Post by liverpoolannie on Aug 19, 2008 22:31:30 GMT -5
I was watching the History Detectives the other night and they had a piece on a commemorative spoon showing an etching on the spoon of the hangings in Mankato .... that story was hard to listen to !!
In Mankato, at ten o'clock on December 26, thirty-eight (one person was reprieved between the date of Lincoln's order and the execution) prisoners wearing white muslin coverings and singing Dakota death songs were led to gallows in a circular scaffold and took the places assigned to them on the platform. Ropes were placed around each of the thirty-eight necks. At the signal of three drumbeats, a single blow from an ax cut the rope that held the platform and the prisoners (except for one whose rope had broke, and who consequently had to be restrung) fell to their deaths. A loud cheer went up from the thousands of spectators gathered to witness the event. The bodies were buried in a mass grave on the edge of town. Soon area doctors, including one named Mayo, arrived to collect cadavers for their medical research.
Post by liverpoolannie on Aug 19, 2008 22:35:24 GMT -5
On August 5, 1851, Santee Sioux chief Little Crow signed a treaty with the federal government, ceding nearly all his people's territory in Minnesota. Though not happy with the agreement, he abided by it for many years. But in 1862, goaded by militants in his tribal council and angered at the delay in some federal payments to the Sioux, he launched a war against white settlements, which resulted in the pillaging of many farms and the deaths of more than a thousand whites. The uprising was quickly put down, and Little Crow fled to Canada with some of his followers. But he soon returned to Minnesota, and he was killed by a settler in 1863 while foraging for food in a forest outside of St. Paul.
150-year-old letters give voice to Dakota prisoners
by Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio January 19, 2011
Clifford Canku teaches Dakota language at North Dakota State University in Fargo. He has spent the past 10 years, working with other Dakota elders, translating 50 letters written by Dakota prisoners of war in the 1860s. (MPR Photo/Dan Gunderson)
Fargo, N.D. — For nearly 150 years, the voices of Dakota men imprisoned after the Dakota Conflict of 1862 went unheard.
But the details of their imprisonment are starting to emerge, in letters written by those prisoners after six weeks of fighting along the Minnesota River Valley that left hundreds of Indians, settlers and soldiers dead.
In a tiny office at North Dakota State University in Fargo, Clifford Canku has spent 10 years poring over the faint handwriting with a magnifying glass.
"One letter would take about a week," said Canku, a Dakota elder who teaches Dakota language at North Dakota State. Canku is one of three lead translators on the project, which has unearthed never-before revealed details of a turbulent episode in Minnesota history.
Some of the letter writers talk about the war; others describe prison life.
"We're very cold, and they took the stove away from us," one prisoner wrote. "It's way below zero and we're freezing. A lot of people have died."
The letters add important first-person perspective to a troubling time in history, said professor Bruce Maylath, one of Canku's colleagues in the NDSU English Department. They plan to publish 50 of the letters.
"There's a lot to be bothered by," Maylath said. "This has been a one-sided story to this point. And for the first time this tells the other side -- directly from the Dakota side. And it tells it in the language they were most comfortable in."
The written Dakota language was created by a Presbyterian missionary, Stephen Riggs. When the prisoners wrote to him, he would share the letters with families. The letters, along with other documents, were stored in a box at the Minnesota Historical Society for decades.
Hundreds of Dakota men were imprisoned after the war. Some 300 were sentenced to death. President Abraham Lincoln commuted the death sentence of 265 men, who were then sent to the prison at Fort McClellan in Davenport, Iowa.
Maylath said the letters indicate prisoners were under great pressure to convert to Christianity. Interestingly, while missionaries were trying to save their souls, the Dakota understood being "saved" to mean they would not be hanged. Maylath said the letter writers asked about young men who disappeared from prison.
"There's speculation in the letters about perhaps the young men disappeared because they refused to convert to Christianity," he said. "We do know those young men were never seen again."
Descendants of the letter writers are alive today. Some of the translators recognized names while reading the letters for the first time at the Minnesota Historical Society.
"One of them would turn to me with a letter and say, 'Flag this one. It's by my great-great-grandfather.'" Maylath said. "And to have the voices of the ancestors right there, visible in their own handwriting, that was the most moving thing to me."
The letters reflect the Dakota prisoners' concern after Lincoln was assassinated. The men feared they might be killed now that the man who saved them was dead.
