Dakota (Oceti Šakowiŋ)

The term “Sioux” has its origins in the the neighboring language of the Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) people and was a mispronunciation by European immigrants. Various interpretations explain that it may refer to "people of the river that snakes," or may be derived from a phrase that means "those that speak another language."  Today, many people reject the term as being negative, while others, especially tribal governments, use it self-referentially and embrace it officially.

Historically, there were seven major divisions — "council fires" — of the Dakota, each with a distinct but similar culture. Mdewakaŋtoŋwaŋ, The Spirit Lake People (Mdewakanton); Waĥpekute, The Shooters Among the Leaves People (Wahpekute); Waĥpetoŋwaŋ, The People Dwelling Among the Leaves  (Wahpeton); and Sisitoŋwaŋ, People of the Fish Village(s) (Sisseton), are referred to as the Santee or Eastern Dakota.  Ihaŋktoŋwaŋ, Dwellers at the End (Yankton); and Ihaŋktoŋwaŋna, Little Dwellers at the End (Yanktonai), are referred to as the Western Dakota or often as the Nakota; and the Ti´toŋwaŋ, Dwellers on the Plains (Teton) are called Lakota. The historic alliance of these divisions has been known variously over time as the Sioux, the Great Sioux Nation, or Oceti Ŝakowiŋ, the Seven Council Fires. Today Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota tribal governments and communities are located in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, and Montana in the United States, and Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan in Canada.

From Oceti Šakowiŋ: The Seven Council Fires. MNHS Collections.

Stories

Title
The main goal was to rob us of our spirit
Barbara Anderson | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Aftermath of 1862, Fort Snelling, Resilience
Keywords: Fort Snelling, Humor
How can you feel good about yourself when you’re restricted?
Barbara Anderson | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: Identity
Keywords: Effects of Discrimination, Racism, Shame, Endurance
I want to be that person that changes.
Barbara Anderson | Oral History
Theme: Culture and Values
Topics: Dakota Culture and Values, Dakota Life Today
Keywords: Spiritual Leaders, How to Treat People
Chief Red Iron
Barbara Anderson | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Family in 1862, Factions
Keywords: Red Iron (Ma-za-sa), Lac qui Parle, Chief
They wanted to make sure that the Indians behaved
Barbara Anderson | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Dakota and Settler Relationships, Reservations, Boarding Schools
Keywords: Reservations, Boarding School, Drinking
I want to be an example of what they had to endure.
Barbara Anderson | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up, Boarding Schools, Relatives
Keywords: Consequences, Perceptions, Relatives
The more history that’s shared about what happened, the better
Barbara Anderson | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Ways of Commemorating, Education
Keywords: History, Savage
They tried to keep me in school.
Judith Anywaush | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up, Education, Poverty, Dakota Language
Keywords: Education, Poverty, Projects, Language, School
“If you just give me a hand up, I know that I can make it.”
Judith Anywaush | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Aftermath of 1862, Fort Snelling, Family in 1862, Crow Creek, Punitive Expeditions, Abraham Lincoln, Mankato Hangings
Keywords: Fort Snelling, Expendable, Wechankpeotowe (Many Stars Woman), Crow Creek, Soup, Bishop Whipple, Steamboat, Military, Soldiers, Survival
Do those people really know that they can stay there; they don’t have to come back.
Judith Anywaush | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: Dakota Life Today, Jobs, Inter-Tribal Relationships, Repatriation
Keywords: Jobs, Enrollment, Repatriation
Why don't you guys just forget about it
Judith Anywaush | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Ways of Commemorating, Commemorative March
Keywords: Discrimination, Police, Fort Snelling, March
We Dakotas for some reason, were always drawn back to where we were born and raised; we’re drawn back.
Dean Blue | Oral History
Theme: Connection to Land
Topics: Dakota Land
Keywords: Home
All they could see was Indians fighting whites, and yet at the same time, they didn’t know why
Dean Blue | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Perspectives on 1862, New Ulm
Keywords: Accuracy, New Ulm
The more they let them in, the more they wanted.
