Tearing down, removing ‘history’
To the editor:
In regard to the to the article by Randy Krzmarzick in the Nov. 4-5, 2023, New Ulm Journal, I feel a rebuttal is needed. I attended the event.
My earliest ancestor a French-Canadian, came to this area of Minnesota 200 years ago as an aide to the fur trade. As was the custom of the day he married into the Dakota tribe he worked most closely with. He died in 1856, His family, especially two sons and a daughter were very involved in the events of area. His son and family lived in the area near present day Morton on the north side of the river. On the morning of the 1862 Outbreak the oldest son ensured his family was safe and rode as fast as he could to Little Rock Creek to warn others to go to a place of safety.
Curt Dahlin is probably the best researcher of events of the Dakota War. In fact one of his latest books contains over 930 references. Some of the sources were and are members of the Dakota Nation. Curt is a balanced writer. Mr. Kryzmarzick was not at the event he writes about. He picks up his information from a condensed newspaper account by a Journal writer who did attend.
Dahlin’s talk lasted about 45 minutes covering much more than the article stated. Krzmarzick states “good history is understanding that and growing our view instead of shrinking it.” Yet we see statues being torn down, and art depicting local history removed from the Capitol and hidden from view. We have seen the museum at Fort Ridgely emptied and closed and the Harkin Store is no longer open to the public. State and Federally funded land has been given back to the Dakota along with cemeteries and burial sites of Dakota war victims that the State no longer wants to care for. Place names have been changed and Fort
Snelling is now called a concentration camp to invoke memories of the Holocaust. Is this political? Native Americans are given free admission to Fort Snelling. Why is free entry based on a person’s race? There is now talk of removing all markers about the Dakota War erected by the Minnesota Valley Historical Society. This is not growing our view it is shrinking it.
Krzmarzick writes “if the Jr. Pioneers exist solely to honor our pure and white ancestors.” Mr. Krzmarzick they do not. I am a member of the Jr. Pioneers as are a number of my family. I and another member of my family are former board members. I am on the tribal rolls so I am not white and probably not pure either. The Jr. Pioneers honor all ancestors who have lived in this area regardless of race.
Thinking about both the Hamas-Israeli War and the U.S. Dakota War brings back a memory of WWIl. When General Eisenhower became aware of the Death Camps he ordered all possible photographs and filming to be taken. And for the German people of nearby villages to be ushered into the camps to see for themselves what had happened. And in some cases to help bury the dead. He also said and I paraphrase “Get it all on record, especially film. Get this documented because some day someone will get up and say it never happened.”