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Vogel: Dakota, settlers differed on views toward land, treaties

August 24, 2012
By Fritz Busch - Staff Writer (fbusch@nujournal.com) , The Journal

NEW ULM - A Hamline University law professor said the ways the Dakota view their relationship with their homeland so much differently than Euro-Americans was among the reasons the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 took place.

Speaking at Turner Hall, Howard J. Vogel said that although the Dakota moved about at times for hunting purposes, they are very deeply connected to their homeland.

"The land is their relative. What was important was their relationship to the land. The Dakota language has 16 verbs describing home but no words for selling land or to describe some of the other parts of treaties that included some very shady deals," Vogel said.

He described the Dakota and Euro-Americans as two very different kinds of people.

"Dakota chiefs reluctantly made pacts with 'the devil' by signing treaties, giving up their land after they were coerced by Euro-Americans," Vogel said.

Part Dakota author John LaBatte of New Ulm asked Vogel what treaties he considered to still be in effect.

Fact Box

Schedule of Events

FRIDAY, AUGUST 24

Leavenworth Rescue Tour 8:30-11:30 a.m. Tours start at the BCHS. Tickets are required, $15 from the BCHS. Bus loads at 8:15am.

Symposium - 9 a.m.-3 p.m., providing a broad, academic perspective on various aspects of the U.S.-Dakota War. Dr. Mary Lethert Wingerd-"North Country: The Making of Minnesota", Dr. Elden Lawrence-"The Peace Seekers", Dr. Zabelle Stodola- "Mary Schwandt and Maggie Brass (Snana): A Minnesota Pocahontas Story?, Walt Bachman-"Differing Portrayals of the Dakota War Over Time: Political Correctness in 1900 and 2012" & Dr. Julie Humann Anderson-"Reconciling Memory: Landscapes, Commemorations and Enduring Conflicts of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862".

All at Turner Halle FREE ADMISSION.

Milford Historical Area Tour 1-3 p.m., Tours start at the BCHS. Tickets are required, $15 from the BCHS. Bus loads at 12:45 p.m.

Downtown Battlefield Walking Tour 1-2 p.m. Tours begin every 15 minutes between 1-2 p.m. Tours are 1 hour long. $3 per person. Purchase at BCHS.

The Wanda Gag House 1-4 p.m. Exhibit featuring 10 scenes of the U.S.-Dakota War on canvas from a Panorama attributed to Anton Gag, Alexander Schwendinger, and Chris Heller. 226 N. Washington Street

"Dogs In the Hot Moon & Behind the Barricades" Play 2-4 pm New Ulm DAC Auditorium. Tickets available at the door.

Milford Monument Dedication 4-5 pm. Sponsored by the Junior Pioneers. 5.5 miles West of New Ulm on Hwy 29. FREE ADMISSION.

BCHS "Never Shall I Forget" Exhibit Open House 5-8 pm. Brown County Historical Society FREE ADMISSION

"Dogs In the Hot Moon & Behind the Barricades" Play 7-9 pm New Ulm DAC Auditorium. Tickets available at the door.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 25

Leavenworth Rescue Tour 8-11 a.m. Tours start at the BCHS. Tickets are required, $15 from the BCHS. Bus loads at 7:45 a.m.

Hanska Historical Area Tour 10-1 pm Tours start at the BCHS. Tickets are required, $15 from the BCHS. Bus loads at 9:45.

Mail Delivery from Ft. Ridgely by Steve Palmer- 10 am - BCHS

BCHS Postage Cancellation 10 am-2pm, BCHS. Envelopes, postcards for purchase.

BCHS Author Book Signing-10-2 pm, Curtis Dahlin, Corinne Marz, Don H. Tolzmann, John Christgau, Gary Wiltscheck, Jack Koblas, Mark Diedrich, Mary Boheman, John LaBatte, Jeff Fischer. BCHS

Milford Historical Area Tour 11:30-1:30, Tours start at the BCHS. Tickets are required, $15 from the BCHS. Bus loads at 11:15 a.m.

Katie Gropper Walking Tour 1-2 pm. Tours begin every 15 minutes between 1-2. Tours are 1 hour long. $3 per person. BCHS This is the same tour as the Downtown Battlefield Tour, however geared more towards children.

The Wanda Gag House 1-4 p.m. Exhibit featuring 10 scenes of the U.S.-Dakota War on canvas from a Panorama attributed to Anton Gag, Alexander Schwendinger, and Chris Heller. 226 N. Washington Street

Flandrau's Charge Marker Dedication 2-2:30 pm. Location: 300 South German Street

Defender's Monument Dedication 5:30-6 pm. State & Center Street.

Jr. Pioneers 150th Commemoration Banquet 6 pm. Sponsored by the Junior Pioneers. Turner Hall. TICKETS REQUIRED.

"Law doesn't solve everything, maybe we can ease some of these issues by talking about them," Vogel said. "Even if it doesn't settle any of the cultural problems we face."

LaBatte said the Sisseton-Wahpeton Tribes v. U.S. of 1905 lawsuit caused treaties to re-audited as far back as 1805. He said the U.S. government made annuity payments to some tribal members following the lawsuit, as recently as 1970.

Morton filmmaker/director Sheldon Wolfchild said the third part of his documentary "Star Dreamers" will explain how the Dakota consider the place where the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers meet as the center of their universe.

Wolfchild showed the first part of his documentary and answered questions Thursday afternoon at Turner Hall. The film will be shown in the Twin Cities in the coming weeks.

Wolfchild said there is also interest for his production as far away as France. He said a Paris museum he has toured includes Dakota furs traded to French fur traders hundreds of years ago.

"They're interested in seeing and showing my documentaries," Wolfchild added.

He began researching the Dakota history in Minnesota by interviewing tribal elders 15 years ago in preparation for what he plans to be a three-part documentary.

The film mixes oral and written history with Dakota beliefs to portray history in a way history books Wolfchild grew up reading did not.

"It's not your fault that you don't understand our spirituality, but we respect the Creator and his nation including the petroglyphs at Dayton's Bluff (in St. Paul)," Wolfchild said.

Pam Halvorson of Morton, the Lower Sioux Tribal Heritage Preservation Officer, said the Dakota built as many burial mounds near lakes and rivers as Minnesota has lakes and considers them sacred (cemetery) sites.

"Some sacred sites are here in New Ulm," Halvorson added. "The Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) has noted them in their archives but nobody other than the Dakota really recognize them."

Vogel said he finds new research topics every time he meets Wolfchild.

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at fbusch@nujournal.com

 
 

 

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