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<v Speaker>Dakota Conflict 3/8/93. <v Speaker>Producer Kristian Berg, length 56:39, Twin Citites Public Television. <v Host>On the day after Christmas 1862, 38 Dakota <v Host>men were hung together from a single gallows in Mankato, Minnesota. <v Host>It was the largest mass execution in the history of the United States, <v Host>a tragic end to what whites came to call the Great Sioux uprising. <v Host>And it marked the beginning of the exile of a people.
<v Speaker>Major funding for the Dakota conflict is provided by the St. Paul companies providing <v Speaker>insurance products and services throughout the world for 140 years. <v Speaker>Additional funding is provided by the Minnesota Humanities Commission, the Corporation <v Speaker>for Public Broadcasting, and by annual financial support from viewers like <v Speaker>you. <v Jack Weatherford>One of the tragic ironies of the hanging in Mankato in 1862 is <v Jack Weatherford>that it occurred within the same week that the Emancipation Proclamation was issued <v Jack Weatherford>freeing the slaves by Abraham Lincoln, the great emancipator himself <v Jack Weatherford>oversaw the whole process. And that makes the ironies all the more cruel. <v Jack Weatherford>I think that the two most tragic chapters in American history have to be <v Jack Weatherford>the slave trade in the south and the holocaust of American Indians in the West. <v Jack Weatherford>And those two chapters came together in a tragic way at Mankato in 1862. <v Wicasta Duzahan (Swift Man) Actor>[Speaking a Native language] [music]
<v Host 1>1862, in the midst of the Civil War, newspapers <v Host 1>North and South reported of a terrible Indian massacre <v Host 1>in the remote state of Minnesota. <v Host 1>Of families, women and children murdered in their homes. <v Host 1>For years, white settlers told stories of the red savages <v Host 1>and their depredations on innocent people. <v Speaker>1862, the Dakota people still hold close to them the memory <v Speaker>of that year in 1862. <v Speaker>The lives of the people changed and would never be the same. <v Speaker>For years they had gone along with the whites believing their promises, <v Speaker>watching their children go hungry. <v Speaker>The Dakota name for white people is wasicu. <v Speaker>It means takes the fat. [music] <v Host 1>On the 8th of June, 1851, a young artist by the name of Frank
<v Host 1>Blackwell Mayor boarded the steamship Excelsior in St. Louis, Missouri, <v Host 1>bound for the city of St. Paul and the Minnesota Territory. <v Host 1>There he would witness the signing of a great treaty between the federal government <v Host 1>and the eastern tribes of the Dakota nation. <v Host 1>In six bound sketchbooks Mayor recorded his journey, a <v Host 1>journey that took him a world away from his native Baltimore. <v Frank Blackwell Mayor Actor>As we near Lake Pepin, we first had intemation that we were emerging in a new region. <v Frank Blackwell Mayor Actor>On one side civilization had advanced and the log cabin and neat frame of the New <v Frank Blackwell Mayor Actor>England settler looked over the river to an Indian village where council smoke <v Frank Blackwell Mayor Actor>is still seen. Frank Blackwell, Mayor. <v Host 2>The village was called Kaposia which in Dakota means traveling light <v Host 2>for the people moved with the seasons and the food supply. <v Host 2>Life was a struggle and a Dakota lived for the good of the people if <v Host 2>he was to live it all.
<v Frank Blackwell Mayor Actor>The Chief, Little Crow, is a man of some 45 years of age and of a very determined <v Frank Blackwell Mayor Actor>and ambitious nature. But with all exceedingly gentle and dignified in his <v Frank Blackwell Mayor Actor>deportment, his face is full of intelligence when he is in conversation <v Frank Blackwell Mayor Actor>and his whole bearing is that of a gentleman. <v Host 2>Little Crow's Dakota name was Thaoyate Duta which <v Host 2>means His Red Nation, a name which carried great responsibility. <v Host 2>His people were Bdewakhathunwan Dakota and their neighbors, <v Host 2>the Wahpekute. <v Host 2>On the edge of the plains near the big stone lake, lived the Sissetonwan and the <v Host 2>Wahpetonwan. <v Host 2>The four bands would come to talk with the whites. <v Host 2>The whites called them the Sioux. <v Host 2>But it's a word that means snake. <v Host 2>The true name is Dakota which means the allies. <v Philander Prescott Actor>I fixed my mind upon the old chief's daughter. <v Philander Prescott Actor>Her name is Spirit in the Moon. <v Philander Prescott Actor>So I took 10 blankets, one gun, five gallons of whiskey and a horse,
<v Philander Prescott Actor>I went to the old chief's lodge and laid them down and told the old people my errand <v Philander Prescott Actor>and went off home. The third day I received word that my gift had been accepted. <v Philander Prescott Actor>She came forward to be my wife or companion as long as I choose to live with her. <v Philander Prescott Actor>Philander Prescott. <v Host 1>Philander Prescott like many fur traders married to Dakota woman and <v Host 1>was accepted as one of the family by marriage, a trader could have the business <v Host 1>of an entire Dakota village. <v Host 1>Even Henry Hasting Sibley of the powerful American Fur Company <v Host 1>married the daughter of a chief and had a child by her years before he married <v Host 1>a white woman. <v Host 2>In truth, my brother the Beaver does everything to perfection, a Native hunter <v Host 2>once said. He makes for us Kettle's axes, knives <v Host 2>and gives us food without the trouble of cultivating the ground. <v Host 2>Many Dakota felt the same, and this new way of living seemed to make life <v Host 2>easier. <v Host 1>Since the time of Thomas Jefferson, fur traders had been encouraged by the government to
<v Host 1>generate large debts from Indians. <v Host 1>Eventually, Indian leaders would be persuaded to give up their lands to pay off the debt. <v Host 1>And in Minnesota, if the Dakota agreed to a treaty, the traders knew <v Host 1>they could settle their accounts at a substantial profit. <v Host 1>[music] <v St. Paul Pioneer Actor>June 20th, 1851. <v St. Paul Pioneer Actor>This morning at sunrise, we are landed at Traverse de Sioux, a beautiful <v St. Paul Pioneer Actor>spot where the treaty is to be held being an inclined, expansive prairie <v St. Paul Pioneer Actor>nearly surrounded by a band of the river. <v St. Paul Pioneer Actor>And here we pitch our tents and await the arrival of the red Republicans. <v St. Paul Pioneer Actor>The St. Paul Pioneer. <v Host 1>Up the winding Minnesota River came an eager delegation of white officials, <v Host 1>traders and missionaries ready to deal. <v Host 1>They brought with them cattle to supply great feasts, and people wondered how so <v Host 1>much champagne ever found its way to the wilderness.