Dean Blue | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Treaties, Dakota Land, Repatriation, Minnesota River Valley
Keywords: Homeland, Japan, Germany, Iran
We made a pact, and you’re not paying it.
Dean Blue | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Treaties, Dakota Land
Keywords: Treaties, Annuity, Acton, Starvation, Land
We never got one red cent from the state or the U.S. Government to start the casinos
Dean Blue | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: Dakota Life Today, Casinos, U.S. Government
Keywords: Casino, Subsidies
I wish I had a list of all the things that the Dakota initiated
Dean Blue | Oral History
Theme: Cultural Contributions to U.S.
Topics: Dakota Culture and Values
Keywords: Medicine
It’s written by white folks. None if it is ever written by Dakota.
Dean Blue | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Ways of Commemorating, Perspectives on 1862, Camp Release, Wood Lake
Keywords: Accuracy, Camp Release, Wood Lake
I didn’t really care to even be seen there.
Dean Blue | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Fort Snelling
Keywords: Fort Snelling
It happened in this country, too, but you never hear that, never
Dean Blue | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Genocide
Keywords: Greed, Lying
We lost every acre, and we weren’t even involved in the war.
Dean Blue | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Aftermath of 1862, Abraham Lincoln, Punitive Expeditions
Keywords: Bounty, Scalping, Upper Sioux
“If you want to speak to me, speak to me in my language, or your language.”
Dean Blue | Oral History
Theme: Education
Topics: Growing Up, Dakota Language, Dakota in White Systems, School Subjects, Military, Travel
Keywords: English Language, Dakota Language
I think we've outgrown those structures of colonial dominance over Native American people.
Dr. Clifford Canku | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Fort Ridgely, Fort Snelling, Reconciliation, Education for Understanding
Keywords: Fort Ridgely, Concessions, Reconciliation, Colonization, Education
Our roots are still very much deeply embedded in our Dakota way of life.
Dr. Clifford Canku | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: Dakota Life Today, Lower Sioux Agency, Spirituality, Dakota Identity, Dakota Culture and Values
Keywords: Spirituality, Identity, Roots, Anglo
We just accept – with open heart, open mind, open spirit.
Dr. Clifford Canku | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Birch Coulee, Little People
Keywords: Little People, Birch Coulee
Biggest thing that happened to us was the Second World War.
Dr. Clifford Canku | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up, Military
Keywords: Military, WWII
The way I look at it, is that this country is still ours, spiritually, because it is God-given.
Dr. Clifford Canku | Oral History
Theme: Connection to Land
Topics: Dakota Land, Spirits, Creation
Keywords: Land, Spirits, Ghosts, Camp Coldwater, Homeland, Relatives
That Fort is a sham. It's a Fort whose history is shameful.
Dr. Clifford Canku | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Fort Snelling, Spirits
Keywords: Fort Snelling, Spirits, Relatives
I would compare it to what's happening to the United States
Dr. Clifford Canku | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: Perspectives on 1862, U.S. Government
Keywords: Afghanistan, Iraq
At the root of everything, factionalism was created when immigrants came to our way of living
Dr. Clifford Canku | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: U.S. Government, Factions, Immigration, Dakota Land
Keywords: Indian Removal Act, Factionalism, Treaties, Policies, Reservations, Immigration, Settlers, Encroachment
I would wish for the best of both worlds for our young people
Dr. Clifford Canku | Oral History
Theme: Hopes for the Future
Topics: Dakota Identity, Youth
Keywords: Skills, Youth
When you go to war, some people disappear
Dr. Clifford Canku | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Aftermath of 1862, Oral History, Family in 1862, Fort Snelling, Dakota Exile/Diaspora, Dakota Social Structure
Keywords: Injustice, Wakute (Wacouta), Canku, Diaspora, Lake Traverse, Orphans, Relatives, Montana, Canada, Fort Totten, Roles, Warriors, Fugitive
Women within the Dakota society were very highly organized and they were very strong.
Dr. Clifford Canku | Oral History
Theme: Culture and Values
Topics: Dakota Culture and Values, Dakota Social Structure
Keywords: Warrior, Spiritual Leader, Women
Hopefully it would not happen to other people.
