I think it's a blemish on our local history

Mr. Juni talks about the hanging of the 38 men at Mankato and the aftermath of the U.S.-Dakota War.

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DL: Have you ever been to Mankato to the execution site?

FJ: Yes I have been.

DL: Did you feel anything there?

FJ: Well actually, at the time, I'm not sure I did. But I do now. The more I read -- and I'm hoping what I'm reading is accurate and a true accounting of what happened -- it's a shameful event. I think it's a blemish on our local history. It was terrible. It's easy to sit here in the 21st century and say it was the wrong thing to do because there was hardship, and grief and agony on both sides of the issue. But it still seems like it was hanging for the sake of hanging. It was to show that the whites were here to stay and that they were the dominant society and that the Indians were on the way out, so to speak. I'm sure some of those Indians that were hung probably might have been deserving. But I think there were an equal number, as many or more, that were not deserving. I don't think it was right. But then again, I didn't live through it.

DL: Some of the historical accounts claim that the antagonism toward Indians in general and in Minnesota was white-hot; that there was an intense anger, and that Lincoln had to agree to some executions because the war…

FJ: Festering

DL: …the war would have just continued.

FJ: I've heard that proposed. And that's probably right. Maybe there was some sort of closure [because of the hangings]. But some accounts say that some of the Indians that were hung were not deserving. So if one innocent individual was hung, that tarnishes the entire event. And when they were taken through New Ulm and if indeed people of my great-grandparents era poured hot boiling water on those people...That's something not to be very proud about. That's pretty bad.

Oral History- Interview | Narrator Frederick Juni Interviewer Deborah Locke made in New Ulm, Milford Township, MN | Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. I think it's a blemish on our local history May 29, 2024. http://www.usdakotawar.org/node/1056

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