We were all glad it was over

Mr. Glotzbach talks about how the U.S.-Dakota War is commemorated today.

Audio Chapters

GG: Terry Sveine and I have a list of 25 names by which this event has been called over the course of time. Political correctness being what it is, [the name of the war] changes not quite from week to week but often enough. So now it’s called the US-Dakota War of 1862 and that’s fine. When I grew up, it was called the Indian Massacre. Later it became known as the Great Sioux Uprising which is kind of my favorite term. When I was a boy, it was a cause for celebration by both the whites and the Indians. We were all glad it was over. We got together from time to time and in the parades that occurred, the 75th, (what year was that?) in 1937 [there was a] big parade downtown. Indians were participants. It was a big happy time for everybody. There was no animosity of any kind that I can remember.

DL: Do you remember this? Were you there?

GG: Yeah, sure, I was in it.

DL: What did you do?

GG: I was dressed in a little costume.

DL: A little Pilgrim costume?

GG: Well no, probably cowboys and Indians. I presume I was a cowboy. I think maybe I can remember having an Indian headband with a feather in it one time. But in those times we played cowboys and Indians and I had a cowboy outfit.

DL: Would this be in August, then, of that year?

GG: Probably August of 1937.

DL: You don’t remember it as being partisan in any way?

GG: No. That is to say in these kinds of public events, they were a celebration. Today, political correctness again being what it is, it is now changed into a commemoration. [We] don’t call it a celebration any more. If you were to go to the German-Bohemian Heritage Society Library out here on South Minnesota Street, and take a look at… I saw this movie just a couple of months ago. Somebody had taken kind of a home movie of the 1962 event here. There were Indians performing dances and everybody was having a big happy time together. The animosity then in those days you would get not in a direct way.

I was a boy at the time, not exactly knowing or understanding what it was all about. Nobody sat me down and told me good things or bad things about the event. It was just, a hundred years ago there was a war between the whites and the Indians and the whites won and the Indians now live on the reservation and we live here and we can go there any time we want and see the reservation and they can come here any time they want. Sometimes we celebrate together and that’s about it.

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. We were all glad it was over May 21, 2024. http://www.usdakotawar.org/node/1050

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