Dr. Clifford Canku | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Perspectives on 1862, Spirituality, Mankato Hangings
Keywords: Men, Superman, Mankato, Hangings
America will never be great unless it does justice to the first Americans on this continent.
Dr. Clifford Canku | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Treaties, U.S. Government
Keywords: Treaties, Justice, Property, United Nations
It was used against us; the generosity was used against us
Michael Childs | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Treaties, Dakota Land
Keywords: Treaties, Generosity
They’re just constantly told “you’re worthless.”
Michael Childs | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: Dakota Life Today, Activism, American Indian Movement, Racism
Keywords: AIM, Opression
Some people understood it was a humanitarian gesture, and others felt that we were betraying the tribe
Michael Childs | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Family in 1862, Factions
Keywords: John Other Day (Anpetu-Tokeka), Humanitarian
He used the United States treatment of the Native Americans as the model
Michael Childs | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Genocide
Keywords: Genocide, Adolph Hitler, Germ Warfare
My mother knew we had to survive in the greater society
Michael Childs | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up, Education, Boarding Schools, Dakota Culture and Values
Keywords: Education, Engineering, Language, Survival, Hunting, Assimilation, Lena Campbell
“Tahicido”
Sandra Geshick | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Family in 1862, Davenport Prison, Aftermath of 1862
Keywords: Davenport Prison, Family
Fortitude
Sandra Geshick | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up, Dakota Culture and Values
Keywords: Men, Women, Fortitude
There’s a lesson to be learned in every tragedy
Sandra Geshick | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Leaders in War, Little Crow, Fortitude
Keywords: Fortitude, Leadership
They sacrificed so we can have what we have today
Sandra Geshick | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Aftermath of 1862, Family in 1862, Mankato Hangings, Davenport Prison, Crow Creek
Keywords: Mankato, Davenport, Crow Creek, Flandreau, Bloomington, Lower Sioux Community, Sacrifice
Resilience
Sandra Geshick | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Survival, Aftermath of 1862, Resilience
Keywords: Survival, Resilience, Protection
Who wouldn’t defend what was theirs?
Sandra Geshick | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Perspectives on 1862, Dakota Culture and Values, Spirituality
Keywords: Untruth, Defending, Prayer
We commemorate them every day.
Pamela Halverson | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Ways of Commemorating, Mankato Hangings, Education for Understanding
Keywords: Honor, History, Education, Commemoration
You can feel the coldness in there
Pamela Halverson | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Lower Sioux Agency, U.S. Government, Spirituality
Keywords: Lower Sioux Community, Annuity
Our people fought terrorism for a long time
Pamela Halverson | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Dakota Land, U.S. Government, Homestead Act
Keywords: Homeland, Medicine, Land Loss
I’d wish to be the people we were
Pamela Halverson | Oral History
Theme: Culture and Values
Topics: Dakota Culture and Values
Keywords: History
Our ancestors fought for survival
Pamela Halverson | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Causes of War, Survival, Perspectives on 1862
Keywords: Survival
Those grandmas, they were real no-nonsense.
Pamela Halverson | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up, Boarding School, Education, Dakota Culture and Values, Discrimination
Keywords: Boarding School, School
Our camp was Kaposia
Pamela Halverson | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Treaties, Reservations, Genocide, U.S. Government
Keywords: Homeland, Reservations, Lower Sioux Community, Dakota and U.S. Gov't
The things that we did have, we appreciated them
Donna Korstad | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up, Play, Holidays
Keywords: Play, Holidays, Money
I wish that I could have a home on the reservation as well as my kids and grandchildren
Donna Korstad | Oral History
Theme: Hopes for the Future
Topics: Reservations
Keywords: Reservations
Take the politics out of it and deal with it from a historical aspect
John LaBatte | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Understanding, Education, Forced Marches, Fort Snelling
Keywords: Education, Genocide, Marches, Anger, Fort Snelling
Some people call it a clash of cultures. I don't, that's too general
John LaBatte | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Dakota and Settler Relationships
Keywords: Fur Traders, Missionaries, Treaties
Do you think they would have stopped to have trials?
