Who is right and who is wrong?

Mayor Beussman reflects on the events surrounding U.S.-Dakota War.

Audio Chapters

Did the white soldier treat the Natives fairly? Probably not. Did the warrior that was coming around the straw pile with his tomahawk that would beat my great-grandfather’s head in -- did my grandfather deserve that threat? Probably not. So I think in all conflicts there is right on both sides and there is wrong on both sides. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a conflict, it wouldn’t be a battle. Who is right and who is wrong? Did the one that was more right win? Did the one that was less wrong lose? I don’t know. Right now I think the settlers and the United States Army that finally did get here had the upper hand. Had all of the Dakota banded together and all jumped in on the fray, this would be a whole different part of the world [today]. The settlers would never have survived; we’d never have been able to come back to this area. But all the Dakota didn’t get involved, which is good for those of us who are living here now.

Not everyone on the Native American side believed that the war was right, just like not all settlers believed that continuing the war was right after New Ulm was so-called, saved. But New Ulm basically became a ghost town. Everybody moved and went back to St. Peter, or someplace, and then they just slowly trickled back into New Ulm and tried to restart.

Oral History- Interview | Narrator Robert Beussman Interviewer Deborah Locke made in New Ulm, MN | Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. Who is right and who is wrong? November 18, 2019. http://www.usdakotawar.org/node/1001

Viewpoints: All viewpoints expressed on this website are those of the contributors, and are not representative of the Minnesota Historical Society.