"You’re supposed to be helping us- not them"

Mr. Pashe discusses what may have caused the U.S.-Dakota War.

Audio Chapters

DL: What’s your opinion of the war? The war of 1862.

DP: In my opinion I feel it shouldn’t have happened. The Dakota people got to be very good farmers. And the same thing happened here in Sioux Valley. In the early days the Native people were said to be good farmers; they helped the local farmers, and so when they were given a chance to grow their own crops and all that, they were successful. They were like the Hutterites of the day back then. They had good crops, so they ended up buying good machinery and good implements of that day. And then the Native farmers helped each other and the white farmers around the reserves found that, hey, these Indian farmers are making good money and they’re getting better than us. So they went to their government and told their government: hey, what are you doing? You’re supposed to be helping us- not them. And so the Indian agent was told not to sell any of the crops that the Native people brought for him to sell. So that’s what happened, and I think that’s what happened in Minnesota too- like a lot of those farmers were all given lots and the reserve was huge and they were all given lots and they were supposed to farm them.

DL: What does that have to do with the war?

DP: Well that’s what I think led up to the war. Like the Indian agent stopped giving all the things to the Native farmer and so they couldn’t sell their crops anymore and then the Native farmer was put out. They had no food and they were starving. When I look back at the pictures from that community before the war happened, a lot of the Native people lived very good, you know, they had nice little buildings, log cabins, and there were horses and you could see the farm implements there. They seemed to be living a good life before the war started. And then when the war happened, the Native people starved and then they started raiding the farmers, and that’s what led to the war.

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. "You’re supposed to be helping us- not them" March 19, 2019. http://www.usdakotawar.org/node/1489

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