John LaBatte | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Aftermath of 1862, Dakota Exile/Diaspora, Mankato Hangings, Abraham Lincoln, Forced Marches
Keywords: Dakota Exile/Diaspora, Mankato, Hangings, Lincoln, March
They're still fighting the Dakota War among themselves
John LaBatte | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Ways of Commemorating
Keywords: Minnesota Historical Society
I believe that Little Crow was a reluctant leader
John LaBatte | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Leaders in War, Little Crow, Gabriel Renville, Aftermath of 1862
Keywords: Little Crow (Thaóyate Dúta), Gabriel Renville
Education needs to tell the truth about what happened
John LaBatte | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Family in 1862
Keywords: LaBatte, Quinn, Hapstina
I see errors in Minnesota Historical Society's signs and books
John LaBatte | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Forced Conversion, Missionaries, Lower Sioux Agency
Keywords: Missionaries, Christianity
That whole process is very complicated
John LaBatte | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Perspectives on 1862, Factions, Missionaries, Christianity, Fur Trade, Dakota and Settler Relationships
Keywords: Myrick, LaBatte, Intermarriage, Kinship, Starvation, Lac qui Parle, Acton, Conversion, Big Eagle (Waŋbdí Tháŋka)
The notion is that if you're Christian you can't be an Indian
John LaBatte | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: Spirituality
Keywords: Christianity
I believe in understanding on both sides
John LaBatte | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Perspectives on 1862, Leaders in War, Mankato Hangings, Oral History, Marches
Keywords: Ramsey, Guilt, Marches, Soldiers
Two of my grandfathers were sentenced to hang at Mankato
John LaBatte | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Family in 1862, Aftermath of 1862
Keywords: Christianity, Davenport Prison, Faribault, Henry Whipple, Mankato
Where did the Dakota Indian get their land?
John LaBatte | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Treaties, Dakota Land, Trade
Keywords: Treaties, Trade, Migration
You know, you get a certain job and it fits like a glove
Walter LaBatte | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: Dakota Life Today, Jobs
Keywords: Jobs
“God was talking to us. God was talking to us.”
Walter LaBatte | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up
Keywords: Spirituality
The war doesn’t sound like it was very well planned out.
Walter LaBatte | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Perspectives on 1862
Keywords: Gabriel Renville, Factionalism
“Makte sni , makte sni, damakota do, damakota do.”
Walter LaBatte | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Family in 1862, Dakota Exile/Diaspora, Camp Release
Keywords: Camp Release, Marches, Treaties, Trials, March
The way it was written, the government never intended to pay us the full amount
Walter LaBatte | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Treaties, U.S. Government
Keywords: Consequences
I can’t understand why they’re mad
Walter LaBatte | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: Dakota and Settler Relationships, Dakota Land
Keywords: Trust, Land Loss, Germans, French, Traders, Attitudes
Everything that God created is a relative of ours
Walter LaBatte | Oral History
Theme: Culture and Values
Topics: Dakota Culture and Values
Keywords: Food, Philosophy
Sometimes getting rid of things doesn’t have the effect that you want
Walter LaBatte | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Fort Snelling
Keywords: Fort Snelling
The depth of the water is 3.8 feet
Dr. Elden Lawrence | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Aftermath of 1862, Mankato Hangings
Keywords: Hangings
Common ground
Dr. Elden Lawrence | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: Inter-cultural Relationships
Keywords: Education, Religion
It would serve as a memorial to the people that were there
Dr. Elden Lawrence | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Aftermath of 1862, Fort Snelling, Mankato Hangings
Keywords: Fort Snelling, Hangings
If I don’t break down some barriers, if I don’t tread some new paths...