<v Host 1>But the stakes were high. Nearly 24 million acres <v Host 1>of Dakota land. <v Host 1>They knew the Sisitonwan and the Wahpetonwan had suffered a hard winter, <v Host 1>and if they would sign a treaty the other tribes would be forced to <v Host 1>negotiate. [music] <v Host 2>A great host gathered for the meeting. <v Host 2>There were a contest of sport and celebration as people renewed their friendships. <v Host 2>Owning the land was a strange idea to the Dakota people. <v Host 2>Yet they knew the whites were coming like locusts on the trees. <v Host 2>The people had already sold the land used to the Mississippi. <v Host 2>Now the whites wanted the land to the West. <v Host 1>Leading the delegation was Alexander Ramsy, the territorial governor <v Host 1>of Minnesota. Young and ambitious, Ramsy's political future <v Host 1>was riding on a successful treaty.
<v Host 1>He relied on the traders. Their kinship with the Dakota was a powerful <v Host 1>influence. By 1850, Henry Sibley had boasted <v Host 1>the Indians are prepared to make a treaty and such a one as I may dictate. <v Host 1>Sibley's boast became reality as the Sisitonwan and the Wahpetonwan <v Host 1>signed the Treaty of Traverse de Sioux on July 23rd, <v Host 1>1851. <v Host 2>The talks moved downstream to Mendota, and for two days <v Host 2>the leaders of the Mdewakantonwan and the Wahpekute would not sign anything. <v Host 2>They sat and smoked their council pipes. <v Host 2>Finally Thaoyate Duta stood up and faced the council. <v Host 2>'These men sit still and say nothing,' he said. <v Host 2>'But you fathers are the cause of it being so. <v Host 2>They speak of some money that is due them. <v Host 2>We will talk of nothing else if it is until next spring.' The treaty
<v Host 2>commisioner grew angry. <v Host 2>The great father would come with 100,000 men, they said, and drive you off to <v Host 2>the Rocky Mountains. They were met with silence. <v Host 2>At last the price was raised, and though there was still argument <v Host 2>over what they do to step forward and signed his name in big letters. <v Host 1>The Dakota agreed to give up their lands in return for a reservation, <v Host 1>assistance for schools, farms and trades and yearly payments <v Host 1>in gold and food. Their new home would be 10 miles on either side of the Minnesota <v Host 1>River from Lake Traverse to just west of the Cottonwood River. <v Host 1>They were also promised a large sum of money to move their villages and to settle their <v Host 1>affairs with the traders. <v Host 1>500,000 dollars. <v Host 2>The traders claim most of that money, and they were determined to get it. <v Host 2>At the treaty signing, they set up a second table and made the Chief sign <v Host 2>a paper which allowed the government to pay the traders directly.
<v Host 2>'I am not a white man. I do not know how to read and write,' said one chief. <v Host 2>They pulled me by the blanket and made me sign another paper. <v Host 2>It was not explained to me at all.' The money would never touch Dakota <v Host 2>hands. <v Gary Clayton Anderson>There were laws that prohibited large payoffs to fur traders. <v Gary Clayton Anderson>This had happened time and time again. <v Gary Clayton Anderson>And the federal government finally decided we must put a stop to it. <v Gary Clayton Anderson>So they passed a law that said you cannot write into an Indian treaty <v Gary Clayton Anderson>any kind of a major payoff to Indian traders. <v Gary Clayton Anderson>Those were the directives that Ramsey worked under. <v Gary Clayton Anderson>And, of course, he fully intended to ignore both of them. <v Speaker>As Frank Meyer left for St. Lewis, his sketchbooks full, settlers started <v Speaker>moving across the Mississippi.
<v Taoyateduta (Little Crow) Actor>[Speaking in a Native language] <v Host 1>In Washington, the Senate struck out the article of the treaty giving the Dakota a <v Host 1>reservation in Minnesota. <v Host 1>The Senate decided the Dakota could just move farther west. <v Host 1>The Dakota could not believe it. <v Wabasha Actor>[Speaking in Native language] <v Host 1>The Dakota would never sign any piece of paper that left <v Host 1>them without a home so Ramsy had to save the deal. <v Host 1>He discovered the President could let the Dakota keep their reservation for 5 years <v Host 1>which he agreed to do. But Ramsey still needed Dakota approval in <v Host 1>writing, saying they didn't actually own the land.
