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View Diary: Indians 101: Hanging Indians in 1865 (12 comments)

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  •  Yep. This diary was... (33+ / 0-)

    ...part of the First Nations News & Views series that navajo and I produced in 2012—Dakota Descendants Seek Memorial for Largest U.S. Mass Execution:

    This year marks the 150th anniversary of the largest mass execution in U.S. history. On Dec. 26, 1862, on the direct orders of President Abraham Lincoln, 38 eastern Dakota (Sioux) men were sent to the gallows in Mankato, Minn., the penultimate act in the six-week-long Dakota War of 1862, also known as the Sioux Uprising. The final act was the expulsion of the Dakota from Minnesota and the termination of their reservations in the state.

    Now, direct descendants of those hanged that day want to establish a memorial to them in Reconciliation Park in Mankato. But the majority of the city council, after informally approving the memorial, retreated recently by tabling formal consideration. Calling up old language, one councilman spoke of the "hostility" in the words of a 1971 poem that supporters of the memorial want included on it. That poem, which the councilman called divisive and untrue had nothing to do with reconciliation, he said.

    Like hundreds of conflicts in the Indian wars before and after, the 1862 Dakota resistance arose out of broken promises. Before the ink was dry on the 1851 Treaty of Traverse des Sioux, Congress had stricken the crucial Article 3. This guaranteed a strip of land 70 miles long and 10 miles wide on each side of the Minnesota River for a reservation. Instead, Congress bought the land for 10 cents an acre and annuities.  

    Soon the Dakota were confined to the strip on the south side of the river. Payments of annuities were often late when they weren't diverted by greedy, unscrupulous Indian agents who had bribed their way into office. They stole from the Dakota by various means. By the late 1850s, deprived or their best hunting grounds, plagued by rough winters and failed crops, the starving Dakota became ever more dependent on government food distributions. These too were often late and, thanks to government contractors and agents, consisted of substandard goods when they arrived at all. The Dakota became increasingly incensed over land encroachments and the failure to enforce the treaty rights they had forced to exchange for money and goods.

    The push into a smaller space was meant to force the Dakota to adopt a new way of life. Chief Big Eagle said many years later, “It seemed too sudden to make a change [...] If the Indians had tried to make the whites live like them, the whites would have resisted and it was the same with many Indians.”

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 08:58:12 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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