Dr. Elden Lawrence | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up, Dakota in White Systems, Education, Spirituality, Military, Dakota Language
Keywords: History, Prejudice, School, Military, Christianity, Ancestors, Language
They got some recompense, I guess
Dr. Elden Lawrence | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Aftermath of 1862
Keywords: Dakota Factions, Lincoln, Hangings, Warrior, Christianity
Family roles were very structured and followed very closely
Dr. Elden Lawrence | Oral History
Theme: Dakota History
Topics: Dakota Social Structure
Keywords: History, Roles
The ideal American doesn’t really exist; he’s a myth
Dr. Elden Lawrence | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: U.S. Government, Assimilation, Dawes Act, American Indian Policy
Keywords: Dakota and U.S. Gov't, Assimilation, Dawes Act, American Indian Policy
“You guys can’t be in here; I own all the air in here”
Dr. Elden Lawrence | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Dakota Land, Treaties, Immigration, U.S. Government
Keywords: Land, Settlers, Treaties, Encroachment, Dakota and U.S. Gov't
“I’ll die with you. Because I’m not a coward.”
Dr. Elden Lawrence | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Causes of War, Little Crow
Keywords: Little Crow (Thaóyate Dúta)
Who you are is something nobody can take away from you
Dr. Elden Lawrence | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: Dakota Life Today, Dakota Identity
Keywords: Warrior, Military, Honor
Lorenzo Lawrence (Towanetaton)
Dr. Elden Lawrence | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Family in 1862, Lorenzo Lawrence (Towanetaton)
Keywords: Dakota Spirituality, Christianity, Military, Warrior
You don’t give up.
Dr. Elden Lawrence | Oral History
Theme: Education
Topics: Education
Keywords: School
Two ways of life were clashing
Dr. Elden Lawrence | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Causes of War, Factions
Keywords: Dakota Factions, Warrior, Christianity
Milford Monument
Dr. Elden Lawrence | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Ways of Commemorating
Keywords: Milford
"We’re going to drive you all the way to the Rocky Mountains"
Dr. Elden Lawrence | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Treaties, Dakota Social Structure, U.S. Government, Dakota Land
Keywords: Treaties, Dakota and U.S. Gov't, Land
The only holiday we really celebrated was Christmas
Ruby Minkel | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up
Keywords: Holidays
It’s hard to explain the feeling
Ruby Minkel | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: Dakota Life Today, Spirituality
Keywords: Spirituality
In order to go forward, we had to go back to our old ways
Raymond Owen | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: Spirituality, Dakota Life Today, Inter-Tribal Relationships
Keywords: Bureau of Indian Affairs, BIA, Ojibwe (Anishinaabe, Chippewa), Christianity
They had a bent sense of purpose
Raymond Owen | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Fort Snelling, Ways of Commemorating, Genocide
Keywords: Fort Snelling
Even today, you live in the United States of Dakota
Raymond Owen | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Dakota Land, Treaties
Keywords: Treaties, Pike Treaty
We just didn’t like it there
Joan Pendleton | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Education, Boarding Schools, Jobs
Keywords: Flandreau, Boarding School, School
They would never talk in front of us kids in our Dakota language
Joan Pendleton | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up, Language, Spirituality
Keywords: Hoop Dance, Christianity, Dakota Language, School
I would never treat someone like that, no matter what nationality they were
Joan Pendleton | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Perspectives on 1862
Keywords: Forgiveness
Unity
Joan Pendleton | Oral History
Theme: Hopes for the Future
Topics: Dakota Hopes for the Future
Keywords: Unity, Time
A place where a spirit used to be but the spirit is gone
Dallas Ross | Oral History
Theme: Connection to Land
Topics: Dakota Land
Keywords: Camp Coldwater
They are looking there and they don’t really truly understand what happened.
Dallas Ross | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Mankato, Mankato Hangings
Keywords: Land, Mankato
“We did this in a manner that was good. Why is this happening to us?"
Dallas Ross | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Treaties, Spirituality, Fort Snelling
Keywords: Fort Snelling, Savage
Even in my family there were differences.
Dallas Ross | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Family in 1862, Factions, Camp Release
Keywords: Dakota Factions, Red Iron (Ma-za-sa)
You can’t be around old Dakotas without learning about the spirituality of things.
Dallas Ross | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up, Dakota Culture and Values, Spirituality, Storytelling, Christianity
Keywords: Culture, Values, Storytelling, Dakota Spirituality, Christianity
The gate opened just to show the people that the land was still there.
