Mr. Pashe talks about the importance of knowing who you are.

Audio Chapters

DL: If you had a magic wand, what would you wish for Dakota people today?

RP: To be Dakota I guess.

DL: What does that mean?

RP: Being Dakota stands for the way we used to live, all our traditional ways and things like that.

DL: What sort of traditional ways should you bring forward?

RP: Some of the things we used to do in the, like in spirituality and sharing and things like that and working together and things like that which is not happening now. Now there’s a lot of differences we have now because of outside influences. It would be nice if we can bring our culture back. I know that our culture of staying together was a matter of survival. I mean you had to stick together else you know, hunting and other tribes and things. But now you can go anyplace now. There’s no, what you call it, togetherness I guess. There is some places that still on it but it’s slowly deteriorating now. Now you’ve got kids sitting in front of TV with a Nintendo who is inattentive all day and not knowing anything about his own ancestors.

DL: What’s the advantage to a child to understand his history and where his people came from? What does that give him?

RP: Well it gives him, what you call it, and identity. Right now a lot of people that I know I’ve seen on the streets that don’t know who they are. They don’t know whether they’re Ojibwa or Dakota or even a white person. They don’t know who they are and they don’t have a foundation to fall back on when things get hard. I do a lot of reading… They do a lot of research that I read and they say that the people that cling to traditional ways do better in life and school and sports because they are proud of who they are.

DL: Is there anything you’d like to add? We’re almost to the end here.

RP: Well, I see a lot of these kids right now on this reservation that are kind of stuck. They don’t know where to go. Like to go out there and get an education. I know at this time we have no choice but to have an education so we can survive in this world. I know when I first started in the work force back in my 20’s, I was a laborer and you can’t survive on labor. You’ve got to have something, a trade or something. I’d like to see them do that. Otherwise they’re going to be lost.

Oral History- Interview | Narrator Randolph Pashe Interviewer Deborah Locke in Dakota Tipi First Nation Manitoba, Canada | Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. Identity June 23, 2024.

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