<v Host 1>Sibley and the traders marshaled all the support they could find among <v Host 1>their Dakota relatives. <v Host 1>No one knows what promises were made, but enough signatures were found <v Host 1>and the treaties approved. <v Host 1>A year later, the U.S. Senate brought Alexander Ramsey up on charges of fraud. <v Host 1>But he was cleared and the Dakota slowly made their way to the Minnesota <v Host 1>River Valley and their new home. <v Philander Prescott Actor>After the treaty business was all over. I was taken sick. <v Philander Prescott Actor>Indians said it was a judgment upon me. <v Philander Prescott Actor>Good Road in particular said he wished I would die. <v Philander Prescott Actor>Philander Prescott. [music] <v St. Paul Pioneer Actor>The news of the treaty accelerates our town, we behold now clearly <v St. Paul Pioneer Actor>in no remote perspective, like an exhibition of dissolving views. <v St. Paul Pioneer Actor>The red savages with their teepees, their horses and their famished dogs
<v St. Paul Pioneer Actor>fading, vanishing, dissolving away and in their places a thousand <v St. Paul Pioneer Actor>farms with their fences and white cottages and waving wheat fields <v St. Paul Pioneer Actor>and villages and cities crowned with spires. <v St. Paul Pioneer Actor>The St. Paul Pioneer. <v Host 1>White settlers flooded into the territory. <v Host 1>New towns sprang up almost overnight. <v Host 1>Towns with names like Redwing, Mankato, Shakopee. <v Host 1>All names of departed Dakota chiefs. <v Host 1>In 10 years, 160,000 Yankees and Europeans <v Host 1>rolled into Minnesota, clearing timber, plowing up fields <v Host 1>and fencing off their claims. <v Sebastian My Actor>Dear sister. Don't worry about us. <v Sebastian My Actor>We are living in peace as one family in our village. <v Sebastian My Actor>This helping each other it's one of the finest things. <v Sebastian My Actor>That's why we're making such progress here. <v Sebastian My Actor>Cattle raising gives us the least trouble. <v Sebastian My Actor>After milking the cows in the morning, they are driven them into the pasture. <v Sebastian My Actor>In the evenings, they are returned by themselves.
<v Sebastian My Actor>You don't have to work yourself into a humpback as in Germany. <v Sebastian My Actor>Your brother, Sebastian ?My? [music] <v Host 2>At the mouth of the Cottonwood River, a small group of Germans drew up the <v Host 2>town of New Ulm, Minnesota, sent by German immigration societies in Chicago <v Host 2>and Cincinnati. There were a hardy lot, weren't in much hurry to <v Host 2>embrace English, and they seemed to keep to themselves. <v Host 2>And one of the first things they did was to build a brewery. <v Host 2>The Dakota call the Germans the bad speakers, and many felt they were not good <v Host 2>neighbors. They did not learn Dakota words and did not share gifts and <v Host 2>food. And somewhere building their farms on land promised to the Dakota. <v Host 2>Government surveyors drew up new borders to allow the farms to stay. <v Host 2>8,000 Dakota people were now concentrated in the villages along the Minnesota River.
<v Host 2>The four tribes were to be served by two agencies, providing craftsmen <v Host 2>and teachers. But the promises in the treaties were not kept very well. <v Tatanka Najin (Standing Buffalo) Actor>[Speaking a Native language] <v Host 2>Most of the food shipments barely made it past St. Paul. <v Host 2>And what food did come was usually spoiled. <v Host 2>'I will leave these bones of my people on the prairie,' one chief said. <v Host 2>'And someday the Great Spirit will look the white man in the face and ask him what <v Host 2>has become of his red brother.' [singing]
<v Host 1>In the strains of this familiar old hymn was heard an unfamiliar tongue. <v Host 1>Working in the Dakota language, missionaries Stephen R. <v Host 1>Riggs and Thomas S. Williamson began a small enclave <v Host 1>of Christian Dakota. They called their missions the Hazelwood Republic <v Host 1>?inaudible? Or yellow medicine, and they worked in earnest to change <v Host 1>Dakota religion and culture. <v Thomas S. Williamson Actor>At the reservation the general opinion was that all who changed their dress must change <v Thomas S. Williamson Actor>their religion, and Little Crow assigned to this as the reason for doing neither. <v Thomas S. Williamson Actor>Saying he would not give up his medicine sack, gourd shell and armor because he wished <v Thomas S. Williamson Actor>when he died to go to the same place where his fathers are. <v Thomas S. Williamson Actor>To this Superintendent Kollin replied that he might retain all these and worship what <v Thomas S. Williamson Actor>and how he pleased if he would only have his haircut and put on a hat and pantaloons. <v Thomas S. Williamson Actor>But that's only convinced Little Crow of his ignorance. <v Thomas S. Williamson Actor>Thomas S. Williamson.
<v Host 2>The Dakota people were reluctant to leave their spiritual ways, which were the <v Host 2>very fabric of their lives. <v Host 2>They saw that the missionaries cared about them, but only as long as a Dakota <v Host 2>would change. <v Wambdi Tanka (Big Eagle) Actor>[Speaking a Native Language] <v Joseph R. Brown Actor>Although less than three years have elapsed since the first attempt to change the <v Joseph R. Brown Actor>condition of the Sioux from hunters to agriculturists. <v Joseph R. Brown Actor>There are now over 200 families located in comfortable houses who have abandoned <v Joseph R. Brown Actor>their roving habits and are dependent upon agriculture pursuits instead of the chase <v Joseph R. Brown Actor>for subsistence. Of this, there are 50 who were they white would
<v Joseph R. Brown Actor>be termed industrious, thrifty farmers and good citizens. <v Joseph R. Brown Actor>Joseph R. Brown. <v Host 1>Joseph Renshaw Brown was a former trader whiskey seller newspaper <v Host 1>editor. He was also the Sioux agent for the upper and lower agencies. <v Host 1>Brown had married a Dakota woman, had a large family, and probably knew more about the <v Host 1>Dakota than any agent before him. <v Host 1>And he was determined to turn the Indians into self-sufficient farmers. <v Host 1>His efforts served to divide the Dakota. <v Wambdi Tanka (Big Eagle) Actor>[Speaking Native language]
<v Lt. Timothy Sheehan Actor>Went out to see the country along the Minnesota River, a beautiful country too <v Lt. Timothy Sheehan Actor>good for Indians to inhabit. Lieutenant Timothy Sheehan. <v Lt. Timothy Sheehan Actor>[music] <v Host 1>Washington, D.C., Saturday, March 13th, 1858, <v Host 1>the Washington Evening Star reported the 26 fine and stalwarts Sioux <v Host 1>from Minnesota arrived in our fair city to meet with the Great Father, President <v Host 1>James Buchanan. <v Host 1>The Dakota delegates weren't feeling so stalwart after six days of train travel. <v Host 1>They boarded W.P. Chandler's coaches and were conveyed to Mrs. Mayor's Union <v Host 1>Hotel, where the proprietor encouraged their drumming and singing. <v Host 1>Good for business! She said. <v Host 2>Indian delegations to Washington were meant to impress Native peoples with the power <v Host 2>of the white government in the winter of 1858. <v Host 2>There were delegates from 13 Indian nations in the city at one time.