Dallas Ross | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Aftermath of 1862, Fort Snelling
Keywords: Fort Snelling, Spirituality
Akicita
Dallas Ross | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Wood Lake, Dakota Social Structure
Keywords: Wood Lake, Warrior, Akicita
Unless you have something better to offer, then you cannot judge people
Dallas Ross | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Fort Snelling
Keywords: Desecration
A lifetime of learning for a minute of understanding.
Dallas Ross | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Fort Ridgely, Spirituality
Keywords: Spirit
Dakota is a way of life, a manner in which you walk through this world
Dallas Ross | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: Dakota Life Today, Dakota Identity
Keywords: Identity
It’s probably one of the saddest places in this local area.
Dallas Ross | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Birch Coulee
Keywords: Spirits
They don’t see colors in people; they just see people in people
Dallas Ross | Oral History
Theme: Education
Topics: Dakota in White Systems, Education, Racism
Keywords: Discrimination, School
When you go there you feel all of the things that have happened there
Carrie Schommer | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Fort Snelling
Keywords: Fort Snelling, Commemoration
What I knew was the truth
Carrie Schommer | Oral History
Theme: Education
Topics: Oral History
Keywords: Dakota in White Systems
What they taught there had nothing to do with our tribes
Carrie Schommer | Oral History
Theme: Education
Topics: Boarding Schools
Keywords: Boarding School, Flandreau
Mazamani (Iron Walker)
Carrie Schommer | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Family in 1862, Marches
Keywords: Fort Ridgely, Fort Snelling, Tiospaye
I can still picture that area where my two aunties were dropped off at the road
Carrie Schommer | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up, Identity, Racism
Keywords: Storytelling
There were about five of us that started school in Granite Falls with not a word of English
Carrie Schommer | Oral History
Theme: Education
Topics: Dakota in White Systems
Keywords: Kindergarten, School
We’re no different. It’s just that we probably had to suffer a whole lot more.
LaVonne Swenson | Oral History
Theme: Education
Topics: Education for Understanding
Keywords: Suffer, Education
That’s how they would hide.
LaVonne Swenson | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Family in 1862, Aftermath of 1862
Keywords: Bounty
That was their last song
LaVonne Swenson | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Aftermath of 1862, Mankato Hangings
Keywords: Mankato, Hangings
They’ve held onto their traditions
LaVonne Swenson | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: Dakota Life Today, Dakota Culture and Values
Keywords: Canada
They were punished for speaking it and they didn’t want us to be punished.
LaVonne Swenson | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Dakota Language
Keywords:
I think the biggest contribution was our lifestyle
LaVonne Swenson | Oral History
Theme: Cultural Contributions to U.S.
Topics: Dakota Culture and Values
Keywords: Food, Lifestyle
You get a sense of belonging to that part of history and surviving
LaVonne Swenson | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Birch Coulee
Keywords: Birch Coulee
50,000 Indian children never came home
LaVonne Swenson | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: Boarding School, Reparations, Healing
Keywords: Canada, Boarding School
We always talk about our teacher and memories of the school and the games we played.
LaVonne Swenson | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up, Education, Dakota in White Systems
Keywords: School
Some of the mixed blood people had to look out for themselves
Jerry Weldy | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Family in 1862, Fort Ridgely, Factions
Keywords: Fort Ridgely
Joseph and his family had close connections with the Indian community
Jerry Weldy | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Family in 1862, Dakota and Settler Relationships
Keywords: Treaty
“Let them eat grass.”
Byron White | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Perspectives on 1862, U.S. Government
Keywords: Dakota and U.S. Gov't
The lessons that they told almost made you ashamed to be Indian
Byron White | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up, Dakota in White Systems, Education
Keywords: School, Savage, History
Humanity sometimes is cruel.
Byron White | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Fort Snelling
Keywords: Fort Snelling
Who said once, “Treaties are made to be broken.” Well, I guess they were right
Byron White | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Treaties
Keywords: Treaties
They all stuck together no matter what.