Canku said some letters are painful to read. He said the prisoners' letters tell how at night, guards would rape the Dakota women who worked at the prison camp, cleaning and cooking.
"When they [guards] came after the women at night, they didn't have any recourse but to sing and let them know, and pray," Canku said, "to let the women know 'we're leaving you in the presence of God. Because if we were able to help we would have stopped what's going on. But we can't.'
"When we read these letters to common everyday people, especially the women cry and go through a tremendous amount of anguish, because they have their own stories about what happened to their relatives back then," Canku said. "A lot of them were killed. Women were raped."
Canku said the content of some letters is likely to be controversial. Some letters are likely to upset Dakota people, since they identify Dakota men who collaborated with the U.S. Army. Their descendants don't want that information publicized, he said.
The letters also raise uncomfortable questions for historians.
"What happened? Did they have concentration camps in Minnesota? Even today, people don't believe that," Canku said. "People died. They were in prison. They experienced genocide. And when you talk about these things you are going to get opposition saying, no, these things didn't happen. But they did happen."
For Canku, the project is about truth telling. He said it's time for these long silent voices to be heard.
"I think it's spiritually inspired by our ancestors," he said. "It's time to do this and give the information out. I feel a tremendous responsibility to carry this through."
The 50 letters translated so far were chosen because they represent a cross-section of the 150 letters in the collection.
The letters will be published early next year in book form with the original Dakota language, the literal translation, and the contemporary English explanation.
A letter written in Dakota on June 12, 1864, from prisoner-of-war Anpetuwaste (Good Day) at the Fort McClellan prison camp near Davenport, Iowa, to Tamakoce (His Country, aka The Rev. Stephen R. Riggs) in St. Paul. Among other things, the letter describes the sadness that Anpetuwaste feels at having recently lost his son, who died while also being held at the prison camp. (Image courtesy Bruce Maylath)
Artist W. H. Childs' portrayal of the public execution of 38 Dakota Indians at Mankato in 1862. They were found guilty for their actions during the Dakota Conflict. (Library of Congress)
thanks for adding this names list. I am a little confused with regard of a few names of this list. I was reading the names Chaska, Rda-In-Yan-Ka and Washechoon in other sources. Presumably there are various spellings of the names.
Chaska may be number 8 in your list and Rda-In-Yan-Ka may be number 30, but I am not sure.
your Washechoon is most likely No. 1 Wasicu (the real prononciation comes close to Washechoon ), your Rda-In-Yan-Ka is most likely No. 30. Hdainyanka (Rattling Running) - (in German the Rda/Hda would be a "Rachenlaut" --> ch im Rachen / BTW this is Dakota, in Lakota it would be Rla/Hla), Chaska is maybe 36. Caskaita (i'm not sure about that). The meaning of Chaska is "First Born Son", if I recall it correct.
By the way: Governor Ramsey of Minnesota wanted to hang 303 Sioux. Lincoln commuted the death sentences of 264 prisoners and allowed the execution of 39 men only. Of course every executed person is one too much. It was war! And this would be changed later as we can see in the Ghost Dance/Wounded Knee Trials in 1891.
thanks for your help and information. With regard to Chaska I found names as follow : " We-Chank-Wash-ta-don-pee " and " Wakinyatawa Chaska " ( His Thunder )
The hanging of Chaska was an evil intrigue of Minnesota`s officials. Even Reverend Riggs was in this case ( for me ) a liar.
Chaska's name was on the presidential pardon list. He had been hanged "by mistake" in place of Chaskadon. There was not a "mistake" . Reverend Riggs and the clergy and soldiers who gathered the prisoners together the morning of the execution knew them all well after their imprisonment of many months, and they especially knew Chaska.
Chaska was executed on purpose, in retaliation for the testimony by Mrs. Sarah Wakefield and in reaction to rumors that she and Chaska were lovers. Before her testimony, Riggs had earlier pressured Mrs.Wakefield to testify that she had been raped during her captivity, but she would not lie.
Please see the Links for additional Information with regard to Chaska :
unfortunately there were very many misspellings about right names with regard of Native Americans.
I was reading, among the originally 303 men, condemned to death, there were two or three Washeshoons. The Wachechoon, who was hanged was later discovered to have been a sixteen year old white boy who had been brought up among the Dakotas.