Should Minnesota make reparations to descendants of the people who were forced out of the state 150 years ago?

Today is the 150th anniversary of the mass execution in Mankato that marked the end of the Dakota War. Today’s Question: Should Minnesota make reparations to descendants of the people who were forced out of the state 150 years ago?

  • John

    We already did, we allowed for casino’s to be built and used to suck the money out of the old, poor, and statistically challenged white people.

  • Rich

    Ya, sure. Just make certain that someone else pays for it ;^)

  • Steve the Cynic

    Yes, but it won’t happen. The opinion that would prevail in any debate over such a thing is that the current generation of should not be punished (through taxation) for the sins of those who came before, It’s hypocrisy, because those who make that argument continue to benefit from their predecessors’ sins. It’s also a conscience-salving rationalization, because reparations in one such case would open a Pandora’s box of similar cases. Truth be told, this whole country was stolen from previous occupants (sometimes stolen by swindle, but stolen nonetheless), There’s also the legacy of slavery, from which European-Americans continue to benefit, and there’s no political will to open that can of worms.
    BTW, John, the ones running the casinos are not decendants of those who were forced out of MN. Those folks moved to places like Kansas.

  • Gary F

    What John said.

    But then, we could just print more money or borrow more from China thus causing even more inflation when the economy recovers thus hurting them even more.

  • allie

    Yes. Of course. It shouldn’t even be a question.

  • Ann M

    My first thought is that Dayton should pay. That would make Obama proud since Obama believes the rich should be willing to pay more. But I also think that they can be grateful that they were forced out of the state.If I could, I would leave the cold, the high taxes, the humidity, and the mosquitoes.No place is perfect, but the people that I know in other states don’t wish to live in Minnesota.

    • GREGX

      grass always looks greener somewhere else. A good-old friend friend moved to Alabama to get away from union non-sense and too-much taxes. What he got in return sent him packing to Florida – where … lordy lordy … the folks was crazeee… so he moved to Texas .. where they pretty much operate on the my-way or the highway model of business leadership and his neighbors had a habit of minding his business anytime they felt like it and the schools idea of success was no one died.

      He’s back in Minnesota… where the taxes are now unliked but fine and the people make sense.

      Not everything is simple. But of course, like your example… its just an anecdote.

  • Jim G

    Yes, but broken promises are all the Native Americans have
    ever received from the US Government and its representatives. Our generation should try to make right the lies and dishonest dealings our government oversaw. Treaties stole the land which
    constitutes Minnesota from the Dakota people, but we Americans have always found ways to rewrite laws and treaties so that the richest in our society benefit and the poorest get little to nothing.

  • Tom

    Interesting question… but how about we not provoke political sh*t storms on this solemn anniversary? Poor form, MPR.

  • GregX

    depends on what is meant. if the intent is an immediate and full cash value compensation … with rigorous historical re-analysis .. it could never be done – essentially a fools errand. if the intent is to recognize the need to provide a footprint and path forward for the negatively affected ancestors .. that can be done – but only if both “sides” are willing to accept the unhappiness of the outcome.

  • georges

    Reparations, to anyone, from anyone, at any time, about anything……is one of the silliest ideas Liberaldom has ever come up with.
    White Guilt has to stop. Now. Hating others, for no good reason, is wrong. Hating your own for no good reason is not only wrong, it is also childishly absurd. And, will destroy this great country.

    • GregX

      hating the real facts of what actually happened is also wrong. hard to fix a wound if you won’t admit its there. That being said .. some wounds don’t get “fixed/removed” – you live with them and move on.

      As for reparations … never being valid … I’m pretty sure you don’t understand what that mean. If we are neighbors and you chainsaw-drop a tree on my house … there will be reparations from you to me… count on it.

      • georges

        Unfortunately, greg, you do not understand the meaning of the word “reparations”. If someone drops a tree on your house, that person owes you “damages”, not “reparations”.

        Reparations is a form of transitional justice meant to compensate persons whose human rights have been violated. The tree on your house is not a violation of your human rights. It is an accident, for which you deserve compensatory damages. Nothing more, nothing less. Please make an attempt to understand the question before you answer it.

