I can’t understand why they’re mad

Mr. LaBatte talks about Dakota and Settler relationships.

Audio Chapters

We had a local official that was mourning the loss of the tax revenue from two farms that the tribe bought and put into trust. When you put it into trust it becomes government property so you can’t tax government property. He’s saying that this county lost two farms. How much acreage did the Indians lose when we lost our reservations, from New Ulm to the South Dakota border on both sides of the river—how many acres is that? You know, we lost that. I’m just putting it in perspective. “We did a number on those people” and they’re mad. I can’t understand why they’re mad.

DL: New Ulm?

WL: Yes I’ve been there and I have more of an attachment to New Ulm because it’s German. [Laughter] Oh, I sound like a traitor. I’ve got a degree in German you know. [Laughter]

DL: German language?

WL: Yes, but nobody down there probably speaks German anymore. I understand the historical context of the Germans. The Germans seem to have been… That’s all generalizing or “colonel-izing” I call it. That’s why they call them Iasicas. That means “Bad Talkers.” Whether that was meant because they couldn’t speak English good enough or because they talked nasty about Indians. I don’t know why they called them “iasicas.” The Germans didn’t seem to be particularly understanding of Dakota culture. This was generalizing, “colonel-izing” – maybe they had a superior attitude. You know sometimes we want to make blanket statements about certain people. Look at the French people, those French fur traders that first came in here. They accepted the Indians. The Indians had been here for ten thousand years maybe and knew a little bit more than they did as newcomers to the country. So they were a little bit more understanding and accepting. Even sometimes thinking, “These Dakota are superior to me in that they know how to survive in this country and I don’t.” So they were willing to learn from them. Maybe other ethnic Europeans didn’t hold that view. I don’t know.

Oral History- Interview | Narrator Walter LaBatte Interviewer Deborah Locke made in Granite Falls, Upper Sioux Community, MN | Thursday, April 28, 2011

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. I can’t understand why they’re mad June 22, 2024. http://www.usdakotawar.org/node/1082

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