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  Cover Story November 25th, 2010     

Cover Story
by lyle e davis

The state of Minnesota is pretty much thought of by most of us as ‘the land of sky-blue waters,’ ‘the land of 10,000 lakes,’ the home of hundreds of ‘Ole and Lena’ Norwegian jokes, and the epicenter of a large Scandinavian and German family immigration.

All of the above images are fairly accurate (except the part about 10,000 lakes; Minnesota has waaaaaay more than 10,000 lakes. It was just a catchy phrase for marketing purposes).

What is not generally known is that Minnesota was a prime battleground during the Sioux Indian wars. It is also the focal point for the largest mass hanging in American history.

In fact, at one time as many as 303 Sioux Indians were scheduled to be hanged. Eventually, that number was dropped to 38 that were actually hanged.

It came about as a direct result of an orde;r by President Abraham Lincoln:

"Ordered that of the Indians and Half-breeds sentenced to be hanged by the military commission, composed of Colonel Crooks, Lt. Colonel Marshall, Captain Grant, Captain Bailey, and Lieutenant Olin, and lately sitting in Minnesota, you cause to be executed on Friday the nineteenth day of December, instant, the following names, to wit [39 names listed by case number of record: cases 2, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 19, 22, 24, 35, 67, 68, 69, 70, 96, 115, 121, 138, 155, 170, 175, 178, 210, 225, 254, 264, 279, 318, 327, 333, 342, 359, 373, 377, 382, 383].

The other condemned prisoners you will hold subject to further orders, taking care that they neither escape, nor are subjected to any unlawful violence.

/s/Abraham Lincoln,
President of the United States
"

How could such a thing happen, you ask?

Pull up a chair and we’ll tell you the story:

Simply stated, a series of unfair treaties, st/3/*upidly administered, had aroused the Sioux in Minnesota, and the first outbreak occurred on August 17th, 1862. Indian agents keep the treaty money and food that was to go to the Indians, the food was sold to White settlers, food that was given to the Indians was spoiled and not fit for a dog to eat. There fol­lowed a month of bloody warfare, with attacks on farms and outlying settle­ments, barricaded streets, scalpings, and all the worst elements of Indian fight­ing.

The Background . .

When this cou ntry was in the process of being settled, we had immigrants coming from across the oceans, from the east coast migrating to what was then ‘out west’ (but is to us, today, the midwest), sometimes down from Canada . . . but whichever group of people that migrated to the midwest, they all wanted land. Land to farm, land to build, land for grazing, land to mine for minerals, land to build villages and towns. Inevitably, this caused conflict with the First Nations . . . those we call today Indians.

In the Minnesota area, a lot of folks flocked the southwest area, the plains. No mountains, no real big hills to speak of; good land for cultivating and farming. Good land upon which to graze cattle. Good land, with lots of trees, to harvest lumber . . . and to hunt and fish.
This encroachment on the land was at the detriment of the Indians, principally the easter Sious, or Dakota Sioux. To offset potential conflict the United States and Dakota leaders negotiated the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux on July 23, 1851, and Treaty of Mendota on August 5, 1851, by which the Dakota ceded large tracts of land in Minnesota Territory to the U.S. In return the Dakota would retain a reservation and the U.S. would provide assistance with schools, trade, and farming, and yearly payments in food and gold. The government promised to pay $500,000 to move Indian villages and pay for debts the Dakota owed to traders. This amounted to less than $0.03 an acre in return for the Dakota homeland. In fact, the Dakota saw very little of the $500,000. It went directly to traders instead to pay Dakota debts. U.S. officials coerced Dakota leaders to sign the treaty by threatening to withhold rations or take the land by force. The Dakota signers of the treaty were then given another document to sign which gave away most of the money that had been promised to them directly to white traders to pay debts. Still, the U.S. Senate refused to uphold its own responsibility in the treaty. Before ratifying the treaty, the Senate eliminated the passage granting the Dakota a reservation. The Dakota, who kept their part of the bargain, agreed to live on a 20-mile wide Indian reservation centered on a 150 mile stretch of the upper Minnesota River. This was the article the Senate deleted so they stole that from the Dakota as well.

