858 Treaties.

Minnesota in 1863 after the Dakota War is a fundamentally different place than it was before the war. It is the start of the path that becomes the state of Minnesota. It involves very different cultures, political, social, economical and spiritual.
—What does this mean? This statement is out of sequence.

Contained on a reservation surrounded by white settlement, the Dakota were manipulated into a more agricultural life style. Those who quickly complied were given better treatment than those who resisted. Most say the divide and conquer tactics had begun.
—Incorrect – There were 2 reservations.
—Incorrect – They were not surrounded by white people.
—Incorrect – They were not manipulated. They freely chose to become farmers.
—What does “quickly complied” mean? Were those who later became farmers treated any differently that those who “quickly complied.”
—Disrespectful – This was not divide and conquer. How was becoming farmers being conquered?

It wasn’t that Dakota people did not farmed before…We harvested natural wild vegetation
It was the first that we learned how to plow the land and have a farming community that fit to western European ideals of what agriculture is.
—They also planted small gardens.
—Incorrect – As early as 1834 in Cloudman’s village at Lake Calhoun, Dakota were learning how to plow.

Farming meant more – It meant cutting their hair, donning European clothing. It meant giving up their customs. It wasn’t enough to be a farmer; they were to shed their culture entirely. So of course this creates enormous tension between those who were intent on maintaining their identity and those who feel the only way to survive is to give it up.
—Incorrect – Those who became farmers did not give up their customs or their culture entirely.
—Incorrect – We cannot say that all who became farmers thought it was the only way to survive.

The Sisseton and Wahpeton could continue their traditional life-ways pretty much as they always had because there were so few settlers in their part of the state. The Mdewakanton and Wahpekute people were confronted by settlers every time they left their reservation. And the settlers were competing with them for the game in the Big Woods that had always been theirs
The Mdewakanton people understood when they signed their treaties they would be allowed to hunt in their traditional lands as long as they needed to…There was a lot of misunderstanding. Settlers understood the lands were empty. Mdewakanton people considered it their land.
—Incorrect – Some Sisseton and Wahpeton had to move as a result of the treaties. Many were converting to farming with help from the missions and the U.S. Government.
—Incorrect – They were not “confronted” by settlers every time they left their reservation.
—Incorrect – The Big Woods were ceded in the treaties. The Dakota were now competing with the settlers.
—Incorrect – We don’t know what “the Mdewakanton” understood when they signed their treaties.
—The lands off the reservations were empty. The Mdewakanton, who considered this their land, were incorrect.

For Minnesota which had only become a state in 1858, the Civil War was a bit of a Godsend…
—What does this mean? How can anyone say the Civil War was a Godsend?

Nearly all these agencies were surrounded not only by the agents but the traders who were usually relatives and everybody waiting for their money. So if they aren’t going to get their money, they aren’t going to give out their provisions. There was both chaos of the war and larceny that was always going on in the Indian System.
—Incorrect – Name one trader on the Minnesota Dakota reservations who was related to Indian Agent Galbraith.
—Incorrect – The main reason that many fur traders stopped giving credits, is they learned that some Dakota were planning to refuse to pay their debts when the annuity money came.
—Disrespectful – Show there was larceny.

In exchange for their land the Dakota were promised gold annuity payments that quickly went to traders in exchange for goods. The 1862 payment was months late. With warehouses full of desperately needed provisions, the traders refused to release them until the payment arrived.
—Incorrect – The Dakota did not spend all of their gold with the traders. Many came into New Ulm to make purchases.
—Incorrect – The 1862 payment was not months late.
—Incorrect – We don’t know how much food the traders had. It was the responsibility of the U.S. government to feed the Indians.
—Incorrect – Not all of the traders refused to issue food.
—Incorrect – The Indian agent did issue food to the Upper Dakota but not to the Lower Dakota.

