Our camp was Kaposia

Ms. Halverson talks about treaties made between the U.S.government and Dakota, and Lower Sioux Community versus where her people were originally from.

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Why do many Dakota feel that their communities are imposed and not chosen?

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This Lower Sioux and the ten miles on each side of the river was a treaty, was a reservation, it was where we were put. These were not our areas where we lived in. Lower Sioux is not my people’s home. My people’s home, our camp was Kaposia. My ancestors, the places that are important to us are the Cave, Cold Water Springs, the Falls. These places are sacred places and important to our people. Lower Sioux isn’t where my ancestors are from. Lower Sioux is a reservation where my people were placed. My people are confined to this area. Because if you don’t live in this ten mile radius, you don’t get any benefits from the community. So is that confining us, or is that imprisoning us? My people came back here after they were exiled from Minnesota and this is where we had to come to. We were told where we could live in these communities. You had a choice where you live in these communities, and this is where your ancestors came to after the Dakota War, and this is where we’re confined to today. Unless you choose to leave. Numbers of the Dakota people have left (and returned).

DL: There’s nothing keeping you from moving near the Springs today.

PH: No.

DL: But you came here when you returned from Texas.

PH: Yes. To receive any benefits you have to live here, you can’t live in the Twin Cities. You can’t go back to those places and live unless you don’t have – you know, unless you don’t need these benefits here. But in the economy and the way it is today – I guess when I came back, I wanted to do something for my people. I know what it’s like to grow up here. I wanted to do something and let them have an opportunity that my children had and come back here to the community. This was where my mom is buried, this is where my grandma is buried, and my great-grandma. You have a connection here. When you come home, this is home. This is not where my people were from, though. This is not where my ancestors were, but this is where my mom is buried and where they were confined to. This was where my mom was when she went to Pipestone Boarding School, this is where she was taken from. But I heard stories about what they said when they were brought back here, you had to be escorted off from here, and then you would be escorted back on again. You couldn’t leave here without being escorted, between those times after the Dakota War.

DL: Who did the escorting?

PH: I don’t know who escorted them. They just said they were escorted off and escorted back on again. You had to stay in these communities.

The treaties were not understood by the people. The treaties weren’t worth the paper they were written on, you know, the treaties weren’t for the betterment of the Dakota people. The treaties were for the Europeans. They would bring in barrels of rum, or whatever, before the signings, and have people drunk before they even knew what they were signing. I think they knew they had to do something, you know, they were signing these treaties because they thought this was the only way for survival again. This was the only way. People were coming in swarms, into the land, the Europeans, and invading the homelands. And they seen this in the Twin Cities area and knew they had to do something to keep a little bit. Either that, or they were just going to come and take whatever they wanted, and that was already happening. So really, was there a choice? Did it really matter if they signed those treaties or not? In Washington they already had the idea that they were going to exterminate the natives into the west. The treaties, they weren’t worth the paper they were written on; they already had ideas, they already knew, they already had a plan that they were going to exterminate us.

Oral History- Interview | Narrator Pamela Halverson Interviewer Deborah Locke | Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. Our camp was Kaposia April 22, 2024. http://www.usdakotawar.org/node/1390

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