When Minnesota became a state on May 11, 1858, representatives of several Dakota bands led by Taoyateduta (Little Crow) traveled to Washington, D.C., to negotiate about enforcing existing treaties. The northern half of the reservation along the Minnesota River was lost, and rights to the quarry at Pipestone, Minnesota, were also ceded by the Dakota. This was a major blow to the standing of Little Crow in the Dakota community.

The ceded land was divided into townships and plots for settlement. Logging and agriculture on these plots eliminated surrounding forests and prairies, which interrupted the Dakota's annual cycle of farming, hunting, fishing and gathering wild rice. Hunting by settlers dramatically reduced wild game, such as bison, elk, whitetail deer and bear. Not only did this decrease the meat available for the Dakota in southern and western Minnesota, but it directly reduced their ability to sell furs to traders for additional supplies.

The Dakota became increasingly discontented over their losses: land, non-payment of annuities, past broken treaties, plus food shortages and famine following crop failure. Tensions increased through the summer of 1862.
One example of how the Indians were likely taken advantage of, and how a built-in bias may have ultimately played a factor in the mass execution, the use of annuities by traders and agents involved two Minnesota governors. Henry H. Sibley, the first governor elected after statehood in 1857, claimed the Sioux owed him $145,000 for overpayments from his American Fur Company. The Indians thought they'd been underpaid and took their complaint to their agent, Alexander Ramsey, a friend of Sibley who was governor at the time of the uprising. Not surprisingly, Ramsey ruled in Sibley’s favor. Both Sibley and Ramsey would later play major roles in ensuring the executions.

On August 17, 1862, four young Dakota men were on a hunting trip in Acton Township, Minnesota, during which they stole food and killed five white settlers. Soon after, a Dakota war council was convened and their leader, Little Crow, agreed to continue attacks on the European-American settlements to try to drive out the whites.

Refugees

Little Crow had argued against war but the others pressed for war, arguing that whites would avenge the first killings and take away the annuities promised by the treaties. With so many northern white men away at war against the South, the militants argued, the Sioux could clear the entire Minnesota River Valley of settlers. Their argument was persuasive. The uprising had started.

On August 18, 1862, Little Crow led a group that attacked the Lower Sioux (or Redwood) Agency. The agency head, Andrew Myrick, was among the first who were killed. He was discovered trying to escape through a second-floor window of a building at the agency. Myrick's body later was found with grass stuffed into his mouth. The significance of this was . . . Myrick had allegedly told the Indians earlier that “for all I care, you can eat grass.”

The Dakota fought in their traditional manner; only women or children were taken as prisoners.

The warriors burned the buildings at the Lower Sioux Agency, accidentally providing time for settlers to escape across the river at Redwood Ferry. Minnesota militia forces and B Company of the 5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment sent to quell the uprising were defeated at the Battle of Redwood Ferry. Twenty-four soldiers, including the party's commander (Captain John Marsh), were killed in the battle. Throughout the day, Dakota war parties swept the Minnesota River Valley and near vicinity, killing numerous settlers. Numerous settlements including the Townships of Milford, Leavenworth and Sacred Heart, were surrounded, burned and their populations nearly exterminated.

Confident with their initial success, the Dakota continued their offensive and attacked the settlement of New Ulm, Minnesota, on August 19, 1862, and on August 23, a second Dakota attack on New Ulm left most of the town burned to the ground, and 2,000 refugees, mostly women, children, and wounded men, set off in wagons and on foot for Mankato, 30 miles away.

