Review – MHS DW Website (2 of 7)

Minnesota Historical Society (MHS)
U.S./Dakota War of 1862 Website – Revisited
http://usdakotawar.org/
2 – Dakota Homeland
http://usdakotawar.org/history/dakota-homeland
Reviewed on January 22, 2014
Updated on March 17, 2016

Items of Interest

General Comments

  • Incorrect – Refer to the map of Dakota Territory below following the video. MHS shows a map and gives the source. MHS’s map does not agree with the source.
  • Incorrect – MHS shows a map with division and band names of the Oceti Sakowin. Then, MHS gives the band names and their translations. Then, MHS provides a chart of the Oceti Sakowin with division and band names. These 3 products do not match each other, nor do they match other products on the Oceti Sakowin.
  • Incorrect – MHS shows a map under “Minnesota is a Dakota Place” that shows “some of the hundreds of places in Minnesota named by the Dakota…” The visitor is instructed to “Click on a marker to learn more about the Dakota connection to each place.” About 25% of the markers that I checked are plotted incorrectly. Some are far from their correct locations.

Most Objectionable Statements

Video – Dakota Homeland

Mni Sota Makoce – The land of cloud-tinted waters is the homeland of the Dakota people”
—Incorrect – According to Riggs’ Dakota-English Dictionary, “Mni” also means “mini” which means water. Riggs defines minisota as “whitish water.” The water is whitish because of its content not its reflection.

The Dakota relationship to that land is that she is our mother. Our descendants have been here thousands and thousands of years.
—Incorrect – Some Dakota call the earth grandmother. Which is correct?
—Incorrect – “descendants” probably should be “ancestors”.
—Incorrect – This depends upon the meaning of “here.”

The 7 campfires are the 7 stars in the constellation Orion.
—Incorrect – Campfires should be council fires.
—Incorrect – This belief is relatively recent. For more than 150 years, it was and still is believed that Mille lacs Lake was the Dakota place of origin. See “Bdote” below.

[As the council fires are named, they appear on a map.]
—Incorrect – The council fires are not shown in the correct locations.

You cannot be a Dakota without Dakota culture and spirituality being together.
—Incorrect – Dakota people who have converted to Christianity are still Dakota people.

This country is still ours spiritually because it is God given. When God does something, he doesn’t take it back.
—Incorrect – God did not give this land to the Dakota. The Dakota killed members of other tribes and took their land.

The land has a memory. Some day someone will be reminded of what happened there and it probably won’t be good.
—What does this mean?

End-of-Video

Even today, you live in the United States of Dakota. All of this is Dakota Territory.
[Map – Shows Dakota territory from Central Canada southeast through the east-central United States to South Carolina and Mississippi]
Map source: “Aboriginal Map of North America denoting the Boundaries and Locations of various Indian Tribes”. The House of Commons. Britain: 1857.
—Absolutely Incorrect – Take a look at the Smithsonian version:
http://collections.si.edu/search/results.htm?print=yes&q=record_ID:siris_arc_2448
—Then take a look at MHS’s version:
http://usdakotawar.org/history/dakota-homeland
—MHS has greatly exaggerated the Dakota Territory.

Mni Sota, according to the oral histories of many, has been Dakota homeland for thousands of years.
—Incorrect – It is believed that the ancestors of the Dakota Indians migrated into present day Minnesota. It cannot be proven they have been here for thousands of years.

Land and Lifeways

According to many, the area now known as Minnesota has been called “home” by Dakota people for thousands of years.
—Incorrect – It is believed that the ancestors of the Dakota Indians migrated into present day Minnesota. It cannot be proven they have been here for thousands of years.

Historicfortsnelling.org
—The Fort Snelling Website and the Fort Snelling Dakota War Website will be reviewed at a later date.

Read more about Dakota values in Beginning Dakota/Tokaheya Dakota Iyapi Kin and Dakota connection to the land at the Bdote Memory Map.
—Unbalanced – Where are the websites for the other ethnic groups?
—Bdote Memory Map has been previously reviewed on this blog. See “MHC Bdote Memory Map Website.”

Oral Tradition

Ohuŋkaŋkaŋ: Storytelling

For thousands of years, the Dakota have kept their history alive through a process called oral tradition, the purposeful repeating of stories. The stories tell of events that happened, and are told to teach lessons and explain why things are the way they are. 
—Incorrect – There is good oral history and bad oral history among the Dakota and the whites. Neither oral nor written history should be published without validation.
—Unbalanced – Where are the discussions on the oral history of other ethnic groups that were involved in the Dakota War of 1862?

Minnesota Historical Society staff members collected dozens of stories from Dakota people throughout Minnesota, the Midwest and Canada as well as from settler descendants in southwestern Minnesota during 2011 and 2012. Full transcripts and audio versions as well as selected quotes are available on this website. 
—Unbalanced – There are 39 interviews with people who have Dakota blood and 12 interviews with people who do not have Dakota blood. Dakota interviews outnumber non-Dakota interviews about 4 to 1.

Bdote

Where the two waters come together, otherwise referred to as Bdote, is the center of Dakota spirituality and history.  This is where the Dakota people began.
—For more information on the word Bdote see “Definitions” on the top bar.
—Incorrect – Riggs’ Dakota-English Dictionary defines Mdote as “the mouth or junction of one river with another (a name commonly applied to the country about Fort Snelling…”
—Incorrect – See Gideon Pond, “Gatherings from the Traditional History of the Mdewakantonwan Dakotas”, Dakota Tawaxitku Kin, September 1851. “…That the mouth of the Minnesota river (Watpa Minisota) lies immediately over the centre of the earth and under the centre of the heavens.” Pond did not say the mouth of the Minnesota River is a place of creation. In the same article, Pond wrote, “The Mdewakantonwan tradition…asserts that they sprang into existence about the lakes at the head of Rum river.” This is the Lake Mille lacs area.

The junction of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers–known to the Dakota as Bdote–is a place of major social, cultural, and historical significance to all people inhabiting the region…It is a place of cultural importance to many Dakota people as a site of creation…
—See previous paragraph.

Bdote Memory Map

—This has been previously reviewed on this blog. See “MHC Bdote Memory Map Website.”

Minnesota is a Dakota Place
http://usdakotawar.org/history/dakota-homeland/minnesota-dakota-place

This map shows some of the hundreds of places in Minnesota named by the Dakota.  Some have Dakota names, and others are translated from Dakota. Click on a marker to learn more about the Dakota connection to each place.
—Incorrect – About 25% of the markers that I checked are plotted incorrectly. Some are far from their correct locations.

Oceti Šakowiŋ: The Seven Council Fires

 [Map showing the Oceti Sakowin]http://usdakotawar.org/history/dakota-homeland/oceti-%C5%A1akowi%C5%8B-seven-council-fires
—Incorrect – The council fires are shown in the wrong locations.
—Incorrect – The spelling of the names of the council fires do not agree with the name of the council fires given in the next paragraph below.

 Oceti Šakowiŋ: The Seven Council Fires.
—Incorrect – The translations of the Council Fire names do not agree with definitions given in other locations.

…Bdewakantonwan, The Spirit Lake People (Mdewakanton)…
—For more information on the word Bdewakantunwan see “Definitions” on the top bar.

Related Images

[Chart – “Dakota (Oceti Sakowin Seven Council Fires)]
http://usdakotawar.org/history/dakota-homeland/oceti-%C5%A1akowi%C5%8B-seven-council-fires
—Incorrect – There are names on this chart that do not agree with information given above.

Tioŝpaye: Kinship

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