Petition from citizens of Brown County to Ramsey…They are saying please make the annuity payments…And our fear is that they are going to attack if they don’t receive their payments which are justly due them. This may have been a selfish economical viewpoint because when the payments came, business was good in New Ulm.
—Incorrect – The citizens of New Ulm were likely more concerned about being attacked than losing business.

Thomas Galbraith, the Indian Agent, was not about to feed these starving folks without the money. He wanted his cut.
—Incorrect – Galbraith did issue food to the Upper Dakota.
—Disrespectful – Show that Galbraith “wanted his cut.”

There were discrepancies between things Galbraith wrote and what other people had said. Galbraith misrepresented that Little Crow was very happy with the way things were going on. Galbraith claimed Little Crow was interested in having a new brick house built for him. He wrote that Little Crow was finally going to give up his Dakota spirituality. He claimed the Dakota were not starving.
—Disrespectful – Why is this assault necessary on Galbraith’s statements after the War? Why does it matter whether Little Crow was happy or not with his new house or that he was going to give up his spirituality?

You had a situation in the summer of 1862. The Dakota were getting no help from Galbraith and no help from the traders. They were left in a starving condition.
—Incorrect – Galbraith did issue food to the Upper Dakota.
—Incorrect – Some of the traders were still giving credits.
—Incorrect – Not all of the Dakota were starving.

After the Upper Agency food was distributed, Little Crow spoke to trader Andrew Myrick at the Lower Agency: We have waited a long time…When men are hungry, they help themselves.”
—Incorrect – Little Crow had this discussion with Indian Agent Galbraith probably at the Upper Agency.

At Acton, Minnesota, on August 17, 1862, 4 young Dakota men killed 5 settlers. Back on the reservation, arguments ensued over surrendering the men to the white authorizes…Little Crow said he knew they would be killed no matter what choice they made.
—Incorrect – This occurred in Acton Township, Meeker County.
—Unbalanced – Why isn’t it mentioned that one of these 5 people was a woman and one was a 14-year old girl?
—Incorrect – Little Crow did not say he knew they would be killed no matter what they did.

At dawn the next day [August 18], Little Crow and the Dakota warriors attacked the Lower Sioux Agency. A small group of Dakota fanned out over the area and attacked settlers. The long awaited annuity payment arrived that day in St. Paul.
—Incorrect – Little Crow and some of the Dakota warriors attacked the Lower Sioux Agency.
—Incorrect – Many small groups of Dakota fanned out and attacked settlers.
—Incorrect – The annuity payment arrived that day at Fort Ridgely.

Lincoln gets the first message from the Governor of Minnesota that the Indian war has broken out…Ramsey said we cannot send 5,360 soldiers you say you need. Lincoln wrote back rather harshly to say “attend to the Indians – Necessity knows no law.” It was not an idle statement. Kill whoever you have to kill to put this down…
—Incorrect and Disrespectful – This speaker is embellishing Lincoln’s statement to Ramsey. Show that this is what Lincoln intended.

The original agreement to wage war at Birch Coulee and Ridgely separated a lot of our people
—What does this mean?
—Incorrect – The original decision to go to war against the whites separated a lot of our people.

…there were a lot of innocent [white] women and children killed…There were innocent lives taken on both sides.
—Unbalanced – There were many innocent whites killed during the war. Where were innocent Dakota killed during the war?
—Unbalanced – Why didn’t the producers of this video listen to this speaker and devote more time to the settler side of this war?

Why were they even attacking? Did some have specific reasons? Or was it an expression of some more immediate emotion? That gets translated by contemporary whites as savagery, or anger, vengeance, desperation. The number of words we can apply to this are infinite. But each attack doesn’t seem to have had the same purpose for each individual actor.
—What does this mean? Why is this here?

Thomas Quinn served with the Renville Rangers. They came together before the conflict. They were a group of Dakota men who were going to enlist to fight in the Civil War.
—Incorrect – They were a group of mixed-bloods and whites.

[Milford Monument ceremony]
—There is no explanation of what is happening here.

The Indians were starving to death and fed up with the way the government had been treating them – what they had been promised wasn’t forthcoming
—Incorrect – Not all of the Indians were starving to death or fed up with the government.

