I still remember some of them

Mr. Taylor talks about his experiences and what he learned growing up.

Audio Chapters

DL: All right. Which relative had the most influence on you? MT: My grandmother. DL: Tell me about your grandmother. What was her name again? MT: Her name was Julia Pro Taylor. DL: Grandma Julia Taylor. Tell me about her. Why was she so influential? MT: I stayed with her a lot and she tried to teach me language. A lot of the things I remember when I was really small we rode to the, they call it the Lone Tree Corner out here. It was a bus stop. We rode the bus to Sioux Falls and they gave me a big apple. I remember how huge that apple looked. She did that, she did things. She tried to teach me the language and customs and things like that. Even though she told my dad not to raise us in that way. You’ve heard that story before where the elders thought we’d be better off in a white world not knowing the Indian ways, the native ways. DL: But she made an exception for you. MT: Yes she did, she tried to teach me the language and stuff like that. DL: Did she teach you anything about medicine, about the plants? MT: In a way she did. She had all of us kids go… That’s a funny story because there’s a road out here that’s three miles this way and it goes a mile this way and then it comes back another three miles. We used to take a wagon and she described these plants and showed us what they looked like. We’d go out and gather those plants for her and she used that medicine in a lot of different ways mainly on herself mostly. DL: Would you be able to gather the same plants today? MT: Some of them. I still remember some of them. DL: That’s useful. MT: I was working for the National Park Service and one of the teachers from the school; he was a summer time employee there at the Rangers at the National Monument. He did a program. They don’t have it there anymore but he identified all the plants and I helped him do that. I learned a lot just from… It refreshed my memory. I remembered from being a kid what these plants were used for and I helped him. He identified all those plants over there at the monument.

DL: Did your family celebrate the holidays? MT: Yes they did. I think most of the families in this area were basically Christian and they celebrated the Christian holidays. Dakota values and their ways were kind of lost to that time. I went to Vietnam and spent three years in the Service and when I came home I got a job at the monument as a Park Ranger. They have an extensive library over there, or did have anyway. As I worked there I started to learn and that’s when I found out about 1862. I found it in a book. These things weren’t taught to us as we grew up. We learned mostly the European ways, Caucasian ways. We didn’t learn the native ways the Dakota part of it. They spoke a language that was older than the language you hear today. It was more complicated and more distinct. It was long descriptions of each word. It was a different, really different language. Now days you have a lot of slang that enters into it and you hear that. These younger kids are growing up with that slang. Actually, my dad didn’t want us speaking the language and we didn’t use it in school or anything.

 
DL:
The next question is: Who taught you most about being Dakota?  Did you answer that?  Maybe your grandma?
 
 
MT:
I think my grandmother was a big influence on that but like I said she didn’t
want us raised as Native Americans so we grew up in this town it was the same
thing.  A lot of those people you
interviewed yesterday were Christians when they came here.  Our family was the same way.  We were Christians and that changed the whole
outlook on their lives.  Like my
grandfather was an Episcopal minister. 
That changed the whole outlook on our lives.  Dakota values and their ways were kind of
lost to that time.  I went to Viet Nam and
spent three years in the Service and when I came home I got a job at the
monument as a Park Ranger.  They have an extensive
library over there, or did have anyway. 
As I worked there I started to learn and that’s when I found out about
1862.  I found it in a book.  These things weren’t taught to us as we grew
up.  We learned mostly the European ways,
Caucasian ways.  We didn’t learn the
native ways the Dakota part of it.  I did
learn a lot of it from the National Park Service when I worked there.
 
 
DL:
And a little from your grandma.
 
 
MT:
And my grandmother, yes.
 
 
DL:
Do you remember any of the language today?
 
 
MT: A little bit.  They spoke a language that
was older than the language you hear today. 
It was more complicated and more distinct.  It was long descriptions of each word.  It was a different, really different
language.  Now days you have a lot of
slang that enters into it and you hear that. 
These younger kids are growing up with that slang.  Actually, my dad didn’t want us speaking the
language and we didn’t use it in school or anything.  To speak a language fluently you have to work
with it every day.  You have to use it
every day.  Around here they didn’t do
that.  Like I say they were Christian,
they didn’t want to use their language so they didn’t.  But the younger generation grew up using the
slang words and things.  You here it all
the time.  You here bits and pieces of
the language spoken.  If somebody asks me
if I can speak the language, I say I know enough to get along good in a bar.
[Laughter]  I think you’re familiar with
that.  I think it’s that way with all
nations, it’s the same way.  They have that
street language I think they call it. 
You’ve heard it; I know you have. [Laughter]
 

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. I still remember some of them May 20, 2019. http://www.usdakotawar.org/node/2204

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