They sacrificed so we can have what we have today

Ms. Geshick talks about a family member's experience in the aftermath of the U.S.-Dakota War and what it feels like to visit the site of the hanging in Mankato.

Audio Chapters

DL: Can you tell us anything about the aftermath of the war and the scattering of the Dakota people?

SG: On December 26, 1862 is when the 38 were hung in Mankato. And President Lincoln pardoned all but 38 of them, and most of them were sent to Davenport, Iowa, like my Grandfather William. He served four years in Davenport, and then they shipped him up the river to Crow Creek in 1866. And then he left there, after, I’m assuming a year, and made his way to Flandreau, South Dakota. From there I track him to present-day Bloomington, Minnesota. And then he came back to Lower Sioux. Caŋ ŝa yapi - the BIA name is Lower Sioux now. And then he passed away- I don’t remember the exact year.

DL: Have you ever been to Mankato and the execution site?

SG: Yes.

DL: Any thoughts about that place?

SG: The first time I found out where the actual site was when I went there, it was emotional. But when you think of our warriors that were hung there and the sacrifice that they made for me and all my people, it makes it a little bit easier to know that they sacrificed so we can have what we have today. But I do, in my daily prayers, humbly ask for guidance from all my relatives, my ancestors. And when I do go there, you can almost put yourself back in time and wonder what they were they actually thinking. And they were brave to go, walk up there, knowing that they were facing death. But at the same time, I’m sure that they forgave, and were happy to know that they were going to meet their Creator. A lot of people are afraid of death, but when you can make peace before you go, it makes it much easier. And I’m sure they knew that they’d be seeing their relatives that went before them.

Oral History- Interview | Narrator Sandee Geshick Interviewer Deborah Locke made at the Minnesota History Center, St. Paul, MN | Friday, June 10, 2011

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. They sacrificed so we can have what we have today September 18, 2019. http://www.usdakotawar.org/node/1039

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