Even in my family there were differences.

Mr. Ross talks about his family's experience in the U.S.-Dakota War.

Things to think about: 

There were widely varied experiences and differences in opinion at the time of the U.S.-Dakota War. Think about how your family today is, or might be, effected by warfare.

Audio Chapters

DR: Dakota history, I remember my grandparents and older people that I can just picture, I can’t put names to them anymore, when they’d gather they’d talk of things leading up to where they were like Inkpaduta...who actually were the ones that killed the people up at Acton. Decisions that different people made in reaction to that, those were all stories among the old men of my family. One side of my family for the most part was a warrior side. They would meet the challenges. The other side was actually peaceful at that time, trying to find a peaceful resolution. So even in my family there were differences. The warrior side, they spoke of many things about who caused what and what caused things and why they decided to go to war in the first place. The way I heard it was from my grandfather speaking. I wasn’t part of the conversation. I was fortunate enough to be able to sit and listen. That was it. Through all the deliberations they had leading up to going up to battle, they weighed many things. In the end they decided the end result was going to be the same. So they decided to fight. On the other side, the ones that decided to try to find peaceful means were hoping for something better but the result was the same. We’re in the situation we’re in now because of what happened in history. The decisions of the peaceful versus the unfriendly had no impact on the result.

DL: Camp Release?

DR: That’s an interesting place. Mazasa- and you probably know this, was Mazomani’s brother. Mazasa [Red Iron] wanted to find a peaceful solution to what was happening to prevent something bad from happening. He disagreed with the battles. Of course the warriors were going that way. He was a significant person. The warriors decided not to challenge him but turned the captives over. The captives were probably more of a security blanket than anything else. ‘How do we extricate ourselves from this battle without getting killed completely? Well, we’ll take some hostages and do what we can.’ Mazasa wanted to hopefully make things better. However it came to be, Mazasa was able to take the captives and keep them relatively safe until someone came to get them. [That created] a big contrast in what he had hoped and what occurred to him- the result was the same. Whether it would have been better if he would have taken his warriors and joined the battle -- it’s hard to say but the end result was the same. He wanted something peaceful to come out of it. Some of the trials started there. Some of his own people were tried. That ended in Mankato or Fort McClellan. So it’s a place that should be remembered for what it is – a man seeking a peaceful resolution to a battle he didn’t want to fight.

Oral History- Interview | Narrator Dallas Ross Interviewer Deborah Locke made at Granite Falls, Upper Sioux Community, MN | Sunday, May 1, 2011

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. Even in my family there were differences. May 21, 2019. http://www.usdakotawar.org/node/1098

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