It was 2 cultures that collided because they were listening to the government
—What does this mean?

[Scenes from a painting]

Andrew Myrick is in the painting 3 times: One figure shows Myrick flashing a finger at the Indians. One figure shows a dead Myrick with grass in his mouth and up his butt. One figure shows Myrick in a wood-chipper.
—Disrespectful – This is inappropriate. Why is this included? What if this painter had shown Little Crow with straw up his butt, would this also be shown? I doubt it. It seems it is okay to disrespect whites but not Dakota.

The 1862 Dakota War or Uprising is still an unhealed wound in Minnesota history. To heal from it, it needs to be acknowledged and reconciled. 1st you have to learn about it.
—What does “unhealed wound” and “reconciled” mean?

We must remember our history. We must move into the future and heal the wounds that are still open from 1862. I hear from people in the state who are descendants from white settlers. Don’t you dare say you are sorry. Don’t you dare talk about reconciliation. It wasn’t me who did this. You can issue an apology for my g-g-grandfather but not for me. There is still that out there about the words reconciliation and apology. What do they really mean?
—There are people who want others to think there are many Dakota and whites who are still healing from the Dakota War of 1862. Why do they want people to believe this? If this person cannot define reconciliation and apology, what is he trying to do?
—Incorrect – No individual can issue an apology for what the Dakota did or what the whites did.

Between 400 and 600 white civilians and soldiers were killed…While the majority of Dakota people had little or no involvement in the war, their losses were only beginning.
—Incorrect – More than 650 white civilians and soldiers were killed.
—Unbalanced – The whites also continued to have losses after the war.

History tells us that out of the 7000 Dakota that were residing on the reservation here, from Morton up to Big Stone, about 500 participated in the war itself. We know…during that time period there were atrocities committed against them as well.
—Incorrect – 7,000 is too high.
—Incorrect – There were 2 reservations.
—Incorrect – The Lower Reservation started about 20 miles east of Morton.
—Incorrect – Maybe about 500 willingly participated, but others were forced by the hostile Dakota to participate.
—Incorrect – Show where atrocities were committed against Dakota people during the war.

I think we all have inherited a master narrative of the Dakota War that says the Dakota people were a monolithic body of people who made a choice to go to war. But that master narrative comes out of the retribution we inflicted on them after the war. We needed some way to justify expelling them all from Minnesota.
—Incorrect – We all haven’t inherited a master narrative of the Dakota War. Most people aren’t interested.
—Disrespectful – I don’t understand this logic. We each have different opinions based on what we have learned about this subject.
—Incorrect – The Dakota were not all expelled from Minnesota.

…our [Dakota] men were patriots.
—Incorrect – Dakota chief Akipa said to Chief Little Crow’s warriors, “there was no bravery in killing helpless men and women and little children, but that it was simply cowardice, and cowards would only boast of it.” See Through Dakota Eyes, page 134.

Today Dakota people dealing with the impact of historical trauma are finding a lot of ways to strengthen their culture.
—What does “historical trauma” mean?

We don’t have to be ashamed to express who we are. We no longer need to be afraid of expressing our culture and using our language.
—Incorrect – When and where and who were the last Dakota people who were ashamed and afraid?

There has been a great deal of harm done to what was an indigenous relationship with the earth which was a way of nurturing and caring for plants and animals in a balanced way
—Incorrect – Show how the Dakota cared for animals and plants in a balanced way.

We have generations of trauma, physical trauma, experienced through the lack of healthy food and access to what was an indigenous diet and medicine
—Incorrect – There were times when Dakota could not eat what they wanted, but not generations – not 150 years.

We should teach our children how to recuperate, innovate and renovate in a transformative way.
—Disrespectful – What does this mean? Aren’t Dakota parents doing this?

John C. Calhoun was a senator from South Carolina. He helped create the bureau of Indians Affairs. He wrote the first draft of the Indian Removal Act. These things are important to remember when you are thinking about changing that name.
—What name?

