It was the worst thing that could have happened to the Dakotas in Minnesota

Mr. LaBelle talks about treaty history between the Dakota and U.S. government; specifically the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux which occurred in 1851 at St. Peter, Minnesota.

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DL: What do you think about the treaties?

EL: I think the treaty was a farce. Why they had to give up all this land. It was something they couldn’t
comprehend. The Indian had no
comprehension of buying land. {You}
couldn’t own land. This land was put
here for all of us. You can’t say you’re
going to put a fence around it. This is
mine, this is yours, no, we didn’t believe that. That’s not our culture. You think you own your land, quit paying your
taxes and see how long you own that land. [Laughter] It was a farce. They tried to tell these Indians that they
would be better off not living on this land because we need this. This was the story that Alexander Ramsey and and
that whole crew gave to the Indians and said you’re going to be better
off. Why could we be better off? {You} put us on this little strip of
land. There were over 3,000 Indians put
on that land and they were starving to death.
No, it didn’t work. It was the
worst thing that could have happened to the Dakotas in Minnesota. The way they did it was not good.

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. It was the worst thing that could have happened to the Dakotas in Minnesota July 20, 2019. http://www.usdakotawar.org/node/2201

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