Byron White | Oral History
Theme: Culture and Values
Topics: Dakota Culture and Values, Growing Up
Keywords: Helping Others
In ten years I had the director position and I’ve been here since
Deborah White | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: Dakota Life Today, Dakota and Settler Relationships
Keywords: Gaming Commission
They used to have love, honor and respect for each other.
Lillian Wilson | Oral History
Theme: Hopes for the Future
Topics: Dakota Culture and Values
Keywords:
I don’t think it was hard; it was kind of like an adventure.
Lillian Wilson | Oral History
Theme: Education
Topics: Boarding Schools, Dakota Culture and Values, Assimilation
Keywords:
The United States is suffering because they made so many mistakes
Lillian Wilson | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: U.S. Government
Keywords:
It was like two different worlds, going to school, then coming back and being with all our little friends.
Lillian Wilson | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up, Education, Dakota in White Systems, Ceremonies, Spirits
Keywords: School
They wanted to come home
Lillian Wilson | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Ways of Commemorating, Commemorative March, Spirituality
Keywords: Birch Coulee
There were so many Dakotas killed, unrecorded.
Albert Taylor | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Perspectives on 1862, Genocide, History
Keywords: Lincoln, Germ Warfare
That's how much damage they did to me.
Albert Taylor | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Current Events, Dakota in White Systems, Growing Up Dakota, Boarding School
Keywords: Boarding School
It’s a beautiful song that they were singing
Albert Taylor | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Mankato, Perspectives on War
Keywords: Mankato Hanging
You gotta gargle and then you gotta drink that to clean
Albert Taylor | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up Dakota, Boarding Schools, Language
Keywords: Boarding School, Language
We’re just fighting for survival in Canada
Bruce Braden Pashe | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Aftermath of War, Dakota Hopes for the Future
Keywords: Dakota Exile/Diaspora
A good relationship with both peoples
Carol Merrick | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: Dakota Life Today, Inter-cultural Relationships
Keywords: Honors, Work
He was born on the way into Canada
Carol Merrick | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Aftermath of War
Keywords: Dakota Exile/Diaspora
I would wish that we could all live together in a good way
Carol Merrick | Oral History
Theme: Hopes for the Future
Topics: Dakota Hopes for the Future
Keywords: Family
Isan tanka
Clayton Maxwell Smoke | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Aftermath of War, Dakota Exile/Diaspora, Punitive Expeditions
Keywords: Exile, Diaspora, Punitive Expeditions
"You’re supposed to be helping us- not them"
David Pashe | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Perspectives on War, Causes of War, Inter-cultural Relationships
Keywords: Farming, Indian Agent, Assimilation
I hadn't realized I was an Indian
David Pashe | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up, Family, Dakota History, Dakota Language and Culture, Spirituality, Christianity
Keywords: Family, History, Spirituality, Christianity
They used to call me a refugee all the time
David Pashe | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Aftermath of War, Dakota History, Dakota Exile/Diaspora, Family in War, Repatriation
Keywords: Exile, Diaspora, Inkpaduta, Andrew Myrick, Repatriation
“Elsie’s one of these people you meet once and you never forget.”
Elsie Noel | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: Jobs
Keywords: Jobs
We had signs on every door that said "Speak English"
Elsie Noel | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up, Family, Boarding School, Dakota Culture and Values
Keywords: School, Mounties, Language, Medicine
The chief sent all the young ladies up to Canada
James Assiniboine | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Aftermath of War, Family in War, Dakota Exile/Diaspora
Keywords: Family, Dakota Exile/Diaspora
There was something more to it
Leslie Smoke | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up, Boarding School, Dakota Culture and Values
Keywords: School, Culture, Work
Why not get along together with your neighbor?
