| SamoneLenior wrote:|
| PurpleHaze wrote:|
my white 9/10th history teacher told us this
I did like her for that lol
December 26, 1862: thirty-eight Dakota Indians
were hanged in Mankato, Minnesota, in the largest mass execution in US
history–on orders of President Abraham Lincoln. Their crime: killing 490
white settlers, including women and children, in the Santee Sioux
uprising the previous August.
The execution took place on a giant square scaffold in the center of
town, in front of an audience of hundreds of white people. The
thirty-eight Dakota men “wailed and danced atop the gallows,” according
to Robert K. Elder of The New York Times,
“waiting for the trapdoors to drop beneath them.” A witness reported
that, “as the last moment rapidly approached, they each called out their
name and shouted in their native language: ‘I’m here! I’m here!’ ”
Lincoln’s treatment of defeated Indian rebels against the United
States stood in sharp contrast to his treatment of Confederate rebels.
He never ordered the executions of any Confederate officials or generals
after the Civil War, even though they killed more than 400,000 Union
soldiers. The only Confederate executed was the commander of
Andersonville Prison—and for what we would call war crimes, not
Minnesota was a new frontier state in 1862, where white settlers were
pushing out the Dakota Indians—also called the Souix. A series of
broken peace treaties culminated in the failure of the United States
that summer to deliver promised food and supplies to the Indians,
partial payment for their giving up their lands to whites. One local
trader, Andrew Myrick, said of the Indians’ plight, “If they are hungry,
let them eat grass.”
The Dakota leader Little Crow then led his “enraged and starving”
tribe in a series of attacks on frontier settlements. The “US-Dakota
War” didn’t last long: After six weeks, Henry Hastings Sibley, first
governor of Minnesota and a leader of the state militia, captured 2,000
Dakota, and a military court sentenced 303 to death.
Lincoln, however, was “never an Indian hater,” Eric Foner writes in his Pulitzer Prize–winning book The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery.
He did not agree with General John Pope, sent to put down a Sioux
uprising in southern Minnesota, who said “It is my purpose utterly to
exterminate the Sioux if I have the power to do so.” Lincoln “carefully
reviewed the trial records,” Foner reports, and found a lack of evidence
at most of the tribunals. He commuted the sentences of 265 of the
Indians—a politically unpopular move. But, he said, “I could not afford
to hang men for votes.”
The 265 Dakota Indians whose lives Lincoln spared were either fully
pardoned or died in prison. Lincoln and Congress subsequently removed
the Sioux and Winnebago—who had nothing to do with the uprising—from all
of their lands in Minnesota.
Mankato today is a city of 37,000 south of Minneapolis, notable for
its state university campus, which has 15,000 students. In Mankato,
which has heretofore neglected its bloody past, a new historical marker
is being erected at the site of the scaffold, at a place now called
Reconciliation Park. The marker, a fiberglass scroll, displays the names
of the thirty-eight Dakota who were executed.
The Minnesota History Center in St. Paul is currently featuring an exhibit titled “Minnesota Tragedy: The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.”
“You can’t turn your head from what is not pretty in history,” said
Stephen Elliott, who became the director of the Minnesota Historical
Society last May after twenty-eight years at Colonial Williamsburg. He
told the Minneapolis Star Tribune,
“Whatever we do, it’s not going to somehow heal things or settle it.”
The impressive state-of-the-art exhibit includes the views of both white
settlers and Indians, voices from the past as well as the present.
“Visitors are encouraged to make up their own minds about what happened
and why,” the official guide declares. The website and online video are particularly impressive.
The mass execution of the Dakota Indians isn’t the only fact missed in the Lincoln biopic