<v Host 2>So delegates were taken to military parades and artillery demonstrations. <v Host 2>They were taken to the theater and shown off at parties. <v Host 2>Officials found the Chiefs easier to deal with away from their homes and the influence <v Host 2>of their young men. <v Host 1>On May 24th, 46 days later, the real purpose of their trip was made clear. <v Host 1>Commissioner of Indian Affairs Charles E. <v Host 1>Mix Told the Dakota Chiefs that their 5 year lease had expired and the <v Host 1>government wanted all the land north of the Minnesota River, half their reservation. <v Host 1>They would be moved south of the river to live on 80 acre plots <v Host 1>doled out to individual families. <v Host 1>The Dakota were shocked to find they own nothing. <v Host 1>Thaoyate Duta objected. <v Host 1>The commissioner told him he was acting like a child. <v Taoyateduta (Little Crow) Actor>[Speaking in Native language]
<v Host 2>In the end, the Dakota signed the treaty. <v Host 2>By that time, they had been kept from their homes for 4 months. <v Host 2>They wished to go home. <v Host 2>The amount to be paid for their land was promised at 1.25 cents an acre. <v Host 2>Congress later dropped the figure to 30 cents. <v Host 2>And when all was done, the traders took all the money. <v Sarah Wakefield (Actor)>As soon as the Indians receive their money each year, the traders surround <v Sarah Wakefield (Actor)>them saying, you owe me so much for flour. <v Sarah Wakefield (Actor)>Another says, you owe me so much for sugar. <v Sarah Wakefield (Actor)>And the Indian gives it all up never knowing whether it is right or not. <v Sarah Wakefield (Actor)>I saw a poor fellow one day swallow his money. <v Sarah Wakefield (Actor)>I wondered he did not choke to death, but he said they will not have mine, for I <v Sarah Wakefield (Actor)>do not owe them. <v Sarah Wakefield (Actor)>Sarah Wakefield. [music] <v Edwin Lawton Actor>We passed by the Mission Chapel and several civilized Indian houses where the squaws
<v Edwin Lawton Actor>are in the fields seated on a platform above the tops of the grain, engaged in the very <v Edwin Lawton Actor>interesting occupation of scarecrows. <v Edwin Lawton Actor>Edwin Lawton. <v Host 1>In August of 1862, Adrian Ebell, a St. Paul photographer, and <v Host 1>his assistant, Edwin Lawton, traveled upriver, anxious to record <v Host 1>the work of civilization. Among the Dakota, they found a new agent, <v Host 1>Thomas J. Galbraith, busily recruiting men to take South to the war. <v Host 1>He was also dealing with some very hungry, very angry people. <v Host 1>Cut worms, destroyed last year's corn crop, followed by a hard Minnesota <v Host 1>winter. Since the whites moved in, deer and game had all but disappeared. <v Host 1>The treaty payment was late. The traders laid claim to the money, and this <v Host 1>time they clamped off credit. <v Host 2>On August 4th, Sisitonwan and Wahpetonwan warriors broke into the food <v Host 2>store at the upper agency and took a little food. <v Host 2>There were 5,000 people near starvation, but Agent Galbraith refused
<v Host 2>to release the food because he knew that their hunger would force them to alter the <v Host 2>trader's claims. <v Host 2>A council was gathered. <v Taoyateduta (Little Crow) Actor>[Speaking Native language] <v Host 2>Trader Andrew Jackson Meyrick turned away from the council in disgust. <v Host 2>He said, 'So far as I am concerned, if they're hungry, let them eat grass <v Host 2>or their own dung.' Everything was silent as Meyrick;s words were
<v Host 2>told in Dakota. <v Host 2>The council arose and left in anger. <v Host 2>The people were like tinder to a spark. <v Host 2>On Sunday, August 17th, four young men of shock pase band <v Host 2>had been hunting north of the reserve. <v Host 2>They were standing in a farmer's henhouse. <v Host 2>They argued whether to take the eggs. <v Eli Taylor>I guess some of them got pushed in the corner and there was a sitting hen on her eggs. And they stepped on her eggs, <v Eli Taylor>and the hen started to cackle. <v Eli Taylor>And of course, the lady heard it, so she comes out and sees these Indians <v Eli Taylor>in there, run back in and brought out a broom or whatever kind of right broom that <v Eli Taylor>they used to have tied together. <v Eli Taylor>She come out of that. And then hit them over the head, and they all laugh. <v Eli Taylor>She didn't hit them all. She just hit the one guy, and he ran.
<v Eli Taylor>So then all the others left. <v Eli Taylor>You let a woman <v Eli Taylor>chase you around with a broom. That's- that's funny. [laughter] So he goes back, <v Eli Taylor>and he kills that woman. <v Eli Taylor>And that's- that's how it's started. [night sounds] <v Host 2>That night, over 100 Dakota warriors descended on the brick house <v Host 2>of Thaoyate Duta. <v Host 2>4 of their men had killed a white family. <v Host 2>Now is the time they argued to strike. <v Host 2>The payments are late. Our people are starving. <v Host 2>Now is the time for war. <v Host 2>Thaoyate Duta disagreed. <v Host 2>He thought the idea foolish and refused to help them. <v Host 2>Someone in the crowd called him a coward. <v Host 2>His son, Wowinape, remembered his words. <v Taoyateduta (Little Crow) Actor>[Speaking Native language]
<v Host 1> <v Host 1>On the morning of August 18th, James Lind, the clerk at Andrew Meyrick store, <v Host 1>quietly left his writing. <v Host 1>He'd been troubled by a premonition all morning. <v Host 1>He stood in the east doorway and was shot down. <v Host 1>He was the first to die. [music] <v Host 2>Painted Dakota warriors descended upon the lower agency and killed as many traders <v Host 2>as they could find. Andrew Meyrick jumped from a second story window and tried to <v Host 2>escape. He was shot and killed. <v Host 2>His mouth was stuffed with grass. <v Host 1>At Fort Ridgely, Captain John Marsh gathered 46 men and marched toward the agency. <v Host 1>He ignored the warnings of terrified people running the opposite direction, <v Host 1>but ordered his men to the double quick. <v Host 1>He and his men were ambushed at the Redwood Ferry Crossing. <v Host 1>Marsh drowned, trying to escape.