  • CarlS

    I think it would be too convoluted to determine who is owed what, if anything, and would set a precedent for countless other situations. I think an official statement of wrongdoing, apology, or whatever would be more beneficial for all, particularly for moving forward.

    If reparations were made for every person, culture, or country who could claim some wrong done to their people in the past, everyone would owe everyone reparations.

    I’m Irish-American. The Irish in America were treated horribly during the late 19th, early 20th centuries. In some regions they were hated and discriminated against worse than anyone, even African-Americans. Does that mean I am owed something?

    I am not some arrogant white guy who wants to keep what I have regardless of the morality of what allowed me to get it. Where there is legal precedent within an established system (ie. the US Government) then all those claims if proven just should be honored. I applaud the Sioux Nation for continuing to not accept the cash settlement for their claim on the Black Hills. I wouldn’t even care if they got the land back and proceeded to jackhammer the faces off Mt. Rushmore. I was outraged when the state of Minnesota challenged an 1873 treaty allowing fishing rights to the Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa (the state lost in court; thanks for wasting my taxes and state time, Minnesota).

    But expansionary, more advantaged cultures have been pushing out other cultures since Homo sapiens pushed Neanderthals out of prehistoric Europe. It’s a lesser revered quality about our species, but it is something endemic that goes back for eons..

  • lindblomeagles

    There is no question at all that the Indians were not compensated the full value of the land we now call America; that the US government and its various state governments, even when legal treaties were agreed to with specified terms of renumeration in exchange for x, clearly cheated the Indians whenever they wanted. The problem lies again with Caucasian Americans. As a group that holds enormous voting power, they have been dead set against reparations even when they have acknowledged what the US has done to American Indians. They pretty much have argued the same things for generations: 1) the Irish are owed reparations for their mistreatment (even though clearly the Irish had no claim to anything here in the United States), 2) what about all the good Caucasian people who weren’t born then and now must unfairly lose everything to pay back the Indians (even though the good Indians who tried to deal honestly with Caucasians unfarily lost everything and never did get anything back for that); 3) how are we gonna pay for it when the nation already has a ton of debt (even though the nation has no problem at all paying back corporations when the country has serious debt). 4) Finally, the African Americans have been interested in reparations for centuries have been a) denied a wage for their labor, and b) were ran out of several northern and southern towns on bogus rape charges, losing their land and property illegally that still has not been acknowledged.

  • Sue de Nim

    It is not possible to right all the wrongs of history. Long before Europeans stole the Americas from the indigenous people, the Saxons stole most of Britain from the Celts, and the Turks stole Asia Minor from the Greco-Romans and Armenians (that’s right, the Turks were not originally from Turkey, but from central Asia), who had previously stolen it from the Hittites and Phoenecians. History teems with such episodes, along with examples of slavery, oppression, persecution, etc., going all the way back to the genocide of the Neanderthals by modern humans. That doesn’t make it okay, and it doesn’t excuse any group. The only way I can think of to deal with this sad fact of human existence is to repent and forgive one another, and to live with compassion and mercy. Everyone who has some privilege or advantage over others should acknowledge that some indenerminable porton of that status is due to injustices perpetrated by previous generations, and that reality should be a motivation to generosity

  • Jessica English

    Had we been taught to live in grace and truth, we would have reached out with help long ago. Instead, we’ve been indoctrinated with the belief that what happened was an unfortunate but necessary loss and there is nothing we can do to help those who continue to suffer. I feel that reparations of land and money are an appropriate way to begin living in grace and truth. Until we learn how to be grateful for what we have, recognizing how we got it, we will continue, as a nation, to rape and pillage our world as an unfortunate but necessary means to an end.

  • Bill

    Only if the Israeli’s have to give reparations to the Palestinians, or just give them back their land. Modern day mass execution paid for you your tax dollars in the form of Israeli aid.

  • georges

    America, and Americans, as well as Minnesota, and Minnesotans, do not owe the Tribes anything, not one penny, for anything.

