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The Dakota

Chapter 3 & Chapter 9 In the Northern Lights Textbook

Geoff Cleveland

on 28 April 2014

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Transcript of The Dakota

6th Grade MN HISTORY
Native American Stereotypes
Quick facts about the DAKOTA
The Dakota have also been called Sioux
No one really knows how the Sioux name came about, but some historians believe that it came from an Ojibwe term meaning "adders" or "snakes"
The Dakota never refer to themselves by this name
"Dakota," their preferred name; means "friend" or "ally" in their language
Until the 1830s, Dakota was a spoken language only; there was no written version.
The DAKOTA in Minnesota
The Woodlands Dakota Culture was found in Northeastern MN and the Central Eastern Part of Minnesota
They moved with the seasons in order to obtain different food sources
The Great Plains Dakota lived in southwestern MN
They became expert horsemen and quickly relied on bison hunting
They ate bison meat, used the hides for tipis and clothing, and made the horns and bones into tools
Other Food Sources include
Deer (a good hunter could kill 60 in one year)
They also ate:
Wild Rice
In the winter, the Dakota lived in tipis
easy to assemble
well designed for cold weather
Floors were often padded with grasses or animal skins
A large flap was used to enter and exit
DAKOTA Education
1. Storytelling
2. Teaching through example
Constant practice and copying adults
Children must be good listeners
Patience and self sacrifice were taught
Independence was taught
Mr Cleveland's Dream: Complaining was not tolerated
However, Dakota parents did not believe in subduing the "spirit" of the child by force
No corporal punishment was used
Lessons learned
Storytellers tales often contained lessons
Listen, as Mr. C tells you a story about generosity
One of the most important Dakota values is generosity.
Being generous in the Dakota society often meant the sharing of food
When a hunter killed an animal, he knew that it would feed more than his immediate family
Dakota custom required families share the meat with anyone who came by their tipi
Dakota elders instructed children to give freely, holding back nothing for themselves
If the food ran out, all would starve together
Sharing and being generous was considered being a good relative
Few things were more important than kinship
By sharing food, the Dakota strengthened their bonds with other members of their extended family and also made kinship ties with neighbors
Another way the Dakota showed generosity was through a custom known as honorship
This was the giving of gifts in someone else's name as a way to show respect
It worked like this: If you wanted to honor someone, you would give a gift to someone else and say it came from the person you wished to honor
This custom strengthened the kinship ties by bringing three people - you, the person you honored, and the person who received the gift - into a closer relationship
For the Dakota, the value is in the act of giving
Dakota elders reminded children that it is better to give and have nothing left, than to appear selfish
They believed that property comes back to those who let it go freely.
Listen as Mr. C tells you another story...this time about respect
Mothers, fathers, children, and other relatives usually lived together in a family tipi
It was crowded inside, and family members were expected to show each other RESPECT
Part of the Dakota's definition of Respect was to speak softly so as to not bother others
hmmmm does Mr. C's class do that?
Children also learned to honor their family members privacy by keeping their eyes lowered at all times.
The Circle of History
The Dakota believed that time and events occur in a circle, and for a reason.
The Dakota view history as a circle, things keep coming back
If you don't heal a wound, it's going to come back again (this might be a few years down the road or twenty years down the road).
Basically...if it is not corrected sooner or later it is going to come back and bite you on the butt!
It is believed that when events keep coming back around, there is a reason for that
You can do something about it, you can change the course of the future without blindly repeating the past!
Let's take the seasons for example
In the springtime, the Dakota men went off to hunt and the women and children went to the sugar camp (annual work of turning sap from the maples into sugar and syrup)
Think about your springtime chores
clean up the yard?
clean the house?
get ready for springtime sports?
Summer was a time of planting, cultivating, and harvesting for the Dakota.
women planted and tended the crops
Men fished and hunted small animals
Think about your summer time activities
Non-stop video games?
Summer job --> Lifeguard?
Mowing the lawn?
No School
Fall / Autumn
Preparing for winter meant hunting animals for food, clothing, and shelter
If the hunters did not kill enough large animals people might starve or freeze during the winter months
Think about what your Fall season looks like
Raking leaves :(
School starts
Generally, the Dakota settled down for the cold season
Men usually rested or went ice fishing.
The women tanned hides, sewed clothing
Children might play on sleds made of bison ribs and skated on moccasins with tree-bark soles
However, winter is a hard season full of dangers!
Deep snow and bitter cold made it difficult to gather firewood
BLIZZARDS blew down tipis
People might die or get severe frostbite!
Winter is also a time for family
So...One more time think about your winter time activities and how you might do them each and every year?
Hot Chocolate
Winter Counts
A Dakota year was considered first snowfall to first snowfall
The Dakota wanted a way to document their oral history so they created something called a "Winter Count"
A keeper of the winter count would gather with the council of elders and decide what event should be put onto the winter count for that year
Winter counts were single pictographs that represented a years event
Winter Counts went in chronological order
Pictographs were depicted on buffalo hide or deer skin
It was important to pick the right event that was easily remembered and properly represented the bands history
As we have learned in previous chapters, there have been many conflicts and tensions rising between the Dakota and the European Americans
But lets take a brief look at some of the possible causes of the U.S. - Dakota War of 1862
1857: A local trader and steals some horses and furs from a nearby Dakota band
In the process, he kills the band's Chief and family
In retaliation, the Dakota band led a raid against local settlers
More than 30 settlers were killed
This is known as the
Spirit Lake Massacre

