A Final Solution?

This is more on the Dakota war of 1862 and the Minnesotan white community’s response towards the uprising. My O’Malley ancestors were living in Mower County, Minnesota, then. I am trying to get a feel for how people in their community responded to the uprising by members of the Dakotan tribes. From what I have read so far it seems that the feelings of the white community towards the native Americans was extremely hostile in the immediate aftermath of the conflict.

Here is the text of the New York Times editorial published November 6th, 1863, a few months after the uprising and the subsequent trial and executions. The article’s writer proclaims that the Native Americans should be treated with mercy. Still, due to bad feelings amongst the state’s white population, the Dakotan tribes should be removed either to Oklahoma or to an island in the middle of Lake Superior.

Mercy to the Sioux – We are very glad to learn from Washington that it is not the purpose of the government to deal in a sanguinary manner with the lately belligerent red men of Minnesota. The large number of “big Injuns” of all grades and dignities and with all sorts of unpronounceable names who had been condemned to the gallows, will be respited and subjected to some punishment which will be more effective in preventing outbreaks in the future. The war, if such it may be called, is entirely over. A mere show of power on the part of the Government, put an end to the difficulties; and General Pope has had no use whatever for the large number of men that were assigned to his department. The whole thing seems to have been but a burst of rage on the part of the Redskins, incited by the atrocious injustice to which they had been subjected; and their savage fury which being raised, they fell upon the white settlers, and slew them indiscriminately. Most of the Indians who were condemned had given themselves up to justice, declaring their innocence, and asserting that the massacre were the work of a few bad men among them – as indeed seems to have been the case.

“But while we think it well that the accused Sioux are not to be all hung, it will certainly be very bad policy to let them, or any of their tribe remain in Minnesota. The exasperation of the settlers against the Indians continues intense, and they fiercely demand not only the execution of these men, but the entire extermination of the tribe – men, squaws, and papooses. They declaim loudly against the policy of the government; And it is almost certain that, if it is carried out, and the Indians are permitted to remain in the state, they will be quickly taken in hand by the settlers and exterminated.

“The whole tribe should at once be removed from Minnesota, and taken down to the Indian territory; Or, what seems still more feasible the plan which has been proposed in the able though sanguinary pamphlet of Mr. Taylor, of Minnesota, should be carried out, and the tribe be removed to Isle Royale in Lake Superior where they will never more molest or be molested by the white men. The Sioux who are east of the Missouri, are but 15,000 in number, with 3000 warriors; and part of their annuities should be applied to getting them from Minnesota. This would pacify the settlers and save the Indians. There can be no rest nor safety for any one of them while they remain where they are.”


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