Review – Six Essays

Review – Six Essays
December 26, 2018

A new exhibit, “States of Incarceration,” opened recently at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. “…it takes a deep look at an overrepresented group in the state’s prisons and jails: American Indians.”

The 1st item below describes the exhibit. The 2nd item identifies errors in the exhibit. The 3rd, 4th and 5th items are replies to the 2nd item. The 6th item is a reply to the 3rd, 4th and 5th items.

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Review – SP PP Historic FS

Historic Fort Snelling
June 24, 2016, St. Paul Pioneer Press insert
Published by Northwest Publications
Writers: Nick Woltman and Andy Rathbun
Reviewed on July 7, 2016

Items of Interest

This 48-page publication was inserted into the June 24, 2016 St. Paul Pioneer Press. However, it appears that only residential subscribers received a copy. As of this date, it has not been made available to the general public.

Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) has requested $34,000,000 from the State Legislature for renovations to Historic Fort Snelling. I believe this publication was produced in order to help justify this request for funding.

This publication contains many good photographs and area maps.

Some of my Dakota ancestors were taken to the Fort Snelling Internment Camp in 1862. They were not forced-marched. They were taken here to survive.

Text from this publication will not be provided in this review. All comments below are my comments related to statements in the publication. Some points in this publication are repeated several times. My comments on these points are also repeated. I focus mainly on the material related to the Dakota Indians and the 1862 Dakota War.

General Comments

  • This publication contains many incorrect and unbalanced statements. I believe it portends the future MHS interpretation at Historic Fort Snelling.
  • Incorrect – The U.S. was responsible for the Dakota Indians. The U.S. made the decisions to try them, move them to camps at Mankato and Fort Snelling and to remove most of them from the state. The State of Minnesota did not make these decisions and should not be held accountable.
  • Unbalanced – The Christian and Farmer Dakota prior to the 1862 Dakota War are not mentioned.
  • Unbalanced – The Friendly Indians who opposed the Dakota War, allied with the U.S. Army, rescued the hostages held by the hostile Dakota and brought an early end to the war are not mentioned.
  • Unbalanced – No mention is made of the Dakota Indians in the Fort Snelling Internment Camp who were taken to Faribault.
  • Unbalanced – No mention is made of the Dakota who left the Fort Snelling Internment Camp to become scouts for the U.S. Army.

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Review – Wintertime for the S/W Essay

 “Wintertime for the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate: Over One Hundred Fifty Years of Human rights Violations by the United States and the need for a Reconciliation Involving International Indigenous Human Rights Norms”
By Angelique Townsend EagleWoman
Wm Mitchell Law Review, Volume 39:2.
Reviewed December 6, 2014

Items of Interest

 The author lists human rights violations committed by the U. S. against the Sisseton and Wahpeton Dakota Indians from early white contact to present day.

 The author provides interesting information on life on the Lake Traverse Reservation of the Sisseton- Wahpeton – allotments – poverty – inadequate quality of life – applying “UN DRIP” to the Sisseton-Wahpeton / U.S. relationship – solutions.

Only that part of the essay related to the Dakota up to their exile from Minnesota is being reviewed.

General Comments

  • Incorrect – I believe that when an author uses another author’s published material, that the user must verify the accuracy of this material. Just because I find it in a book, does not mean it is correct.
  • Incorrect and Unbalanced – The author uses terms such as “genocide” and “concentration camp.” If the Dakota camp at Fort Snelling was a concentration camp, then the camps of white and mixed-blood hostages must also be called concentration camps. If it is said that the whites committed genocide, then it must also be said that the hostile Dakota committed genocide.
  • Disrespectful – I believe that if anyone in history is criticized, solid primary source proof must be provided.
  • Incorrect – General statements are made about the Dakota that do not apply to all Dakota.
  • In court cases against the U.S. in the 1900s, the Sisseton and Wahpeton proved that only a few of their people participated in the Dakota War of 1862. The U.S. agreed and paid Sisseton and Wahpeton descendants for land and annuities taken in 1862.
  • Many complicated subjects within this essay need more discussion.

