I Have Been Told

A column by Anne M. Dunn

Thirty-Eight Plus Two

Governor Alexander Ramsey had declared on September 9, 1862, “The Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the state (Minnesota).”

He also placed a bounty on Dakota scalps that reached $200.

On December 26, 1862, 38 Dakota men were hanged in Mankato, Minnesota, in the largest mass execution in US history, on orders of President Abraham Lincoln, sometimes remembered as the Great Emancipator. Their crime: killing 490 white settlers, including women and children in the Santee Sioux conflict the previous August.

Prior to the conflict, tension between the Dakota and the influx of settlers had been mounting for years before the Civil War, which further strained the US resources, disrupting food and supplies promised to the Dakota in a series of broken treaties. One local trader, Andrew Myrick said, “If they are hungry, let them eat grass.”

The Dakota leader Little Crow then led his enraged and starving, tribe in a series of attacks on frontier settlements. In six weeks the US-Dakota War was over.The content you are trying to access is only available to members. Sorry.

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