After the events, the U.S. Government decided to withhold annuities from all Dakota until new Chief Idkpaduta was turned over to authorities
The government later backed down but this incident increased the tension between the Dakota and the European Americans
The Dakota were aware that the United States was fighting the Civil War
More so, they knew that the Union was struggling to win battles and thus had to enlist more men
When more men were shipped out of Minnesota, the Dakota saw this as an opportunity to take back their land
The Dakota also feared that the War would bankrupt the Union, causing the Dakota to lose their annuity payments.
The Government was already late on many annuity payments
Congress decided to pay the Dakota with Paper Money rather than gold coins.
The Dakota knew that paper money could lose its value
PLUS...an annuity payment of $71,000 had been delayed for months!!!
Food distribution problems arose that led to widespread hunger
In addition, the Dakota crop had failed
5,000 Dakota gathered at U.S. Government Field Office that had a supply of food
The Dakota demanded food and when they didn't get it, they broke in and removed stacks of flour
The Government threatened to use Cannons against the Dakota but later backed down and distributed the remaining food to the Dakota band.
The Dakota also demanded of traders that they extend further credit so that the Dakota could buy food
The traders refused because even they were worried that the government annuity payments would not come through; thus leaving the Dakota unable to pay their debts
Turn to a shoulder partner and discuss
When signing treaties, people were motivated by land, money, and lifestyle. What might these have to do with war?
By the early 1860s, The Dakota's traditional homelands were rapidly filling up with farms and towns
Treaties left the Dakota with a narrow strip of land along the Minnesota River
This strip of land is only ten miles wide
Dakota hunting grounds filled with settlers who tried to convince the Dakota to adopt new ways of life
The Dakota were hungry...annuities were late...TENSION WAS RISING!!!
Traditional Dakota & the Farm Dakota
Traditional Dakota wanted to continue their traditional ways
Keep sacred rituals and beliefs
Hunt for food
Practice generosity, kinship, respect
Farm Dakota adopted European American ways of life
Grew crops and raised livestock
Lived in wood or brick houses
Men cut their hair and women pinned their hair up
Wore American-style clothing and converted to Christianity
Traditional Dakota were called "Blanket Indians"
Farm Dakota were called "Cut-Hairs"
Turn to a shoulder partner and discuss:
Can you think of a time when you encountered something unfamiliar and had to choose:
Reject it
adapt to it
or find some sort of compromise

Turn to a shoulder partner and discuss:
What does hairstyle say about an individual or group?
How would you feel if TBMS said boys have to wear their hair 6" below their shoulders and girls have to cut their hair to no longer than 2" from their scalp?
Traders provided goods to the Dakota and expected them to pay their debts when they received their annuities.

The Traders kept written records of every business deal they made. The Dakota did not.
Turn to a shoulder partner and discuss what problems could occur when this happens
Famous Trader Andrew Myrick
When asked about the Dakota being denied in their appeals for food Myrick said "so far as I am concerned, if they are hungry, let them eat grass"
I Can't Handle it!!!The Tension is Rising!!!
Government officials and Missionaries worked to change Dakota Culture
"The Indians wanted to live as they did before...If the Indians had tried to make the whites live like them, the whites would have resisted, and it was the same way with many Indians." -
Traditional Dakota Leader BIG EAGLE
Tensions rose amongst the Dakota themselves
Traditional Dakota were angry because the Government gave extra food, tools, and livestock to the Farm Dakota
Traditional Dakota blamed the Farm Dakota for abandoning their heritage

The U.S. Government had not honored the terms of the treaties
There was suppose to be regular payments of money, food, and supplies made to the Dakota