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Review – Minnesota Bounties Essay

 “Minnesota Bounties on Dakota Men During the U.S. – Dakota War”
By Colette Routel
Wm Mitchell College of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper Series, Paper No. 201
Reviewed November 29, 2014

 Items of Interest

This is a good read for anyone interested in the bounty system in Minnesota after the Dakota War of 1862: Why it was put in place – The opposition to paying bounties – Details on when and where the scalps were taken – Legality of the bounty system – The Lieber Code.

The author discusses: What to call this war – The decision for war – Who participated in this decision – Their sovereignty – When did the war end.

The author dispels the often made statement that Little Crow was killed for a bounty. Little Crow was killed before it was known that the public could receive bounties for Dakota scalps.

General Comments

  •  Incorrect – The author believes the 1862 Dakota War continued into 1863. Thus the bounties paid in 1863 were paid during the war as the title suggests.
  • Unbalanced – While focusing on the Minnesota bounty system, the author ignores bounties offered by the hostile Dakota during the Dakota War of 1862.
  • Unbalanced – The author focuses on U.S. military laws of warfare. What were the hostile Dakota laws of warfare?
  • Unbalanced – There are many versions of the sequence of events following the murders at Acton on August 17, 1862. More information is needed.
  • More information is needed on the traditional Dakota decision-making process. 

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Review – I Could not Afford Essay

 “I Could not Afford to Hang Men for Votes. Lincoln the Lawyer, Humanitarian Concerns, and the Dakota Pardons,”
By Paul Finkelman
Reviewed November 21, 2014

 Items of Interest

This essay is a good read for anyone who wants to know more about the various factors and people that influenced President Lincoln’s decision to hang 38 men following the Dakota War of 1862.

The author dispels some common beliefs on the meeting between Bishop Whipple and President Lincoln in September 1862. It is possible this meeting never took place.

I will review only the part of the essay directly related to the Dakota War of 1862.

 General Comments

  • Unbalanced – Several times, the author discredits reports of atrocities committed by the hostile Dakota during the war; but does not provide examples of atrocities that did occur. See Michno, Dakota Dawn: The Decisive First Week of the Sioux Uprising, August 17-24, 1862.
  • Unbalanced – The author devotes much text in defining what we should call the Dakota War of 1862. However, he does not examine this from the perspective of the Dakota majority who did not go to war.
  • Incorrect – At least one white and several Dakota/White mixed bloods were among the hostile Dakota who went to war, who were tried, who were hanged at Mankato and who died after the war. They were not all Dakota.  Continue reading

Review – Reconciling Memory Essay

 “Reconciling Memory: Landscapes, Commemorations, and Enduring Conflicts of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862” (2011).
History Dissertations. Paper 28.
By Julie A. Anderson
Updated November 24, 2014

 Items of Interest

 The white settlers did nothing wrong. They were innocent victims of the brutality of traditional Dakota warfare. 

I need to repeat this. The white settlers did nothing wrong. They were innocent victims of the brutality of traditional Dakota warfare.

General Comments

  • Unbalanced – The title suggests that this essay is balanced. It is not balanced, as shown below.
  • Incorrect – The “rift” between the Dakota and white communities is not as great as suggested in this essay. A few Dakota activists and some whites are benefiting from this supposed “rift.”
  • Incorrect – Reconciliation has different meanings to different people. For this reason, reconciliation is not possible unless all sides can agree on what it means. In almost all cases, it has been whites who have initiated reconciliation.
  • Incorrect – At the time of the internment camp at Fort Snelling, “Soldiers at the fort raped women and those who resisted were often killed…” This quote is credited to Monjeau-Marz, The Dakota Indian Internment at Fort Snelling, 1862-64. It cannot be found on the page cited by the author. This is incorrect.
  • Unbalanced – If it is said that the U.S. committed genocide against the Dakota, then it must be said that the Dakota committed genocide against the white settlers.
  • Unbalanced – How did the Dakota mark historic places before the whites came. Is marking historic places a “white thing”?
  • Unbalanced – The Dakota communities have land and money. Did they erect signs and monuments to remember the Dakota War? Have they had ceremonies to remember the Dakota War and if they did, did they invite whites to these ceremonies?
  • Unbalanced – The author does not mention the atrocities committed by the hostile Dakota during the war. Number killed is important but it is also important to discuss the brutality of traditional Dakota warfare.
  • Disrespectful – The “fur traders” are criticized a number of times. I ask the author to name those fur traders who cheated the Indians and show proof.  Continue reading