Dakota warriors initially decided not to attack the heavily defended Fort Ridgely along the river. They turned toward the town, killing settlers along the way. By the time New Ulm was attacked, residents had organized defenses in the town center and were able to keep the Dakota at bay during the brief siege. Dakota warriors penetrated parts of the defenses enough to burn much of the town. By that evening, a thunderstorm dampened the warfare, preventing further Dakota attacks.
Regular soldiers and militia from nearby towns (including two companies of the 5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry then stationed at Fort Ridgely) reinforced New Ulm. Residents continued to build barricades around the town.

First Hand Accounts:

There are numerous firsthand accounts of the wars and raids. For example, the compilation by Charles Bryant, titled Indian Massacre in Minnesota, included these graphic descriptions of events, taken from an interview with Mrs. Justina Krieger:

"Mr. Massipost had two daughters, young ladies, intelligent and accomplished. These the savages murdered most brutally. The head of one of them was afterward found, severed from the body, attached to a fish-hook, and hung upon a nail. His son, a young man of twenty-four years, was also killed. Mr. Massipost and a son of eight years escaped to New Ulm."

"The daughter of Mr. Schwandt, pregnant, was cut open, as was learned afterward, the child taken alive from the mother, and nailed to a tree. The son of Mr. Schwandt, aged thirteen years, who had been beaten by the Indians, until dead, as was supposed, was present, and saw the entire tragedy. He saw the child taken alive from the body of his sister, Mrs. Waltz, and nailed to a tree in the yard. It struggled some time after the nails were driven through it! This occurred in the forenoon of Monday, 18th of August, 1862."

During this period, the Dakota attacked Fort Ridgely on August 20 and 22, 1862.[5][6] Although the Dakota were not able to take the fort, they ambushed a relief party from the fort to New Ulm on August 21. The defense at the Battle of Fort Ridgely further limited the ability of the American forces to aid outlying settlements. The Dakota raided farms and small settlements throughout south central Minnesota and what was then eastern Dakota Territory.

Minnesota militia counterattacks resulted in a major defeat of American forces at the Battle of Birch Coulee on September 2, 1862. The battle began when the Dakota attacked a detachment of 150 American soldiers at Birch Coulee, 16 miles (26 km) from Fort Ridgely. The detachment had been sent out to find survivors, bury American dead and report on the location of Dakota fighters. A three-hour firefight began with an early morning assault. Thirteen soldiers were killed and 47 were wounded, while only two Dakota were killed. A column of 240 soldiers from Fort Ridgely relieved the detachment at Birch Coulee the same afternoon.

Attacks in northern Minnesota Settlers escaping the violence, 1862.

Further north, the Dakota attacked several unfortified stagecoach stops and river crossings along the Red River Trails, a settled trade route between Fort Garry (now Winnipeg, Manitoba) and Saint Paul, Minnesota, in the Red River Valley in northwestern Minnesota and eastern Dakota Territory. Many settlers and employees of the Hudson's Bay Company and other local enterprises in this sparsely populated country took refuge in Fort Abercrombie, located in a bend of the Red River of the North about 25 miles (40 km) south of present-day Fargo, North Dakota. Between late August and late September, the Dakota launched several attacks on Fort Abercrombie; all were repelled by its defenders.

In the meantime steamboat and flatboat trade on the Red River came to a halt. Mail carriers, stage drivers and military couriers were killed while attempting to reach settlements such as Pembina, North Dakota, Fort Garry, St. Cloud, Minnesota, and Fort Snelling. Eventually the garrison at Fort Abercrombie was relieved by a U.S. Army company from Fort Snelling, and the civilian refugees were removed to St. Cloud.

After the arrival of a larger army force, the final large-scale fighting took place at the Battle of Wood Lake on September 23, 1862. After brief fighting, the forces in the skirmish line charged against the Dakota (then in a ravine) and defeated them overwhelmingly.