Cold Water Spring is a very significant site to the Dakota…Creation stories that draw us to this location…
—Incorrect – It is not significant to all Dakota.
—Incorrect – These creation stories are very recent. Lake Mille lacs has been for many years the Dakota place of creation.
—Incorrect – There is evidence that the current spring named Coldwater Spring was not the Dakota sacred spring.

I don’t think the end has been written yet. We still have the opportunity to generate and produce our own clarity. We have the ability. It comes down to whether we have the will.
—What does this mean?

Our story has never been told…Our story needs to be told through our Dakota people.
—Incorrect – Our story has been told many times by Dakota people in books, in court and in the newspapers.

[1491s Sketch Comedy Group – Gettysburg Address Parody at the Lincoln Memorial]
—Disrespectful – This is an insult to President Lincoln who saved about 265 Dakota men from the gallows.

What bothers me most is the same thing that bothers me about every other white historic figure
There were a bunch of Indian murderers and slave owners that get put up as these amazing heroes of the past.
—Incorrect – There were many white historic figures who helped the Dakota and saved many Dakota lives.

Sibley’s commander, General John Pope, desperate to regain respect after being disgraced at Bull Run and banished west, sent word to Sibley: “It is my purpose to utterly exterminate the Sioux. Destroy everything that belongs to them and force them out to the plains…They are to be treated as maniacs and wild beasts.”
—Disrespectful – Why is it necessary to disrespect Pope? Is this speaker saying that Pope took out his disgrace at Bull Run on the Dakota? Hostile Dakota Indians had just killed more than 650 whites.

Sibley quickly separated the men from the women and appointed a military commission to begin trials.
—Incorrect – Sibley did not separate all of the men from the women. All of the men were not tried.

Lincoln made a blood sacrifice. If he had pardoned all of them, he probably would have had a violent rebellion in Minnesota.
—Incorrect – Lincoln gave very specific instructions to his aides and how to select those who were guilty.

To hang 38 warriors and to send to prison hundreds more, he had to understand what that would do to us as a society leaving our women without our men.
—Unbalanced – Where does this video talk about what the hostile Dakota did to many innocent white families? Some white families were completely destroyed.

On the day after Christmas, 38 Dakota amen ascended the gallows. The single rope tied to them all was cut by a man who had lost family members on August 18.
—Incorrect – A single rope was tied to the platform they were standing on.
—Incorrect – His family members were murdered by hostile Dakota on August 20.

The trials were unjust. They were not fair. Many of the 38 were innocent.
—Incorrect – These 38 were implicated in the murders of at least 99 whites and the rapes of 2 women. Some confessed to this.
—Unbalanced – Where in this video is the discussion of the Dakota trial system? If the hostile Dakota had broken through the barricades in New Ulm, they would not have had trials, they would have killed everyone.

Ramsey visited Lincoln after the 1864 election. Lincoln noted he had lost votes in Minnesota. Ramsey said if he had hung more Indians, he would have gotten more votes. Lincoln said, I would not hang men for votes.
—Why is this needed in this video?

When I examined the actions that followed up to and after the trials, innocent Dakota were placed in prisoner of war camps, treatment that they had to endure and the kinship ties that were broken, those are the things that don’t allow me to reconcile his [Lincoln] decision.
—Incorrect – The Fort Snelling camp was not a prisoner of war camp.
—Unbalanced – What do we call Chief Little Crow’s prisoner camp of white and mixed-blood hostages?
—Unbalanced – How many white kinship ties were broken forever as a result of more than 650 murders of white men, women and children.

People who portray them as villains and murderers don’t really understand who they were as men, fathers, brothers, grandfathers, as people who were trying to protect their families and who went to war because they wanted their families to live.
—Incorrect – How were they protecting their families by killing more than 650 whites, many of whom were women and children?