<v Host 1>Now in command of Fort Ridgely was Thomas P. <v Host 1>Geer, an 18 year old lieutenant left with 30 men and a case of the mumps. <v Host 1>Geer sent a hastily scratched ink blotched letter to Governor Ramsey, pleading <v Host 1>for help while war parties swept through the valley. <v Host 1>The German settlement of Milford was built on land claimed by the Dakota people. <v Host 1>Vengeance was swift and terrible. <v Host 1>Warriors killed over 50 while. <v Host 1>The Dakota fought in the traditional way. <v Host 1>All were enemies. Your captives were taken. <v Host 1>They were the women and children. <v Alvina Eastlick Actor>I could not go without first seeing my husband. <v Alvina Eastlick Actor>I went to him and found him fallen over his side, probably having died without a <v Alvina Eastlick Actor>struggle. I could see no blood about him. <v Alvina Eastlick Actor>I kneel down beside him and there in the tall grass along with the dead, I took my <v Alvina Eastlick Actor>last farewell to poor John, eexpecting soon to follow <v Alvina Eastlick Actor>him. Alvina ?Eastlick? <v Mahpiyatowin (Blue Sky Woman) Actor>[Speaking Native Language]
<v Dr. Barbara Feezor Stewart> When the uprising happened of course <v Dr. Barbara Feezor Stewart>the the Dakota were split. <v Dr. Barbara Feezor Stewart>Some didn't know whether they wanted to fight. <v Dr. Barbara Feezor Stewart>Others were- thought, 'Well, I want to die like a man and <v Dr. Barbara Feezor Stewart>not die here like an animal,' because they were starving. <v Host 1>Governor Ramsy now turned to his old friend Henry Sibley. <v Host 1>Sibley had no military experience, but he knew the Dakota <v Host 1>and their language. He would lead a 1,400 man army to crush them. <v Wambdi Tanka (Big Eagle) Actor>[Speaking Native language] <v Host 1>Bolstered with reinforcements, mixed blood recruits, armed refugees, <v Host 1>the number of fort rigidly defenders rose to 180.
<v Host 1>[gunfire] The Dakota attacked twice <v Host 1>in 3 days with as many as 400 men coming from all sides. <v Host 1>The 45 cannons finally drove them back. <v Host 1>The fighting ending in a thunderstorm. <v Host 1>Ironically, the gold for the payment was hidden in the fort. <v Host 1>It arrived 24 hours too late to make any difference. <v Adrian Ebell Actor>The entire country was completely panic stricken. <v Adrian Ebell Actor>The settlers fled from 10 to 30 miles according to the height of their excitement, <v Adrian Ebell Actor>and stopped in some deserted house whose inhabitants in like excitement abandoned <v Adrian Ebell Actor>their homes and so on, like the waves on the sea, each <v Adrian Ebell Actor>falling where the other had risen from. <v Adrian Ebell Actor>Adrian Ebell. <v Host 1>Panic emptied the Minnesota River Valley. <v Host 1>At the upper agency, a Dakota named John Other Day gathered settlers and missionaries <v Host 1>and set out across the prairie. <v Host 1>Among them were the photographers, Ebell and Laughton, with glass negatives
<v Host 1>in tow. They were running for their lives. <v Host 1>August 23rd, having hidden his family in a grove of trees, a man named <v Host 1>Meyers swam the Cottonwood River and ran for New Ulm. <v Host 1>Arriving just in time for the biggest pitched battle of the war. <v Host 1>[music] 600 <v Host 1>warriors swept down the terraced slopes toward the town, the defenders fought from <v Host 1>street barricades while 1,200 unarmed people huddled in basements <v Host 1>like sheep and cattle. <v Host 1>The fight was at times desperate, fighting hand to hand. <v Host 1>But the German townsfolk held on when nighttime fell. <v Host 1>All the buildings beyond the barricades were set ablaze. <v Host 1>The next morning, 190 buildings lay in ashes. <v Host 1>Only the few blocks they defended stood in the center of town. <v Host 1>And though the battle was won, there was no food, and ammunition was low.