During this time, there were discussions within the Indian Councils as to whether to end the war, or to continue fighting:

Here is one commentary:

Speech of Hdainyanka in Favor of Continuaing War

I am for continuing the war, and am opposed to the delivery of the prisoners. I have no confidence that the whites will stand by any agreement they make if we give them up. Ever since we treated with them their agents and traders have robbed and cheated us. Some of our people have been shot, some hung; others placed upon floating ice and drowned; and many have been starved in their prisons. It was not the intention of the nation to kill any of the whites until after the four men returned from Acton and told what they had done. When they did this, all the young men became excited, and commenced the massacre. The older ones would have prevented it if they could, but since the treaties they have lost all their influence. We may regret what has happened but the matter has gone too far to be remedied. We have got to die. Let us, then, kill as many of the whites as possible, and let the prisoners die with us.
(Heard, History of Sioux War, 151-52)

Surrender of the Dakota

HdainyanMost Dakota fighters surrendered shortly after the Battle of Wood Lake at Camp Release on September 26, 1862. The place was so-named because it was the site where the Dakota released 269 European-American captives to the troops commanded by Col. Henry Sibley. The captives included 162 "mixed-bloods" (mixed-race, some likely descendants of Dakota women who were mistakenly counted as captives) and 107 whites, mostly women and children. Most of the warriors were imprisoned before Sibley arrived at Camp Release. The surrendered Dakota warriors were held until military trials took place in November 1862.

Little Crow was forced to retreat sometime in September 1862. By September 23rd, after Little Crow had withdrawn, and most of the rest of the Sioux had been captured, more than six hundred whites had been killed and almost a million dollars' worth of property destroyed.

Little Crow stayed briefly in Canada but soon returned to the Minnesota area. He was killed on July 3, 1863, near Hutchinson, Minnesota, while gathering raspberries with his teenage son. The pair had wandered onto the land of white settler Nathan Lamson, who shot at them to collect bounties. Once it was discovered that the body was of Little Crow, his skull and scalp were put on display in St. Paul, Minnesota.

For killing Little Crow, the state granted Lamson an additional $500 bounty. For his part in the warfare, Little Crow's son was sentenced to death by a military tribunal, a sentence then commuted to a prison term.
Trials

In early December, 303 Sioux prisoners were convicted of murder and rape by military tribunals and sentenced to death. Some trials lasted less than five minutes. No one explained the proceedings to the defendants, nor were the Sioux represented by a defense in court. President Abraham Lincoln personally reviewed the trial records to distinguish between those who had engaged in warfare against the U.S., versus those who had committed crimes of rape and murder against civilians.

Henry Whipple, the Episcopal bishop of Minnesota and a reformer of U.S. policies toward Native Americans, urged Lincoln to proceed with leniency. On the other hand, General Pope and Minnesota Senator Morton S. Wilkinson told him that leniency would not be received well by the white population. Governor Ramsey warned Lincoln that, unless all 303 Sioux were executed, "[P]rivate revenge would on all this border take the place of official judgment on these Indians." In the end, Lincoln commuted the death sentences of 264 prisoners, but he allowed the execution of 39 men.

This clemency resulted in protests from Minnesota, which persisted until the Secretary of the Interior offered white Minnesotans "reasonable compensation for the depredations committed." Republicans did not fare as well in Minnesota in the 1864 election as they had before. Ramsey (by then a senator) informed Lincoln that more hangings would have resulted in a larger electoral majority. The President reportedly replied, "I could not afford to hang men for votes."

One of the 39 condemned prisoners was granted a reprieve.

Letter of Hdainyanka written shortly before his execution:

You have deceived me. You told me that if we followed the advice of General Sibley, and gave ourselves up to the whites, all would be well; no innocent man would be injured. I have not killed, wounded or injured a white man, or any white persons. I have not participated in the plunder of their property; and yet to-day I am set apart for execution, and must die in a few days, while men who are guilty will remain in prison. My wife is your daughter, my children are your grandchildren. I leave them all in your care and under your protection. Do not let them suffer; and when my children are grown up, let them know that their father died because he followed the advice of his chief, and without having the blood of a white man to answer for to the Great Spirit.
(Letter to Chief Wabasha)

Governor Alexander Ramsey had declared on September 9, 1862 that "The Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the state."

