Review – MHS FR Info Website

Minnesota Historical Society Website
Fort Ridgely Historic Site Information
Fort Ridgely Media Room
Reviewed on August 27, 2015

 Items of Interest

The Fort Ridgely Historic Site Information is presented by MHS to attract the public to the Fort Ridgely Historic Site. I do not know the purpose of the Fort Ridgely Media Room.

General Comments

  • Incorrect – One statement indicates there were “280 military and civilian defenders” while another statement indicates there were “280 military personnel and civilians.” Both statements are incorrect. See below.
  • Unbalanced – Information is provided on the Dakota after the Dakota War of 1862, but no information is provided on the soldiers or the settlers after the war.
  • Disrespectful – Government officials and fur traders are criticized without showing proof.

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Review – MHS Online Classroom Website

 Minnesota Historical Society
Fort Snelling and the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862
http://collections.mnhs.org/ftsnelling1862/
Reviewed February 22, 2015

 Items of Interest

None

General Comments

  • —Incorrect – While Fort Snelling is part of the title, little is said about Fort Snelling.
  • —Incorrect – Complicated subjects are dealt with too briefly.
  • —Disrespectful – This website vilifies “the traders.” In defense of the traders, Chief Big Eagle said, “I do not say that the traders always cheated and lied about these accounts. I know many of them were honest men and kind and accommodating.”

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Review – Largest Mass Hanging – Website

United Native America.com
Largest Mass Hanging
http://www.unitednativeamerica.com/hanging.html

 Items of Interest

 “The thing about quotes on the Internet is that it is difficult to confirm their validity.”
         Abraham Lincoln

Of course, Abraham Lincoln never said this. The point is that just because you find it on the internet, does not make it true. The viewer and listener should be skeptical.

General Comments

  • There are many errors in this short piece.

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Review – MHS FS Website

Minnesota Historical Society (MHS)
Fort Snelling Website
http://www.historicfortsnelling.org/
Reviewed January 9, 2015

 Items of Interest

Only the text related to the fur trade, Dakota War and Dakota Indians is reviewed.

 General Comments

  • Unbalanced – No mention is made of traditional Dakota warfare during the Dakota War of 1862. Hostile Dakota tortured, scalped, decapitated, dismembered, brained, poked out eyes, etc. The visitor cannot understand why Dakota were hanged and exiled. Traditional Dakota warfare was brutal.
  • Unbalanced – What happened to the Dakota after the war is discussed. What happened to the whites after the war is not discussed.
  • It is not possible to cover such complicated subjects with so little interpretation.

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Review – MHS DW Website (7 of 7)

Minnesota Historical Society (MHS)
U.S./Dakota War of 1862 Website
http://usdakotawar.org/
7 – Today
http://usdakotawar.org/history/today
Reviewed on February 1, 2014 

Items of Interest 

General Comments

  • Unbalanced – The title of Part 7 of 7 should be changed from “Today” to “Dakota Today.” There is so very little said about white descendants that almost every statement is unbalanced in favor of the Dakota descendants. Rather than keep repeating this comment, only the most unbalanced statements are indicated.

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Review – MHS DW Website (6 of 7)

Minnesota Historical Society (MHS)
U.S./Dakota War of 1862 Website
http://usdakotawar.org/
6 – Aftermath
http://usdakotawar.org/history/aftermath
Reviewed on January 30, 2014 

Items of Interest

There are a couple of excellent maps: one on the “Settler Deaths by Location” and one on the “Dakota Diaspora after 1862.” 

General Comments

  • Given the title of this part, I expected it to be balanced. However:
  • The “Aftermath” video has 5 Dakota and zero non-Dakota speakers.
  • In the main text sections, including the “Aftermath” video, there is more than 7 times as much text on the Dakota than on the settlers.
  • In the main text sections, not including the videos, the word “Dakota” appears 66 times while all the white ethnic group names appear 2 times.
  • In the “Internment Camp” video, there are 4 Dakota speakers and zero non-Dakota speakers.
  • Incorrect – This part shows that using quotes extracted from interviews is not a good idea if accuracy is desired.
  • Incorrect – Screens are not in chronological sequence. The heading options on 2 of the screens are wrong.

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Review – MHS DW Website (5 of 7)

 Minnesota Historical Society (MHS)
U.S./Dakota War of 1862 Website
http://usdakotawar.org/
5 – War
http://usdakotawar.org/history/war
Reviewed on January 28, 2014 

Items of Interest

 Overall, this is the most balanced part of the 7 parts. However, in the video, Dakota speakers outnumber non-Dakota speakers by 6 to 1. In the main text sections, appearance of the word “Dakota” outnumbers the appearance of white ethnic group names by 38 to 2. But then in one of the “Key People” sections, the whites outnumber the Dakota by 22 to 11.

 General Comments

  • Unbalanced – Besides killing more than 650 whites, hostile Dakota decapitated, dismembered, brained, tortured, and scalped their victims. This was traditional Dakota warfare. Stories of these atrocities are not included. Later, the story is told of a Dakota baby being killed in Henderson. Where is the story of the 2 1/2 year old white girl who was snatched from her mother, held by her feet and dashed against a wagon wheel, her blood and brains spattering over her dying mother?
  • Incorrect and Disrespectful – A newspaper article under “Media Coverage of the War,” states that U.S. interpreter, Peter Quinn, was responsible for “criminal acts of aggression” at the Upper Agency. MHS states this occurred during the war. This is incorrect. It occurred two weeks prior to the war. The Indian Agent blamed Quinn for the break-in of the agency warehouse. Charles Flandrau and Timothy Sheehan later claimed that Quinn was not responsible. I ask that MHS either remove this newspaper item or date and interpret it correctly.  Continue reading