    The Tribes did not “own” the land. They were, for the most part, nomadic primative wanderers, and even where they were more settled in one place, they did not establish any legal boundaries, or legal claim, to any particular specific real estate for their “Nation”.

    After the European Americans established such civilized methods of ownership, it is fallacious to then claim the Tribes really would have done so themselves if only they had known how. Fact is, they didn’t know how, therefore they have no claim.

    Nevertheless, there have been great compensations to the Tribes over the years, even prior to the ugly monopoly they have in the casino gambling area.

    I knew a family of Dakota very well in the late 60’s, staying at there homestead in Savage, MN several times, for a day or two to a couple weeks at a time. They were all teriffic people, a very decent family. Now, they lived on 160 acres of woods and farmland that they were given for free simply because they were Native American Dakota Sioux.. They farmed about half the 160, the rest was in woods, and the father worked in Bloomington. Eventually, they sold the place for quite a few millions of dollars. Pretty good compensation for land given to descendants of indigenous tribal people who never owned the land in the first place.

    And, remember this…….that 160 acres had great value because of one thing, and one thing only……the Capitalist Civilization brought to the area by the European Americans, and built up to a level that created enormous wealth. If the natives had continued to be the only residents of the area, the land would have remained of no value whatsoever.

    Therefore, the Native Americans, the Dakota, have profited greatly by the arrival of, and continuing leadership of, the European Americans.


    • South MPLS resident

      You bring up some interesting points, but overall speak from a place of arrogance and naiveté. Capitalism has done a huge amount more damage than good to indigenous peoples all around the world. To say that some financial reparations have been given in terms of casino and gambling monies is true, but to go as far as to state that Native Americans have benefited from European leadership, is to admit a lack of knowledge of our own history. From the introduction of alcohol, to the introduction of small pox, to boarding schools stripping native tribes of their culture, we have had a negative impact in many ways. Please consider carefully what you say, I am a European American, who owns my history, with Native Relatives. Your statements are simply not true.

      • georges

        My statements are absolutely true. You are welcome to try and prove them false, with real facts, not your “feelings”. Give it a try, if you have some time to waste.

        • Steve the Cynic

          No, georges, your statements are not “absolutely” true. In fact, they are mere opinions, and arrogant ones at that. The ownership of land– indeed, private property in general– is not inherent in the laws of nature. It is a human construct. The fact that the indigenous peoples of North America had not invented that concept did not give Europeans the right to claim ownership and drive them off. Also questionable is your apparent assumption that the value of a thing is to be measured by the amount of some currency an individual or corporate entity is willing to pay for it

          • georges

            My statements are so definatively true that your attempt to disprove them,

            “The ownership of land– indeed, private property in general– is not inherent in the laws of nature. It is a human construct.”

            merely adds another layer of verbiage with the same meaning as what I already said.

            Thanks…….but I really don’t need any assistance. No matter how many libs join the crowd, they are easily defeated by the genetically and rationally superior.

          • Steve the Cynic

            I dunno, georges. The only thing you seem to be defeating is your own cause, by your arrogant refusalt to admit that any opinion besides yours is valid. That you are a closed-minded ideologue, not open to any new ideas, is obvious to anyone reading your posts.

    • Kassie

      My ancestors valued the land in ways many white people will never understand. To say Europeans brought value to this land is simply not true and the exact opposite may be the case. Europeans brought monetary value to this land whereas my ancestors genuinely loved and cherished our Mother Earth.

    • Scott

      georges, sounds like a scam the way you describe it.

  • South MPLS

    I do believe that reparations should be awarded to the descendants of people who were effected by these shameful events in our history. I do not, however, believe that money can make things right. I think it may be a way of beginning to address the issue of privilege that is the result of past oppression, but we also need education that tells all people’s history, we need a chance to come together in community and learn each other’s stories and about issues that currently exist in our communities that we might be naive to otherwise. I believe that we have a long road to travel until we get to a place where we truly live in a just society, but issues like these need to be carefully considered, and it it seems that doing this might allow the long arc of justice to curve a bit more in the right direction, I am all for acknowledging and awarding the money.