The treatment of Dakota people, including the hanging in Mankato and the forced removal of Dakota people from Minnesota, were the first phases of Ramsey's plan.

His plan was further implemented when bounties were placed on the scalps of Dakota people which eventually reached $200. Punitive expeditions were then sent out over the next few years to hunt down those Dakota who had not surrendered and to ensure they would not return.

The Army executed the 38 remaining prisoners by hanging on December 26, 1862, in Mankato, Minnesota. It remains the largest mass execution in American history.

At least two Sioux leaders, Little Six and Medicine Bottle, escaped to Canada. They were captured, drugged and returned to the United States. They were hanged at Fort Snelling in 1865.

On December 6 (1862) President Lincoln had notified Sibley that he should "cause to be executed" thirty-nine of the 303 convicted Santees (Sioux).

Execution date was the 26th of December. At the last minute, one Indian was given a reprieve. About ten o'clock the thirty-eight condemned men were marched from the prison to the scaffold. They sang the Sioux death song until soldiers pulled white caps over their heads and placed nooses around their necks. At a signal from an army officer, the control rope was cut and thirty-eight Santee Sioux dangled lifeless in the air.

The mass execution was performed publicly on a single scaffold platform. One rope connected all of the trap doors on the scaffold.

Major Brown, whose wife and children were killed, asked for the privilege to give the signal to cut the rope. The signal was the third tap of the drum. Capt. Dooley cut the rope that held the scaffold. Dooley was very much excited and missed the rope the first time, but cut it the second time.

After regimental surgeons pronounced the prisoners dead, they were buried en masse in a trench in the sand of the riverbank. Before they were buried, an unknown person nicknamed “Dr. Sheardown” possibly removed some of the prisoners' skin. Small boxes purportedly containing the skin later were sold in Mankato.

SAINT PAUL
December 27, 1862.
The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:

I have the honor to inform you that the thirty-eight Indians and half-breeds ordered by you for execution were hung yesterday at Mankato at 10 a.m. Everything went off quietly and the other prisoners are well secured.

Respectfully,

H. H. SIBLEY, Brigadier-General

Medical aftermath

Because of high demand for cadavers for anatomical study, several doctors requested the bodies after the execution. The grave was reopened and the bodies were distributed among local doctors, a practice common in the era. The doctor who received the body of Mahpiya Okinajin (He Who Stands in Clouds) was William Worrall Mayo.

Years later Mayo brought the body of Mahpiya Okinajin to Le Sueur, Minnesota, where he dissected it in the presence of medical colleagues. Afterward, he had the skeleton cleaned, dried and varnished. Mayo kept it in an iron kettle in his home office. In the late 20th century, the identifiable remains of Mahpiya Okinajin and other Native Americans were returned by the Mayo Clinic to a Dakota tribe for reburial per the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

Internment

The remaining convicted Indians stayed in prison that winter. The following spring they were transferred to Rock Island, Illinois, where they were held in prison for almost four years. By the time of their release, one third of the prisoners had died of disease. The survivors were sent with their families to Nebraska. Their families had already had been expelled from Minnesota.

Living conditions and sanitation were poor, and infectious disease struck the camp, killing more than three hundred. In April 1863 the U.S. Congress abolished the reservation, declared all previous treaties with the Dakota null and void, and undertook proceedings to expel the Dakota people entirely from Minnesota. To this end, a bounty of $25 per scalp was placed on any Dakota found free within the boundaries of the state. The only exception to this legislation applied to 208 Mdewakanton, who remained neutral or assisted white settlers in the conflict.

In May 1863 Dakota survivors were forced aboard steamboats and relocated to the Crow Creek Reservation, in the southeastern Dakota Territory, a place stricken by drought at the time. Many of the survivors of Crow Creek moved three years later to the Niobrara Reservation in Nebraska.

