Traverse des Sioux: Stories and Reflections




Traverse des Sioux

Narrator: In exchange for much needed money and goods, the Dakota gave up most of their land in two 1850s treaties and were forced to move to reservation strips along the Minnesota river. Government fraud and delay of these Dakota provisions needed for survival, set in motion the events leading into the US-Dakota war of 1862. One cause of the war was attributed to the deception around these treaties.

Perspectives on the Treaty Signings of 1851 and 1858

Pamela Halverson: “The treaties were not understood by the people. The treaties were promises set...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.”

Elden Lawrence: “It was a bogus document that allowed the federal government to legally steal Indian land. They made promises in those treaties that they never intended to keep. they had browbeaten and coerced the Indians to the point where they didn't have much choice.”

Walter LaBatte: “We sold all this land for x-amount of dollars per acre. But, the way it was written, the government never intended to pay us the full amount. They would pay us interest for 50 years.”

Dean Blue: “So they never actually paid for it; never paid a cent for all this vast territory.”

Robert Buessman: “If white people would have been more honest and would have kept their treaties, if they, Native Americans, had not been pushed into a corner, Had they been given the proper food and nourishment that they were promised it could have been a whole different way of life, for them; for us.”

Pamela Halverson: “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. So did it really even matter?”

The Impact Treaties have on the Dakota Nation

Clifford Canku: “The treaties are still valid, that the United States needs to honor those treaties and do what they need to do in order to do justice to all the Native American tribes in the United States. The treaties are the consciousness of this continent.”

Lillian Wilson: “The United States is suffering because they made so many mistakes, and that’s one of them. they still have a lot of suffering to do because they can’t say: 'We did wrong.' Until they can say that, the cloud will be lifted and then the whole nation can do good again.”