Sometimes getting rid of things doesn’t have the effect that you want

Mr. LaBatte talks about Fort Snelling and how it should be viewed today.

Audio Chapters

DL: Can you talk about Fort Snelling?

WL: Oh, I don’t know.

DL: What should be its fate? We’ve heard the Dakota people say it should be burned down. We’ve heard them say it should be left alone as a memorial. We’ve heard veterans say that their connection to it is as a member of the military [and] that it should be left alone. We’ve heard a number of perspectives from Dakota people.

WL: I don’t know if I have an opinion on it. Sometimes getting rid of things doesn’t have the effect that you want. For example, sometimes books may have been written in the 1800’s which were disparaging to Indian people. But to get rid of them shows more about the author than anything. If there’s a racist book out there written in the 1800’s, why would we want to get rid of it when it shows what the attitudes of the people in the 1800’s were. Do you want to hide that? I don’t understand that logic because you can never get rid of anything. So if you get rid of Fort Snelling because it was a symbol of colonialism, then it’s no longer a symbol of colonialism. Colonialism still existed at the time. Gosh if you’re feeling hurt by that, I think maybe you better work on yourself and get some healing. [Laughter]

Oral History- Interview | Narrator Walter LaBatte Interviewer Deborah Locke made in Granite Falls, Upper Sioux Community, MN | Thursday, April 28, 2011

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. Sometimes getting rid of things doesn’t have the effect that you want June 26, 2019. http://www.usdakotawar.org/node/1078

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