By 1863 there were few Indians left in the state, and Minnesota was more open than ever for the white man's way of life. With the Homestead Act in place since 1862, the banishment of the unruly Sioux in 1863, and the end of the Civil War in 1865, the state was now ready for a surge of immigration from Europe - a surge that was not far off.

The Sioux Wars went on for many years. A military expedition carried the fighting into the Dakota Territory in 1863 and 1864. As the frontier moved westward, new fighting erupted. Finally, in 1890 at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, the generation of warfare that had begun at Acton in August of 1862 came to an end.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dakota_War_of_1862

http://genealogytrails.com/minn/execution.html

http://hundorp.homestead.com/uprising.html

http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/history/mnstatehistory/thedakotaconflict.html

http://www.unitednativeamerica.com/hanging.html

The city held the trophies until 1971, when it returned the remains to Little Crow's grandson. For killing Little Crow, the state granted Lamson an additional $500 bounty. For his part in the warfare, Little Crow's son was sentenced to death by a military tribunal, a sentence then commuted to a prison term.

Little Crows ScalpTrials

In early December, 303 Sioux prisoners were convicted of murder and rape by military tribunals and sentenced to death. Some trials lasted less than five minutes. No one explained the proceedings to the defendants, nor were the Sioux represented by a defense in court. President Abraham Lincoln personally reviewed the trial records to distinguish between those who had engaged in warfare against the U.S., versus those who had committed crimes of rape and murder against civilians.

Henry Whipple, the Episcopal bishop of Minnesota and a reformer of U.S. policies toward Native Americans, urged Lincoln to proceed with leniency. On the other hand, General Pope and Minnesota Senator Morton S. Wilkinson told him that leniency would not be received well by the white population. Governor Ramsey warned Lincoln that, unless all 303 Sioux were executed, "[P]rivate revenge would on all this border take the place of official judgment on these Indians." In the end, Lincoln commuted the death sentences of 264 prisoners, but he allowed the execution of 39 men.

Little Crows WifeThis clemency resulted in protests from Minnesota, which persisted until the Secretary of the Interior offered white Minnesotans "reasonable compensation for the depredations committed." Republicans did not fare as well in Minnesota in the 1864 election as they had before. Ramsey (by then a senator) informed Lincoln that more hangings would have resulted in a larger electoral majority. The President reportedly replied, "I could not afford to hang men for votes."

One of the 39 condemned prisoners was granted a reprieve.

Letter of Hdainyanka written shortly before his execution:

You have deceived me. You told me that if we followed the advice of General Sibley, and gave ourselves up to the whites, all would be well; no innocent man would be injured. I have not killed, wounded or injured a white man, or any white persons. I have not participated in the plunder of their property; and yet to-day I am set apart for execution, and must die in a few days, while men who are guilty will remain in prison. My wife is your daughter, my children are your grandchildren. I leave them all in your care and under your protection. Do not let them suffer; and when my children are grown up, let them know that their father died because he followed the advice of his chief, and without having the blood of a white man to answer for to the Great Spirit.
(Letter to Chief Wabasha)

Govenor RamseyGovernor Alexander Ramsey had declared on September 9, 1862 that "The Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the state."

The treatment of Dakota people, including the hanging in Mankato and the forced removal of Dakota people from Minnesota, were the first phases of Ramsey's plan.

His plan was further implemented when bounties were placed on the scalps of Dakota people which eventually reached $200. Punitive expeditions were then sent out over the next few years to hunt down those Dakota who had not surrendered and to ensure they would not return.

The Army executed the 38 remaining prisoners by hanging on December 26, 1862, in Mankato, Minnesota. It remains the largest mass execution in American history.

At least two Sioux leaders, Little Six and Medicine Bottle, escaped to Canada. They were captured, drugged and returned to the United States. They were hanged at Fort Snelling in 1865.

Wa-kan-o-zhan-zhan (Medicine Bottle)

Execution

Mediine BottleOn December 6 (1862) President Lincoln had notified Sibley that he should "cause to be executed" thirty-nine of the 303 convicted Santees (Sioux).