<v Host 1>So New Ulm was evacuated. <v Host 1>2,000 people made the journey down the valley, and many never returned <v Host 1>to Minnesota. <v Stephen R. Riggs Actor>Desolation reigns, the potato fields are un-dug. <v Stephen R. Riggs Actor>The crows are holding high carnival over the ungathered cornfields. <v Stephen R. Riggs Actor>What the Indians think they will do for a living next winter I don't know. <v Stephen R. Riggs Actor>Perish, they must. <v Stephen R. Riggs Actor>And they will have the consolation to know that they have accomplished their own <v Stephen R. Riggs Actor>destruction. Stephen R. Riggs. <v Host 1>After the fighting, came an awful silence. <v Host 1>Circling crows signaled burial crews of more bodies. <v Host 1>And Sibley's army moved forward, not knowing the strength or numbers <v Host 1>of his enemy, Sibley moved slowly, taking days to travel <v Host 1>what normally took hours. The public was outraged. <v Jane Grace Swisshelm Actor>Governor Ramsey, for God's sake, put some live man in command of the force
<v Jane Grace Swisshelm Actor>against the Sioux and let Sibley have 100 men or thereabout in his undertaker's <v Jane Grace Swisshelm Actor>core. Jane Grace Swisshelm <v Host 1>Jane Grace Swisshelm was the editor for the St. Cloud Democrat. <v Host 1>While she was a vocal champion for women's rights and freeing the slaves, Ms. <v Host 1>Swisshelm had no charity for the Dakota. <v Jane Grace Swisshelm Actor>Every Sioux found on our soil deserves a permanent homestead, <v Jane Grace Swisshelm Actor>6 feet by 2. Shoot the hyenas, exterminate the wild beasts <v Jane Grace Swisshelm Actor>and make peace with the devil and all his hosts sooner than with these red jawed <v Jane Grace Swisshelm Actor>tigers whose fangs are dripping with the blood of innocents. <v Host 1>On August 28th, Sibley finally arrived at Fort Ridgely. <v Host 1>It had been 10 days since the violence began. <v Host 2>The Dakota moved up to Valley, thinking the white soldiers would attack. <v Host 2>When the attack didn't come a party returned to their village to retrieve belongings. <v Host 2>Across the river, high on the prairie, they saw one of Sibley's burial parties
<v Host 2>moving away toward Birch Coulee. <v Host 2>200 warriors were chosen to follow them. <v Host 2>The attack began at dawn. <v Host 1>The soldiers were pinned down for over 30 hours. <v Host 1>The sounds of battle were heard at Fort Ridgley, some 16 miles away. <v Host 1>Sibley finally arrived to rescue his men. <v Host 1>17 died and dozens more were wounded. <v Governor Alexander Ramsey Actor>The Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders <v Governor Alexander Ramsey Actor>of the state. The public safety imperatively requires it. <v Governor Alexander Ramsey Actor>Justice calls for it. The blood of the murdered cries to heaven for vengeance. <v Governor Alexander Ramsey Actor>Governor Alexander Ramsey. <v Host 2>Sissetonwan and Wahpetonwan chiefs ?inaudible? <v Host 2>refused to help those who fought. <v Host 2>Some of their men ran off to fight. <v Host 2>But they stood firm. <v Host 2>Thaoyate Duta would find no more help for this cause. <v Host 2>From his own ranks, members of a growing peace party were sending messages to Sibley
<v Host 2>to bring an end to the fighting. <v Host 2>Sibley's army was now at Boudette. <v Host 2>How would Lake. The Dakota mustered their forces for one last attack. <v Host 2>They would strike at dawn as the enemy broke camp. <v Wambdi Tanka (Big Eagle) Actor>[Speaking Native language]. <v Host 2> Most of the Dakota were over far out to fire <v Host 2>a shot. Chief ?Megoto? <v Host 2>was killed by a cannonball. <v Host 2>It is said the cannonball was nearly spent, and he was not afraid of it. <v Host 2>The Dakota were defeated. <v Host 2>As Warriors returned, they released over 100 white prisoners to those who wanted peace. <v Host 2>Some leaders like Wabasha and ?Wambadetonka? stayed to surrender.
<v Host 2>But Thaoyate Duta and his people left toward the plains. <v Sarah Wakefield (Actor)>I was told to hurry and change my clothes for my own as the soldiers were coming, <v Sarah Wakefield (Actor)>and it would be wrong for them to see me in a squaw dress. <v Sarah Wakefield (Actor)>At last we were ready, and we left our teepee and my Indian friends who had protected <v Sarah Wakefield (Actor)>me for 6 weeks. <v Sarah Wakefield (Actor)>The old women shook hands and kissed me and said, 'You are going <v Sarah Wakefield (Actor)>back where you will have good warm houses and plenty to eat, and we <v Sarah Wakefield (Actor)>will starve on the plains this winter.' Sarah Wakefield. <v Host 1>Sarah Wakefield was the doctor's wife from the upper agency. <v Host 1>She and her baby had been captured and protected from harm by a Dakota man named <v Host 1>Chaska. As Sibley's army entered the camp, she convinced Chaska <v Host 1>to give himself up. <v General John Pope Actor>It is my purpose to utterly exterminate the Sioux. <v General John Pope Actor>They are to be treated as maniacs or wild beasts and by no means
<v General John Pope Actor>as people. John Pope. <v Host 1>Union General John Pope had just been humiliated at the second Battle <v Host 1>of Bull Run. His new assignment was to put down the Dakota Rebellion. <v Host 1>Sibley had promised the Dakota he would only punish those who killed settlers. <v Host 1>Pope had other ideas. <v Adrian Ebell Actor>Under the veil of darkness, the soldiers surrounded the Indian camp, closed in <v Adrian Ebell Actor>upon it and took all the men prisoners, brought them in and shut <v Adrian Ebell Actor>them up under guard. <v Adrian Ebell Actor>Chains were then forged upon their ankles. <v Adrian Ebell Actor>Side by side, the right foot of one was fastened to the left of another. <v Adrian Ebell Actor>Adrian Ebell. <v Host 1>Henry Sibley set up a military court to try the Dakota in France Wilabat's store. <v Host 1>Although he was still unsure of his authority. <v Host 1>Believing they would be treated as prisoners of war, the Dakota were proud to say <v Host 1>they had fought in battles, but that was all that was necessary
