There are people who will say those people were taken there for safety

Mr. Glotzbach talks about perceptions of Fort Snelling's role in the aftermath of the U.S.-Dakota War.

Audio Chapters

GG: I’ve been to Fort Snelling but I’ve not been to any related monument there.

DL: Oh, the site of the what do they call it the camp, the prison camp?

GG: The prison camp, call that what you will, there are people who will say those people were taken there for safety. To keep those people safe from the depredations of the white man and to feed them, and water them and give them medicine. So there is not all agreement that this was a concentration camp. There are people who will say that was not a concentration [camp]

GG: I can believe there was mistreatment of the Indians and death there. I can believe that.

DL: So they weren’t really safe.

GG: There are people who say that they were taken there to be safe and whether they got safe treatment once they got there is a different thing. But that they might have been mistreated along the way or that they were mistreated or killed while they were there, I can believe that. I don’t know that but I can believe it.

DL: Give us some impressions especially with your military background, about Fort Ridgely or Fort Snelling. We’ve heard arguments from some of the Dakota that those places should be burned down and forgotten. We’ve heard from Dakota vets that it stands as a memorial and it should stand not only as a memorial with regard to the camp area but with regard to the structure itself because of its service to the country during times of war. We’ve heard from some Dakota that say, “Burn it down.” Of course it was a site of tremendous pain and sorrow to the Dakota then and still today. What is your take on that? Would there be any value in destroying a place of great anguish to people?

GG: Have we destroyed Auschwitz in Poland where millions of Jews were gassed? No! We as an American people and the Germans of today, and the people of Poland of today have preserved that specifically so that we today will remember and learn from it. Likewise my answer to you is we should preserve those remaining buildings and areas and artifacts and all that for the very same reason. Maybe if we see enough of that, we’ll try and remember to not do that again to each other. That’s a two way street.

Oral History- Interview | Narrator George Glotzbach Interviewer Deborah Locke made in New Ulm, MN | Thursday, August 11, 2011

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. There are people who will say those people were taken there for safety June 13, 2024.

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