Leslie Smoke | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Ways of Commemorating, Divisions, Anger, Inter-cultural Relationships
Keywords: Divisions, Anger
Sacrifice
Leslie Smoke | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: Spirituality, Christianity, Dakota Culture and Values
Keywords: Christianity
Trying to hide from the Americans
Marina James | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Family in War, Aftermath of War, Dakota Exile/Diaspora
Keywords: Family, Exile, Diaspora
We learned how to skate and slide down the hill
Marina James | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up, Family, Work
Keywords: Work, Medicine
You feel right at home, just like you’ve known them for years
Marina James | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: Dakota Life Today, Homeland
Keywords: Home, Diaspora
She knew all the different roots
Marina James | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Family, Dakota Culture and Values
Keywords: Spirituality, Medicine
People have to know it or else we forget
Melvin Longclaws | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Perspectives on War, Shared History, Manifest Destiny
Keywords: Land, U.S. Government, Genocide, Germ Warfare
It’s their story and sooner or later, we’re going to be included
Melvin Longclaws | Oral History
Theme: Hopes for the Future
Topics: Dakota Hopes for the Future, Dakota Contributions to North America
Keywords: U.S Government, Commemoration
Identity
Randolph Pashe | Oral History
Theme: Hopes for the Future
Topics: Dakota Hopes for the Future
Keywords: Identity
It's for the people
Trudy Pashe | Oral History
Theme: Dakota History
Topics: Dakota Identity, History
Keywords: History, Understanding, Healing
Pazoiyopa
Trudy Pashe | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Family in War, Ways of Commemorating
Keywords: Family, Pazoiyopa (Runs Against Something When Crawling)
I hope it happens in my children's lifetime
Trudy Pashe | Oral History
Theme: Hopes for the Future
Topics: Dakota Hopes for the Future
Keywords: Peace, Family
Are we doing the right thing?
Melvin Littlecrow | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Perspectives on 1862, Family in 1862, Little Crow
Keywords: Family, Little Crow
No, not in school, we weren’t taught history or culture.
Melvin Littlecrow | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up Dakota
Keywords: Oral History, Education
There was not any marking to show where this was
Beverly Wakeman | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Mankato Hangings
Keywords: Mankato, Commemoration
One time I asked him why he didn’t teach us to speak the language.
Beverly Wakeman | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up Dakota
Keywords: Dakota Language, WWII, Christianity
They made a falsehood out of the whole thing
Myron Taylor | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Treaties, U.S. Government
Keywords: Treaties, U.S. Government
I still remember some of them
Myron Taylor | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up Dakota
Keywords: Education, Family, Medicine, Military, Language, Christianity
These people, those people, our relatives, were fighting for the same thing.
Myron Taylor | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Perspectives on 1862, Aftermath of 1862, Family in 1862, Ways of Commemorating
Keywords: Discrimination, Education, School, Land, History, Christianity, Family, Mankato Hanging
Many contributions
Ed LaBelle | Oral History
Theme: Cultural Contributions to U.S.
Topics: Dakota Contributions to North America
Keywords: Medicine, Food, U.S Government
It was the worst thing that could have happened to the Dakotas in Minnesota
Ed LaBelle | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Treaties, U.S. Government
Keywords: Treaties, Alexander Ramsey
They want us to forgive and we do forgive to a certain extent but we don’t forget.
Ed LaBelle | Oral History
Theme: 1862
Topics: Family in 1862, Aftermath of 1862
Keywords: Family, Aftermath
It’s not good to dwell on but still it’s there, it’s there
Ed LaBelle | Oral History
Theme: Life Today
Topics: Dakota Life Today, Dakota Hopes for the Future
Keywords: undefined
Collateral Damage
Ed LaBelle | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Perspectives on 1862, U.S. Government
Keywords: Henry Sibley, Alexander Ramsey
The child believed, "who died?"
Ed LaBelle | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up Dakota, Dakota Culture and Values, Dakota Language, Boarding School, Christianity, Jobs
Keywords: Language, School, Spirituality, Christianity
I found the birch trees and I knew that was home
William Beane | Oral History
Theme: Growing Up
Topics: Growing Up Dakota, Family in 1862, Language, Perspectives on 1862, Ways of Commemorating
Keywords: Family, Language, Commemoration, Traders, Military, Fort Snelling
In the end they got very little money.
William Beane | Oral History
Theme: Shared History
Topics: Treaties
Keywords: Treaties

Viewpoints: All viewpoints expressed on this website are those of the contributors, and are not representative of the Minnesota Historical Society.