<v Host 1>to prove their guilt. At one point, the prisoners were tried at a rate <v Host 1>of 1 every 10 minutes. <v Host 1>The press criticized the commission as moving too slow. <v Host 1>392 Dakota men were tried, and 303 <v Host 1>were condemned to die. <v Host 1>In a column nearly three miles long 1700 mostly old men, <v Host 1>women and children were marched to Fort Snelling, guarded by three companies <v Host 1>as soldiers. They were attacked by hostile crowds as they passed <v Host 1>through the town of Henderson. <v Samuel J. Brown Actor>I saw an enraged white woman rush up to one of the wagons and snatch a nursing Indian <v Samuel J. Brown Actor>baby from its mother's breast and dash it violently upon the ground. <v Samuel J. Brown Actor>The soldiers restored the papoose to its mother, limp and almost dead. <v Samuel J. Brown Actor>He died a few hours after. <v Samuel J. Brown Actor>The body was quietly laid away in the crook of a tree. <v Samuel J. Brown Actor>I witnessed the ceremony, which was perhaps the last of its kind within
<v Samuel J. Brown Actor>the limits of Minnesota. <v Samuel J. Brown Actor>Samuel J. Brown. <v Host 2>The Dakota were secured in a dark log prison in Mankato, a <v Host 2>place they called Camp Lincoln. <v Host 2>The president would be the one to sign the execution order. <v Host 2>Abraham Lincoln asked if someone else could take this burden from him, but he was told he <v Host 2>was the only one who could do it. <v Host 2>The whites in Minnesota demanded that all should hang. <v Host 1>With the death toll reaching over 500 whites. <v Host 1>The President was under tremendous pressure to approve the executions. <v Host 1>Lincoln was reluctant. He assigned two clerks with the task of reviewing <v Host 1>the trials of the 303 condemned Dakotah. <v Host 1>At first, Lincoln asked for them to list those guilty of molesting women, <v Host 1>but when they found only two. <v Host 1>Lincoln had them look again, this time for those who killed civilians. <v Host 1>The number rose to 38. <v Carol Chomsky>When he reported to the Senate, he said he wanted to act
<v Carol Chomsky>not with so much clemency as to encourage another outbreak, but not with so <v Carol Chomsky>much harshness as to be considered cruel. <v Carol Chomsky>And so he compromised. <v Carol Chomsky>And- and in doing that, he was reaching, I think, a political <v Carol Chomsky>decision about what he could do under the circumstances. <v Host 1>By Christmas Day 1862, the ringing of hammers had stopped. <v Host 1>The gallows stood ready. <v Host 1>The people of Mankato, Minnesota, attended services and gathered in their homes <v Host 1>to celebrate Christmas. <v Host 1>The execution would be the next day. <v Host 2>A crowd of 3,000, had gathered to see how the Dakotas would meet their death. <v Host 2>The gallows was built so that all would hang at one time together. <v Eli Taylor>When they were walking up the steps there to the gallows, <v Eli Taylor>One Indian was walking up [talking Native language] He's walking up, they say,
<v Eli Taylor>'What's he saying? What's he saying?' Nobody told <v Eli Taylor>these people what he was saying. What he was saying was there <v Eli Taylor>a bunch of us here that we never did nothing wrong. <v Eli Taylor>We never touch no, but here you are hanging us. <v Eli Taylor>But our Creator can see this. <v Eli Taylor>You're going to answer to this in the future. <v Host 2>The 38 climbed the gallows and began to sing. <v Host 2>They sang their death song and called out their names saying, 'I am here, <v Host 2>I am here.' The drum was sounded three times and the rope <v Host 2>was cut. [crowd cheering and shouting] [music]
<v Speaker>The <v Speaker>38 were cut down, some still holding each other's hands. <v Speaker>They were buried under a willow on a sandbar. <v Speaker>That evening, physicians from as far as Chicago dug up the bodies <v Speaker>for medical use. <v Speaker>Among the executed was Chaska, the man who protected Sara Wakefield. <v Speaker>His captors assured Mrs. Wakefield he was home by mistake. <v Host 2>For the Mdewankanton Dakotah people, this place is where the world <v Host 2>began. Here at Mni Sota, where two great rivers joined <v Host 2>together. Here in ?Unci Maka? <v Host 2>Mother Earth gave birth to our ancestral grandmother and grandfather. <v Host 2>The land is Wakan, sacred.
<v Host 2>For the Dakota, this was Eden. <v Host 2>Here is where the whites built their Fort Snelling. <v Host 2>Here is where they imprisoned Dakota people. <v Tiwakan (Sacred Light, Gabriel Renville) Actor>[Speaking Native language]. <v Host 1>In
<v Host 1>early April 1863, the steamer Favorite passed the city <v Host 1>of St. Paul without stopping. <v Host 1>On board were the Dakota prisoners from Mankato on their way to prison at Camp <v Host 1>McClellan in Davenport, Iowa. <v Wambdi Tanka (Big Eagle) Actor>[Speaking Native language]. <v Speaker>The Davenport and the Northern were also loaded with human cargo. <v Speaker>The prisoners from Fort Snelling boarded at the levee. <v Speaker>The citizens of St. Paul gave them a sendoff with rocks and bottles. <v John P. Williamson Actor>Dear father, they expect to put us all on the same boat.
