Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Sioux Upsrising: Broken Promises

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Minnesota Uprising of 1862

“If they are hungry, let them eat grass for all I care.” Andrew J. Myrick, a trader from the Redwood Agency or Lower Sioux Agency, said this about the Indians on August 4, 1862, when a crowd of angry Indians broke into the Upper Sioux Agency storehouse and stole one hundred sacks of flour. Also, this is what most of the white settlers thought about the Indians. The conflict between the white and the American Indians was a growing problem and it was obvious that some sort of rebellion was imminent. Despite the governments efforts to keep the settlers and the American Indians separate, the government broke promises and this resulted in the Sioux Uprising of 1862.

The Sioux Uprising was brought on by a series of events, but the most traumatic of these was the promises the government broke. One example of these broken promises was the treaty signed in 1867 that moved the Sioux Indians to the west bank of the Mississippi River. This gave more space for the white settlers to settle. The government promised white missionaries to be sent to the reservations to start schools and a farm program and the government promised food annuities. Soon after, however, the schools closed and the farm programs failed. The governments’ promise for food annuities was broken often. It was used against the Sioux Indians whenever the government needed more land. Once again, in the Mendota Treaty of 1851, and the Treaty of 1858, the government broke their promise and rationed the food in meager portions. This was the main reason the Sioux Indians raided the Lower Sioux Agency for one hundred sacks of flour. This is how most of the governments’ treaties were, and the promises that were broke aggravated the American Indians to revolt even more than they had before.

In this article, the author states mostly fact and not opinion. The author, Gary Hinkley walks through the steps of before the Uprising, and why this event occurred. He includes many numbers and dates in his article. This makes the article believable. There is little, if any, bias in the article. The quote, “If they are hungry, let them eat grass for all I care.” is also quoted in another book I read. This quote is factual. The author does not use his name or personal pronouns in the article. This article simply states the facts of the Sioux Uprising of 1862.

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Since this article simply states the fact of the Sioux Uprising of 1862, this article is very easily related to the History Day theme, “Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange”. The white settlers encountered American Indians while trying to move into Minnesota Territory. The settlers explored the land. The government was exploring the possibility of keeping the Indians separate from the whites, but in the end the only thing the government did was cause strain between the two cultures. The government believed from the beginning that the Indians should adopt the cultures and religion of the white people. These included Christianity and the different ways of whites, such as cooking and hunting. The government soon realized, however, it would be best for the American Indian culture and the settlers culture to remain separate.

The government tried to keep the Sioux Indians separate from the settlers, but in the end, nothing could prevent the Sioux Uprising of 1862. The promises the government broke were something the Indians could not ignore, and war was very close. The Sioux Uprising was an event that changed Minnesota history forever.

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