They used to call me a refugee all the time

Mr. Pashe talks about learning Dakota history and the after-effects of the U.S.-Dakota War on his family.

Audio Chapters

DL: Did you ever hear of the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War during your growing up years?

DP: Actually, I learned that later in life. During my high school years I learned a little bit about my Dakota people, only because when I was in high school the other Native kids, like in Manitoba, they were Sauteaux people and they used to call me a refugee all the time, and I used to wonder what they meant. And so I started doing a little bit of research, asking my dad and grandfathers, and they told me why we were from in and around the Minnesota area and we moved over here because of that uprising. But my grandfather also said that because we had ties with the Queen Mother, she allowed us to stay here; to come to Canada as long as you had something to tell you that your people were involved in the War of 1812, where our people helped the British Government against the U.S.

DL: Did the war have a direct impact on you and your family?

DP: Yes it did, because it was my forefathers that were chased out of Minneapolis and into Canada. And I got an interesting story to go with that: My name, Pashe, was supposed to be a longer name than that. It was supposed to be Pasheeahpawnaushee. It was a long name. And that long name was actually-I remember the story about two Native people that put a man in a corral and stuffed grass in his mouth. Well, that was our great grandfather, Pazoiyopa, that did that. And then Pazoiyopa and Inkpaduta, they call him, he was another guy that lived in Sioux Valley and the U.S. government had always been after him to capture him and bring him back. I don’t know what the story really is, but in my storybooks with my auntie, she says it was an Indian Agent that started the whole war in Minneapolis. That Indian Agent was supposed to give out all this money and cattle and farming implements and everything that was supposed to be for the Dakota Indians, farming, and he didn’t do that. Instead he gave all that stuff to his friends and family, and so the Sioux were starving. And they went to the Indian Agent and said, give us something, we need food. And the Indian Agent said: No, you’re dogs, so you go out there and you eat grass.

DL: That was Myrick.

DP: Andrew Myrick, okay. And he was the storekeeper? Okay, yeah. I just saw a film of that not too long ago with, oh, what’s his name- he was narrating it. The Gambler was narrating it. So Andrew Merrick was the one that they killed and stuffed grass in his mouth and everything.

DL: And you’re saying it was one of your family members who did the grass-stuffing.

DP: Yes, it was my great grandfather.

DL: And what was his name, again?

DP: Pazioiyopa. When they came into Canada the U.S. government couldn’t pass the border to get at him, so when he died the U.S. government came during the night and paid one of our family members here, to show them where his grave was, Pazoiyopa, and then they went over there and they dug his grave out in the middle of the night. My grandmother, my aunties told me of that story.

DL: What did they do with him?

DP: And they took him back to a museum in New York and he was on display for many years, and then all of a sudden- I’m just in the process of getting his bones repatriated back to Canada, back to our reserve. We believe that the Nation’s hoop is broken; one of the links is broken, and he’s the link. If we could ever find that link and put it back together, maybe our community might come back together some day and be harmoniously living together, eh?

DL: You have a very direct tie to that period. What was his fate, then? If he did this, it seems to me he would have been a very clear enemy of the U.S. government and Cavalry.

DP: Yes.

DL: Were they aggressively trying to find him, but he ran to Canada?

DP: Yeah, he ran to Canada and then he’d go back and sneak in and have a fight with Custer and all of them over there, and then come back over here. But he died, I don’t know exactly the date; I’m still researching a lot of that. And when he died he was dug up by the U.S. government and taken back to the U.S.

DL: You mentioned another name, Inkpaduta. Now, who’s Inkpaduta, again?

DP: He’s one of the other two men that were tied to that tying of that man and putting grass in his mouth.

Oral History- Interview | Narrator David Pashe Interviewer Deborah Locke in Dakota Tipi First Nation Manitoba, Canada | Thursday, January 19, 2012

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. They used to call me a refugee all the time November 24, 2017. http://www.usdakotawar.org/node/1488

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