<v John P. Williamson Actor>If they do, I think it will be nearly as bad as the middle passage for the slaves. <v John P. Williamson Actor>But then folks say they are only Indians. <v John P. Williamson Actor>In the manifest of freight taken down by the Northerner. <v John P. Williamson Actor>They published 30 horses, 540 Indians. <v John P. Williamson Actor>John P. Williamson. <v Host 2>The Dakota people were taken to a new reservation called Crow Creek on the <v Host 2>Missouri River. It was a barren place. <v Host 2>Nothing would grow. There was very little rain. <v Host 2>And what water was there was salty, unfit to drink. <v Wicahpewastewin (Good Star Woman) Actor>[Speaking Native language]
<v Host 1>In the spring of 1863, Brigadier General Henry Sibley began a punitive expedition <v Host 1>against hostile Indians into Dakota territory. <v Host 1>From the South. General Alfred Sully brought units from Nebraska and Iowa. <v Host 1>The two forces to meet in a pincer movement to crush the Dakota between them. <v Host 1>Things didn't go exactly as planned. <v Host 1>The Dakota melted away before the oncoming armies with their <v Host 1>mule trains and heavy wagons. <v Host 1>There was little fighting to be found. <v Host 2>At a place on the Dakota Prairie called Whitestone Hill, the long knives <v Host 2>of Alfred Sully came upon the camp of a large Ihankthunwan <v Host 2>hunting oarty. If there were any Easterm Dakota in the camp, there were <v Host 2>very few. <v Samuel J. Brown Actor>I hope you will not believe all that is said of Sally's successful expedition against the <v Samuel J. Brown Actor>Sioux. I don't think he ought to brag of it at all. <v Samuel J. Brown Actor>He pitched into their camp and just slaughtered them. <v Samuel J. Brown Actor>It was a perfect massacre, and the worse of it, they had no hostile
<v Samuel J. Brown Actor>intention, whatever. <v Samuel J. Brown Actor>Samuel J. Brown. <v Speaker>In Washington, Congress declared the Dakota had violated the treaties <v Speaker>and therefore had no claims to any lands in Minnesota. <v Speaker>The treaty payments were canceled and used to aid white victims of the conflict. <v Speaker>In Minnesota, the state issued a notice for an increase in the bounty on Indian scalps. <v Speaker>It was dangerous for a Dakota to stay in Minnesota. <v Speaker>Even Other Day who rescued many whites, had to carry walking papers to keep <v Speaker>from being shot. <v Speaker>For almost a year, Thaoyate Duta looked for allies on the plains. <v Speaker>He had been to Fort Gary on the Red River to ask the British for help, <v Speaker>asking that they honor the alliance their people had made against the Americans in <v Speaker>the War of 1812. <v Speaker>When hope was exhausted, Thaoyate Duta returned to his homeland. <v Speaker>He decided that to everything there was an ending, so he had given
<v Speaker>his medicine bundles for his son to carry. <v Speaker>And together they traveled south. <v Host 1>From his cornfield near Hutchinson, Minnesota, farmer Nathan Lampson shot <v Host 1>at two Indians as they were picking raspberries. <v Host 1>One was hit and mortally wounded. <v Host 1>When Thaoyate Duta stood still, Wowinape put new <v Host 1>moccasins on his feet for the journey to the place of his ancestors <v Host 1>and left his father's body. <v Host 1>For his services, Nathan Lampson would receive a $75 bounty from the state <v Host 1>of Minnesota. He received five hundred dollars more when it was learned <v Host 1>the Indian was Little Crow. <v Host 1>The scalp and remains of Thaoyate Duta were put on public display <v Host 1>by the state. He was finally laid to rest in 1971. <v Host 2>Taking refuge in Canada, Chief Shakopee and Medicine Bottle <v Host 2>were drugged and spirited across the border to wating American troops.
<v Host 2>Imprisoned at Fort Snelling, they were denied legal counsel, tried <v Host 2>and hung on November 11th, 1865. <v Host 1>The Dakota people were divided and dispersed across the plains from the Missouri River <v Host 1>to the Rocky Mountains. Others made the journey into what is now Canada. <v Host 1>Refugees streaming into places like Fort Gary and the Middle settlement on the <v Host 1>Red River. When hunger became too great, most submitted to <v Host 1>reservation life. <v Host 2>Today, Dakota communities range from Montana to Winnipeg, Nebraska <v Host 2>and the Dakotas and even Minnesota. <v Host 2>Elders tell of the return to the Minnesota River Valley, of hiding <v Host 2>in ditches, of singing hymns to keep farmers from shooting in their tents. <v Host 2>The forced acculturation practiced in Minnesota was official government policy <v Host 2>by the turn of the century. <v Host 2>Government boarding schools and reservation life did much to change the Dakota.
<v Host 2>But we are still here and our culture is still alive. <v Host 1>The Dakota conflict was the opening chapter in a 30 year <v Host 1>struggle for the plains that continued with the Little Big Horn and <v Host 1>ended at Wounded Knee. <v Host 1>It was the clash of two great cultures who had first found <v Host 1>common ground, but then divided in fear, hatred <v Host 1>and misunderstanding. [jingling of shells] <v Host 2>The Dakota in their prayers may talk to Yay or Yassan. <v Host 2>We pray for all our relatives, for all living things. <v Host 2>The elders say we must live our lives and make our choices for the next <v Host 2>7 generations that the children might live. <v Host 2>So let our young men, our women and our children be made glad <v Host 2>and may peace subsist between us, so long as the sun, the moon,
<v Host 2>the earth and the water shall endure. <v Speaker>[singing and music]
The Dakota Conflict
Producing Organization
KTCA-TV (Television station : Saint Paul, Minn.)
Twin Cities Public Television
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Program Description
"In August of 1862, while the eyes of most Americans were focused on the Civil War, a fierce battle broke out between Minnesota's white European settlers and its native people -- an incident formerly known as the Sioux Uprising. By the end of the year, hundreds of settlers and native Dakota were dead, thousands of Dakota were imprisoned and exiled, and 38 were hung in a mass public execution the day after Christmas. "The story of this violent chapter of Minnesota history, and its causes and aftermath, is told with brutal honesty and with unusual sensitivity to voices previously unheard in this documentary, THE DAKOTA CONFLICT. 'The Dakota Conflict witnessed the clash of two great cultures, who at first found common ground, but then divided in fear, hatred, and misunderstanding,' says producer Kristian Berg, who sought and received the active participation of Dakota advisers from the inception of the project and throughout nine months of researching, writing and production. "Co-narrated by Garrison Keillor and Floyd Red Crow Westerman, an Eastern Dakota who played the role of 'Ten Bears' in the movie Dances With Wolves, the documentary takes pains to explore the attitudes and points of view of both white settlers and the Dakota people. Through diaries, old photographs, sketchbooks, newspaper archives, trial transcripts and oral histories related from one generation to the next, there unfolds a story of greed, betrayal, lies and vengeance -- along with courage, struggle, faith, and dignity."--1993 Peabody Awards entry form. This program features interviews with Jack Weatherford, Gary Clayton Anderson, Dr. Barbara Feezor Stewart, Eli Taylor, and Carol Chomsky.
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Producing Organization: KTCA-TV (Television station : Saint Paul, Minn.)
Producing Organization: Twin Cities Public Television
AAPB Contributor Holdings
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-344071c88db (Filename)
Format: U-matic
Duration: 0:56:39
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Chicago: “The Dakota Conflict,” 1993-01-27, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 28, 2022,
MLA: “The Dakota Conflict.” 1993-01-27. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 28, 2022. <>.
APA: The Dakota Conflict. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from