Execution date was the 26th of December. At the last minute, one Indian was given a reprieve. About ten o'clock the thirty-eight condemned men were marched from the prison to the scaffold. They sang the Sioux death song until soldiers pulled white caps over their heads and placed nooses around their necks. At a signal from an army officer, the control rope was cut and thirty-eight Santee Sioux dangled lifeless in the air.

The mass execution was performed publicly on a single scaffold platform. One rope connected all of the trap doors on the scaffold.

Major Brown, whose wife and children were killed, asked for the privilege to give the signal to cut the rope. The signal was the third tap of the drum. Capt. Dooley cut the rope that held the scaffold. Dooley was very much excited and missed the rope the first time, but cut it the second time.

After regimental surgeons pronounced the prisoners dead, they were buried en masse in a trench in the sand of the riverbank. Before they were buried, an unknown pserson nicknamed “Dr. Sheardown” possibly removed some of the prisoners' skin. Small boxes purportedly containing the skin later were sold in Mankato.

SAINT PAUL
December 27, 1862.
The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:

I have the honor to inform you that the thirty-eight Indians and half-breeds ordered by you for execution were hung yesterday at Mankato at 10 a.m. Everything went off quietly and the other prisoners are well secured.

Respectfully,

H. H. SIBLEY, Brigadier-General

Medical aftermath

Because of high demand for cadavers for anatomical study, several doctors requested the bodies after the execution. The grave was reopened and the bodies were distributed among local doctors, a practice common in the era. The doctor who received the body of Mahpiya Okinajin (He Who Stands in Clouds) was William Worrall Mayo.

SibleyYears later Mayo brought the body of Mahpiya Okinajin to Le Sueur, Minnesota, where he dissected it in the presence of medical colleagues. Afterward, he had the skeleton cleaned, dried and varnished. Mayo kept it in an iron kettle in his home office. In the late 20th century, the identifiable remains of Mahpiya Okinajin and other Native Americans were returned by the Mayo Clinic to a Dakota tribe for reburial per the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

Internment

The remaining convicted Indians stayed in prison that winter. The following spring they were transferred to Rock Island, Illinois, where they were held in prison for almost four years. By the time of their release, one third of the prisoners had died of disease. The survivors were sent with their families to Nebraska. Their families had already had been expelled from Minnesota.

Living conditions and sanitation were poor, and infectious disease struck the camp, killing more than three hundred. In April 1863 the U.S. Congress abolished the reservation, declared all previous treaties with the Dakota null and void, and undertook proceedings to expel the Dakota people entirely from Minnesota. To this end, a bounty of $25 per scalp was placed on any Dakota found free within the boundaries of the state. The only exception to this legislation applied to 208 Mdewakanton, who remained neutral or assisted white settlers in the conflict.

In May 1863 Dakota survivors were forced aboard steamboats and relocated to the Crow Creek Reservation, in the southeastern Dakota Territory, a place stricken by drought at the time. Many of the survivors of Crow Creek moved three years later to the Niobrara Reservation in Nebraska.

By 1863 there were few Indians left in the state, and Minnesota was more open than ever for the white man's way of life. With the Homestead Act in place since 1862, the banishment of the unruly Sioux in 1863, and the end of the Civil War in 1865, the state was now ready for a surge of immigration from Europe - a surge that was not far off.

The Sioux Wars went on for many years. A military expedition carried the fighting into the Dakota Territory in 1863 and 1864. As the frontier moved westward, new fighting erupted. Finally, in 1890 at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, the generation of warfare that had begun at Acton in August of 1862 came to an end.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dakota_War_of_1862

http://genealogytrails.com/minn/execution.html

http://hundorp.homestead.com/uprising.html

http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/history/mnstatehistory/thedakotaconflict.html

http://www.unitednativeamerica.com/hanging.html

 

 

 

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