The 1862 war fought on Minnesota soil

  • Article by: CURTIS DAHLIN
  • Updated: February 16, 2013 - 6:16 PM

The U.S.-Dakota War was brief, but it took lives on a proportion with battles elsewhere.

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hobie2Feb. 16, 13 7:37 PM

"So when Dakota Indians launched their war against settlers and soldiers on Aug. 18, 1862"... I heard it started when the traders attacked the Dakota at the trade post and shot them first, and killed one... So the state was just peacefully going about their business when the hordes of wild savages suddenly went berserk and decided to have a war? Interesting. No talk of a bounty on Indians in the wrong place in the territorial or state legislature? Lucky those Indians couldn't read or write, or they might have thought that talk in the government of a bounty on killing them for being on a settlers land was unkind of the white folks.

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thehoffersFeb. 16, 13 8:12 PM

The Sioux made war on, and drove out the other indian nations who were here before them. This is merely the Sioux pot calling the anglo kettle black.

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starsailingFeb. 17, 1312:13 PM

Excellent article by Mr. Dahlin. I have read all of his books on the 1862 War and find the truth telling facts to be quite informative. There is a certain group of people who get press all the time on the subject of the 1862 war who have an agenda that is profitable to them. I prefer facts like the documentation Mr. Dahlin provides. A great free resource on the subject is on www.archive.org "History of Minnesota in the Civil and Indian War, Volume 1 and 2. Both volumes are packed with documenation of the names of soldiers and the events leading up to,during,and after the 1862 war as well as the U.S. Civil War. Hobie your post shows your complete lack of knowledge on the subject. War was discussed by the Dakota numerous times months before the Dakota attacked. Dakota believed the South was winning the war and it would be a good time to take back the land. As Big Eagle said "After the first talk of war the counsels of the peace Indians had prevailed, and many of us thought the danger had blown over." Ref "Through Dakota Eyes". Dakota were a Warrior society, for centuries taking scalps was a way of life for higher esteem among the tribe, a dance ritual was performed with it to give to grieving familes of killed Dakota etc. The Dakota had placed extra bounties on White leaders before the battles. After the war, returning War Dakotas in mid 1863 attacked settlers in Wright county, mutilating them which caused a temporary period of bounties on War Dakota scalps. It was removed. War Dakota did not remove their scalp bounties on whites. Dakota in prison camps and the internment camp at Ft Snelling began learning to read and write profusely. Books and writing supplies were given to them. Missionaries began to deliver hundreds of letters for them. Proudly they wrote in Dakota language,"inape on de wakage. I have written this with my own hand." Scouts and defenders from the war Dakota for the Army were Friendly Dakota, who lost everything because of the 100 or so War Dakota threatened to kill them if they did not join them in the war.The War Dakota destroyed the Friendly Dakota homes and farms. When Little Crow was trying to talk the 100 or so War Dakota out of war, he stated, You are full of the white man's devil water." (liquor). They did not listen, but further called him a coward. Ref Little Crow" by Gary Clayton Anderson. Mr. Dahlin's article sheds light on a missing story. I thank him for informing us.

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janetrkleinFeb. 17, 13 1:43 PM

Curt’s letter is important. These soldiers should be honorably remembered during the 150th commemoration of the Civil War. My great grand-uncle was a member of a militia and then went on to enlist in the Civil War effort. This was after his father and brother were killed, his brother’s wife and two infants were taken hostage, and his mother escaped to Fort Ridgely. But there were more victims from the U.S.-Dakota war. There were the innocent unarmed settlers and the innocent friendly Dakota who warned those settlers and helped many escape. We need to learn more about these groups who lives were shattered by the uprising. That’s why my group, Family and Friends of Dakota Uprising Victims was founded, to bring together these stories by honoring and memorializing all who are buried in unmarked graves. The settler descendants have entrusted us to tell another side of this complicated history, and we owe that to our ancestors. We must consider all viewpoints to ensure that no one is disenfranchised in the retelling: the soldiers, all Dakota and the settlers. This is the only way we can ensure understanding and healing from all sides. Jan Klein, Co-Chair, Family and Friends of Dakota Uprising Victims

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hobie2Feb. 17, 13 4:58 PM

starsailing - and so, being a fair and honest people, the Minnesotans rounded up all the friendly Indians and moved them out... To protect them... I have no dog in this fight. But I have read the history from several sources on both sides, and to claim the war was suddenly and unexpectedly started by the Dakota is total BS, as is your claim that the Dakota were a violent warrior people who couldn't or didn't change - and then cite "peaceful" Indians. Really? What is it, 1880?

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starsailingFeb. 17, 13 6:22 PM

Hobie , I have 27 years of preserving and protecting Dakota history and sites as well as Indian mounds and real sacred sites. I deal with facts. It is clear you are not educated in Dakota history, not because you can't be, but because you choose not to. The settlers were surprised that a war started, settlers and Dakota both stated so. It was one of the reasons whites were so easily killed. Numerous white victims did not believe it was happening and thought since they were good friends with Dakota, it was OK to stay, some walking right into death. In June 1862, Scarlet Plume and Cloudman sent a letter to Agent Galbraith through missionary Williamson that Yanktonais were coming to the annuity and vowed to kill the farmer indians that dress like whites and the whites in the valley if they did not receive their fair share of annuities. The soldiers lodge was talking about war months before, as Big Eagle said. He and other peace Indians mentioned how well the crops were also as a reason not to go to war. The civil war between the Blanket Dakota and the farmer Dakota was one of the major causes. Blanket Dakota would not let Farmer Dakota go to church or school, they destroyed the homes of the farmer Dakota because they were losing control of their religious and leadership powers. The Dakota soldiers lodge ruled they were not going to pay the traders, some who were relatives, and some traders stopped giving credit. Many more reasons to discuss. The U.S. Government "rounded up" Dakota not the state of Mn. I do not agree with that policy. But it happened due to the genocide War Dakota commited on white people. Dakota attacked the U.S. in the Revolutionary war, the War of 1812, again at Ft Snelling area/Camp New hope by Chief Wanata/Sisseton about 1821, and again tried to enlist Ojibway Indians in 1838 against Ft Snelling. When Ojibway said no, the Dakota killed a number of them. Do some research on "warrior society."The War Dakota did not want to change,many Dakota like Gabriel Renville became great progressive farmers yet did not give up their religious beliefs. Hobie it is 2013, snide remarks are not a sign of knowledge. The settlers were protected by treaty law on and off the reservation. At what point in time do people stop killing and taking scalps to give self esteem and a higher rank and the right to marry? What date in time?

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du1152Feb. 18, 13 2:57 PM

Thank You Mr. Dahlin for all of your great work you have put into your books. As a descendant of one of the families taken captive by Little Crow, and released at Camp Release at the end of the war, you have helped me understand with documented facts as to what actually happened. Thank You!

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