History and Memory in Minnesota

Courtesy of Eric Jacobson, here’s an article addressing how the people of Minnesota are wrestling with the historical legacy of the U.S.-Dakota War, a topic I’ve mentioned here before.  I find in offers an instructive comparison to the debate over history and memory when it comes to the American Civil War.

12 thoughts on “History and Memory in Minnesota

  1. Bill Newcomer January 30, 2012 / 4:44 pm

    This hits home to me. Back in 1971 after graduating from college, I spent the summer working in the Mankato, MN area. I got to travel around the Minnesota River valley area and distinctly remember the monument in Mankato marking the spot where the hanging occured… I never did get back to that part of Minnesota, but in my mind I can still see some of those beautiful scenic spots along the river. It is hard to imagine that area being cuaght up in the horrors of war, but then we could say the same thing about Gettysburg….

    …and that brings up another CW question…. During the course of the CW, did blue and gray serve together in the West against the restive native populations (Indians)? The concept made for a movie or two, but what were the historical facts of the matter?

    …and then you get into how the CW divided the Indian Nation tribes in what is now Oklahoma….

    • John Foskett January 31, 2012 / 8:06 am

      Hollywood fiction. In addition to the uprising in Minnesota (fueled by the corrupt system in which the tribes were “loaned” goods and food, etc.), there were conflicts in the Colorado Territory which resulted in the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre, the Navajo War in the Southwest, and the Snake War in Oregon, Nevada, northern California and Idaho Territory. These were all fights between the U.S. (often volunteer troops, some regulars) and the various tribes. The South had nothing to do with them (if anything, they would have supported that “distraction”). As we know, the Rebel forces in the trans-Mississippi had a significant Native American component.

      • Will Hickox February 1, 2012 / 3:57 am

        About 15 years ago America’s Civil War magazine did an article about the war in Arizona titled “Yanks and Rebs Fight Side-by-Side” which detailed a skirmish between Confederates and Apaches. The rebels’ Union prisoners were said to have helped repulse the Indian attack.

        • John Foskett February 1, 2012 / 8:43 am

          Interesting. That’s not quite the fiction Hollywood has portrayed, however. As a rule, the CSA was perfectly happy that the USA had to divert energy and forces against the tribes in the territories.

  2. James F. Epperson January 31, 2012 / 5:36 am

    The President of my CWRT (Fred Priebe) has a son that teaches school on one of the Lakota reservations, or in a district that includes a lot of Lakota students;he is also a Lincoln re-enactor. His son invited him out to do his Lincoln spiel, not realizing that the Lakota take on Lincoln is a little different. Folks were polite, and listened, but the whole experience was summed up by the one student who told Fred, “He hanged too many Indians.”

  3. Jefferson Moon January 31, 2012 / 10:09 am

    “He hanged too many Indians.”
    He spared near ten times more then he hung,What other president would have took the time to review all those case,during a war??

    • John Foskett February 1, 2012 / 8:45 am

      Not sure that’s a good answer for the 38 – especially since a few probably weren’t involvedd in the “crimes”.. It was his job to review these cases – he reviewed quite a few cases involving deserters, etc. during the War.

      • Roger E Watson February 1, 2012 / 5:01 pm

        “…especially since a few probably weren’t involvedd in the “crimes”..

        And your evidence for this would be….?

  4. TF Smith January 31, 2012 / 11:31 pm

    Actually, look up “galvanized yankees”…

  5. Jefferson Moon February 2, 2012 / 11:26 am

    I think it’s a great answer..

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