The reasons for the Santee Sioux revolt, which resulted in the protracted Dakota War, have been accumulating since the previous decade when the Indians were deceived or disadvantaged by unfair contracts and late payments. Due to the famine, Native Americans were forced to hunt for animals, which was complicated by the need to share the prey field with American settlers in the lands of Dakota. The key trigger for the start of the war was the killing of five white settlers by a detachment of four warriors of the Santee Sioux tribe on August 17, 1862. It was then that the tribe decided to exterminate hundreds of white settlers with a sharp surprise attack in order to expel the colonialists from their lands. From that moment on, for several months, Minnesota was engulfed in bloody battles. At the end of December of the same year, the war ended in favor of the colonialists – an unprecedented event was the one-time hanging of 38 members of the Santi tribe.
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The PBS documentary provides a unique dual perspective on conflict using excerpts from diaries and letters. This historiographic approach allows one to better relate to American settlers and farmers, to understand their desire to improve their lives using a new land. The testimonies of the Indians of that era, presented in the native language, make it clear how much these people felt deceived and to what extent the injustice of the colonialists was high (PBS Learning Media, 1993). An interesting fact is the attempt to forcefully Christianize the Dakota Indians, demonstrating a sharp discrepancy between the views of two different cultures.
This bloody military conflict, which claimed thousands of lives, for the inhabitants of Minnesota cannot be a cause of unequivocal pride. The position of the Indians into which they were driven by false treaties was not only painful but distorting human nature. Cruelty breeds even more sophisticated cruelty, and this is precisely what the story of the Dakota War demonstrates, in which a series of oppressive actions towards the indigenous population resulted in many deaths and was manifested in a horrific scene of public execution. Cultural mismatches should be overcome by looking for similarities and, first of all, the idea of mutual assistance, which is higher than selfish goals and cultural and ideological mismatches.
Dakota Conflict. (1993). PBS Learning Media. Web.