It was the largest mass execution in American history…I can understand why America does not want to acknowledge it.
—Is this correct that it was the largest mass execution in American history? It was the largest simultaneous mass hanging in U.S. History.
—Unbalanced – Compare this to the some 50 white men, women and children killed in Milford Township on August 18, 1862.

Settler descendants can have the same argument that they don’t know what happened to some of their settler remains. But their settler remains weren’t dug up and used for study. Part of the healing process for us would to be able to find out what happened to them and be able to have those ceremonies for them and to protect their spirits.
—Disrespectful – Does the fact that settler remains weren’t dug up negate the fact that they were murdered?
—What ceremonies protect their spirits?

MHS put holes in Little Crow’s scalp, put it in a hoop, photographed it, sold the photos and put it on display.
—Unbalanced – The Dakota also put holes in the scalps of their enemies, stretched them on hoops and put them on display.

Our [MHS] founders are the same men who negotiated the treaties. They are the same men who benefited financially from those transactions. Our organization was founded by those men in part to memorialize their achievements.
—Disrespectful – This is an odd comment by an official of the Minnesota Historical Society. When I look at Minnesota Historical Society Collections, Volume I, published on January 13, 1851, I find that much it is about Minnesota Indians.

At the end of the trials, the convicted men were shackled together and taken to a prison near Mankato. As they passed near New Ulm, a group of settler women burying their dead, attacked.
—Incorrect – The men to be tried were shackled before they were tried.
—Incorrect – There were also men in this group who were burying dead and who attacked.

Many of the families of those men along with Dakota who had protected whites and or had taken no part in the war, were marched in the opposite direction nearly 150 miles to the concentration camp below Fort Snelling. As they passed through Henderson, an armed mob attacked wounding several. A baby was ripped from its Dakota mother’s arms and slammed into the ground mortally wounding it.
—Incorrect – They traveled a little over 100 miles to Fort Snelling.
—Incorrect – This was not a concentration camp.
—Incorrect – At first they were in a camp on top of the bluff near Fort Snelling.
—Unbalanced – Where in this video are the graphic accounts of the many white babies killed by hostile Dakota?

…hot water was thrown on them, eggs, what have you.
—Unbalanced – Where in this video are the stories of the atrocities committed against the white settlers?

[On the original Dakota march to Fort Snelling] My great grandmother, and my mother went to the bathroom. When she came back, one of the soldiers bayoneted-stabbed her in the stomach and killed her.
—Incorrect – This is one of many versions of a story about a grandmother being killed by soldiers.
—Unbalanced – Where in this video are the graphic accounts of the many white women killed by hostile Dakota?

From what I understand, a lot of those people didn’t have shoes, didn’t have coats, they weren’t offered a ride.
—Incorrect – If people did not have shoes or coats, others would have provided them.
—Incorrect – There were many wagons in this group taken to Fort Snelling. If they wanted to ride, they could have.

[Commemorative March]

As we were walking on those old roads, back roads, I always wondered if my grandmother had the same view as I did. She was forced-marched to Fort Snelling. It was very very cold. They weren’t prepared for a walk. Many, many people died along the way
—Incorrect – This commemorate march was more than 80% off-course of the 1862 march.
—Incorrect – They were not forced-marched.
—Incorrect – Show that it was very very cold in the first week of November 1862.
—Incorrect – Show that they were not prepared and that “many, many” people died along the way. Perhaps 2-3 died.

Over the long winter that followed, hundreds would die of disease, exposure and malnourishment.
—Incorrect – The official count was 130 deaths.
—Incorrect – Show that exposure and malnourishment contributed to deaths. The Indians were fed the same rations as the U.S. Army.

The Federal Government knew their agenda for everyone interned at Fort Snelling. They were going to exile them if they didn’t die first.
—Incorrect – Show that the Federal Government had an agenda and when they had this agenda.
—Incorrect – Not all were exiled.

