Collateral Damage

Mr. LaBelle reflects on Henry Sibley and Alexander Ramsey, two government officials involved in the U.S.-Dakota War.

Audio Chapters

DL: What do you think of Henry Sibley?

EL: I think Henry Sibley was the most greedy person in the
world. He was out for himself. He was a land hungry person who wanted to
exploit the Indian people in order to gain riches for himself along with
Alexander Ramsey. The money that they
stole ended up in banks out east.
Thousands and thousands of dollars they had in bank accounts. On the salary that they made, it couldn’t be
possible on that salary [to have so much money]. Where did that money come from? It had to come from the Indians, the graft
that went on back then. That’s coming
out in a documentary by Sheldon Wolfchild.
He’s making a documentary now. It
will be finished in August. That’s
something that should be viewed by everyone involved in this. And there’s a lot of truth in it. Also, Henry
Sibley fathered a child with a Dakota woman long before he married a white
woman. The Dakota woman hung herself when she discovered this.

DL: What are your thoughts about Alexander Ramsey?

The same thing. He was a land hungry
grafter. He knew what was going on. He knew what was going to happen. He was no dummy. He knew that signing the treaty in 1851 to
gain land, all the southern half of Minnesota was ceded to the federal government
except for the strip of land along the Minnesota River, the Lower Sioux and
Upper Sioux Reservations. He knew that
was going to happen. Whether or not he
knew there was going to be this massacre, he might have known it but he might
not have. To him it was probably collateral
damage. Along with Afghanistan when they
bombed whatever, they called it collateral damage. Yes, I think they were not very honest people

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. Collateral Damage May 26, 2019.

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