Annuity payments often arrived later than expected as gold coin was scarce due to the Civil War
When annuities were late, the Dakota turned to traders for food and supplies
In the Summer of 1862, traders shut down the entire credit system.
They refused to extend any more credit, so the Dakota could no longer buy the food and supplies needed
Traders were worried that if the annuity payment never arrived, The Dakota would be unable to pay off their debts
The Dakota could no longer travel the plains hunting for fresh meat
Their poor diet meant many Dakota, especially children were unable to fight off sickness
AUGUST 17, 1862
Four young Dakota men killed five European American Settlers near the town of Action in argument over eggs
The Traditional Dakota needed to decide how to handle the situation and ease the tension between the whites and the Dakota
Turn over (to the U.S. Government) the young Dakota men who killed the five white men
Don't turn in the Dakota men because the government would use the killings as an excuse to punish all of the Dakota
Many traditional Dakota believed that they should attack the settlers now before the settlers could punish the Dakota
They believed the U.S. Military would not fight back because its attention was focused on the Civil War
What happened Next...
AUGUST 18, 1862
The Dakota attacked the U.S. Government Agency South of Minnesota River
First, they struck the Trader's Houses
They killed several traders including Andrew Myrick
He was found with grass stuffed in his mouth
My lame attempt at Myrick with a mouth full of grass
The Dakota then proceeded to ambush a group of soldiers at a ferry crossing at the Minnesota River
The overran small farms and killed over 300 settlers (including women and children)
Settlers fled for their lives
Attacks and fighting continued for many months
St. Paul Daily Union
"There are in St. Paul at the present time, 23 widows, whose husbands were killed by Indians. They have an aggregate of 57 children, mostly small and many of them infants. There are also four children who lost both parents . . . There are so many to be provided for, here and elsewhere, that is it impossible to prevent suffering."
Destruction of War
By the end of September 1862, the U.S. -Dakota War was over
September 23rd: Over 2,000 Dakota surrendered to an army under the command of Colonel Henry Sibley
By the numbers
70 --> U.S. Soldiers killed
100 --> Dakota Soldiers killed
500 --> Settlers killed
20,000 --> Settlers fled for safety
The Dakota men that were taken prisoner were taken to court with no lawyer representation
Judges were a panel of army officers who had just fought in the Dakota War
Many Minnesotans supported the punishment of the Dakota
Many survivors went through the ordeal of watching their friends and families be killed by the Dakota
Faribault Central Republican
"Extermination, swift, sure, and terrible is the only thing that you can give the people of Minnesota satisfaction, or a sense of security."
The military court rushed through dozens of cases each day
In 39 days, 303 Dakota Men were sentenced to death
The convicted men were marched to a new military camp near Mankota, MN.
Under U.S. law, none of those men could be executed, or killed, without the approval of President Abraham Lincoln.
The more Lincoln learned about the situation, the more troubled he felt
Lincoln was presented with information about the terrible conditions on the reservations prior to the war and was asked to show mercy
Lincoln was concerned that the 303 convictions were motivated by revenge. After reviewing the cases, Lincoln came to this conclusion:
Lincoln identified two Dakota whose executions he approved (due to convictions of rape)

However, Lincoln realized that executing just two of the 303 would cause outrage
Thus, Lincoln added any Dakota convicted of killing civilians
Dakota Soldiers who fought in battles against U.S. soldiers were spared
Lincoln distinguished those who participated in massacres from those who fought in battle
On the morning of December 26, 1862; in front of a large crowd in Mankato's public square, 38 of the Dakota selected by Lincoln were hanged.
It is the United States largest mass execution
President Lincoln ordered the rest of the convicted men be moved from Mankato to a military prison camp in Iowa
More than 120 of the nearly 300 Dakota men died as a result of poor conditions
After the war, the U.S. Government believed it was not safe for the Dakota to stay in Minnesota
The Government forced the rest of the Dakota (including those who did not participate in the attacks) to leave their homeland
About 1,700 Dakota women, children, and elders were forced to travel just over 100 miles to an interment camp
The camp was located on the riverbanks below Fort Snelling
The March to the camp was hard and dangerous
Despite being guarded by soldiers, the Dakota were attacked by settlers as they passed through towns
At least one Dakota child was killed on the march and several Dakota were injured
The amount of Dakota marching stretched four miles long
The Conditions at Fort Snelling were difficult
Camp was surrounded by tall wooden walls
Some settlers would attack the camp which would result in the deaths of the imprisoned Dakota
Overall, between 100-200 Dakota died from disease, illness, and attacks during the miserable winter of 1862-1863
By the spring of 1863, all Dakota were to be forced to leave the state
The government sent them to Crow Creek reservation in South Dakota
Crow creek was a desolate place
Food was scarce
The Government sent food but it was never enough and always came late
Hundreds of Dakota died from disease and starvation
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