1862 was a critical year in a process by which a land larger than many nations was transformed from one civilization to another. But the process was not a classic conquest easily marked in history books. Rather, it was a slower ‘digestion’ of over 20 million hectares of territory by one civilization accompanied by moments of true genocide or at least “ethnic cleansing” amidst much longer periods of very high death rates for one group and high birth rates and especially immigration rates for the other group. But this was sufficiently gradual that most historians did not record it on their lists of wars and other organized conflicts. I will discuss some extremely divergent views on what happened then. One reason they are so divergent is because the conflict of 1862 and its aftermath were extremely complex, with massacres on both sides, and with Indians working on both sides. Some whites fought to exterminate the Indians while others risked their lives to save them, and vice versa. Half-breeds of many kinds were caught in the middle, trying to survive a dramatic civilizational transformation that was occurring all around them. The result: In 1800, the territory now called Minnesota was 99%+ Indian, and by 1900 it was 99%+ whites of European descent.
This presentation to an annual conference of the "International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations" (ISCSC) describes a short war in the US Minnesota Territory in 1862 that lead to the largest execution in American history and catastrophic consequences for the native Dakota people. It benefited from the author's unusual exposure to causes of wars throughout history, access to both western and native accounts of the conflict retained by Minnesota's Historical Center, and detailed demographic data on the area. A slimmed down version was published a year later in that society's journal, "Comparative Civilizations Review." That version can be accessed via their website at www.iscsc.org .
Andregg, Michael M..
1862 in Dakota Land, a Genocide Forgotten: How civilizational transformation can get lost in the fading rate of history.
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