The surviving women, children and elders held captive at Fort Snelling…were loaded onto a steamboat that would take them to the Crow Creek Reservation in present day South Dakota.
—Incorrect – There were also young men in this group.
—Incorrect – Not all were removed from the state.
—Incorrect – There was more than 1 steamboat

The treaties were voided. Some of the money that was revoked was paid in reparations to the settlers.
—Incorrect – In the 1900s, through a series of claims against the U.S., descendants of the Dakota were paid for the annuities and land taken in 1863.

By 1864, Secretary of the Interior was saying concentration of Indians on reservations is the settled policy of the Federal Government. You like to say we didn’t have concentration camps. But, they used that term. That’s what a reservation is.
—Incorrect – Those today, who use the term “concentration camp,” want others to think the Fort Snelling Internment camp was similar to a Nazi concentration camp. This speaker draws an incorrect conclusion to cause people to think reservations are the same as Nazi concentration camps.

Steven’s Panorama
This was a story of good and evil. He used very very disturbing accounts of survivors who described in horrible detail the torture of children, rape of women, massacre of innocent farmers. When you look at the past, you have to look at events from many perspectives. Stevens did not do that. He told the story from the perspective of the settlers.
—Unbalanced – Isn’t this the reverse of what is happening in this video?

It has been a struggle for Dakota people to make sure their voices are heard.
—Unbalanced – It has been a struggle for many people to make sure their voices are heard.

There is still a lot of racism, discrimination. I always ask myself why. Is it because we fought for what was ours? Should we have given up and said, take what you want? Its in all indigenous people to give and share what we have. We thought we were doing that and giving so generously and sharing the things we had and we were taken advantage of
—Incorrect – This is a stretch to think there is racism because of what happened in 1862.

When they took our children, forcibly removed them from our homes and sent them to boarding schools. And they weren’t allowed to speak their language. They wanted to strip them of anything they knew of their culture.
—Incorrect – Children were not removed from good homes.
—Unbalanced – Did white boarding schools and public schools permit children to speak other than English? Were white boarding schools any better than Indian boarding schools?
—Unbalanced – There were Dakota families who asked that their children be placed in boarding schools. If not for these schools, children would have suffered from lack of food and clothing.

[Event at Pipestone]
When you are talking about reconciliation…it has to take place at Pipestone a sacred place to all native people.
—What does reconciliation in this context mean? Is this reconciliation between the Indians? Is this reconciliation between the Indians and the whites?

The Indian Removal Act of 1863 is still on the books. It is a federal law. It is a travesty that something like this exists even if it has no practical effect today. Therefore I support efforts to amend the Indian Removal Act to welcome Dakota people back to Minnesota.
—Incorrect – This Act did not remove all of the Dakota from the state. By the 1880s, the Dakota began returning. This Act also provided for land for the Dakota.
—Incorrect – Amending this Act, does nothing to welcome Dakota back to Minnesota. If they want to come back, they come back.

Commemorative March – Crossing Mendota Bridge
—Incorrect – The 1862 march crossed the Minnesota River at the Lower Sioux Agency or Fort Snelling and stayed on that side of the river all the way into Fort Snelling.

If there ever is going to be peace; you want me to learn about learn about your culture; therefore, you should learn about my culture. Minnesota history without Dakota history is not history.
—What does this mean? We are not at peace?

Our people are survivors of an American Holocaust. People don’t like to hear that word. But that’s what it was…Now is the time for long overdue reconciliation.
—Incorrect – If this had been a holocaust, there would be no Dakota today.
—What does reconciliation mean to this person?

People think if you just get all the facts, you will have history. You can never get all the facts.
There are millions of facts about every event. History is an ordering and interpretation of the facts, to try to understand the truth. History really tells us more about who we are today than the past.
—What does this mean? Why is this included in this video?

4 thoughts on “Review – TPT The Past is Alive Within Us – Video

  1. Thanks, John, for a great review. I looked forward to watching this program and was very disappointed. The program was a mess and poorly done. I didn’t learn a thing and what I did hear new sounded incorrect to me. Tpt should be ashamed of this program. I’ll have to reconsider my membership.
    Life long resident of New Ulm

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