  • Scott

    Well, if this is a well-intended symbolic gesture like the small amount granted our Japanese immigrants recently for their WWII incarceration, and it is desired, perhaps. But really, no amount of money we’re capable of bringing fourth would be just compensation for land taken, merely an insult.

    Others point out how this is the way of the world: the Byzantine bureaucrats amass the greatest fortune at the crossroads of the Bosporus, and the Crusaders steal their wealth, the Italians bring it back to Renaissance cities where we can visit the great art today… or Napoleon stole it from these same Italian towns and founded the Louvre. Should all this be somehow revisited by a phalanx of bean counters, lawyers and historians, to sort it out and redistribute the treasure? Each will have to figure that out for themselves. For my part probably not. But this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t bring a sensitivity to the disenfranchised rather than policies to exterminate.

  • truthinmedia


    To the descendants of the murderers of 800 decent Norwegians and Swedes, every one of whom was innocent in all ways persuant to the treaties involved? And each of whom was murdered by those filled with racial hatred as they went about their lives trying to scratch out a living on the hardscrabble dirt prairies growing some oats for their livestock and potatoes for their children?

    No. No reparations for the racist murderers. If reparations are due at all, they are due to the descendants of the murdered settlers, murdered merely because of their skin color, and it would be the Dakota that should pay for the racial hatred acted out by their ancestors.

    The Dakota had a beef with the GOVERNMENT, not the innocent settlers. But, instead of taking it up with the government, they decided to murder innocent people, just because they were white. And, not only did they kill the innocents, they did so in many vile and disgusting ways, far beyond anything that was ever done to them by European Americans, including the future Wounded Knee, which finally ended the Dakota War. I won’t go into it all here, but suffice it to say that they were consumed with hate for whites and the savagery was excessive. Cutting open the belly of live pregnant women, pulling out live unborn children and nailing them to trees. While alive. Almost unbelievable racial hate horror. European Americans have never done anything so vile to anyone.

    It is always the government that is at fault. But the Dakota did not deal with those who had lied to them, the government, but, rather, they took the cowardly path and went after defenseless men, women and Children, murdering them at will in a bloodbath of hate. Such behavior should never be rewarded. It should be condemned.
    Ramsey and Sibley did what was right. Whipple and Lincoln did what was wrong.
    150 years later, the rewriting of history is complete, the murderers are now considered the victims, and the innocents are now thought to be evil. Such is it taught in Minnesota schools, now. Shame on all the liars who spend their time fooling the people. Teach the new generations what really happened. The truth will set you free.

    • Steve the Cynic

      “European Americans have never done anything so vile to anyone.” You actually believe that? I’ve got news for you. Scalping was invented by whites as a way to terrorize the Indians and only practiced by Indians in retaliation. Slaves were whipped to death to terrorize other slaves and keep them subservient. And have you read about the horrors of the middle passage? Also, the distinction between the government and the people is not clearcut in a republic such as ours.

      • truthinmedia

        You have been duped. Fooled. Lied to. Fact is, scalping (while alive) was practiced by native tribes on each other long before Columbus made his first voyage. As well as other savage practices, some much worse. And, nothing is worse than what the Dakota did to those babies. Nothing more vile. If one is wise, one is not fooled by the history revisionists.

        Furthermore, if one is unable to distinguish between the government and the people, one should not expect others to take what he says seriously. Ignorance is bliss, but cannot be transmitted from the carriers to the superior minds.

        • Steve the Cynic

          That’s sheer denial. Scalping is documented among Eurasian peoples as early as the 5th Century BC. It’s true that the people who inhabited North America before Europeans arrived were not the noble savages that some would have us believe, but human nature is human nature. You can find vile acts of brutality, along with noble acts of humanity, in the history of every ethnic group. And according to the Preamble to the Constitution, We the People are the government.

          • truthinmedia

            Apparently you could benefit by taking a reading comprehension course.

            My original statement:

            “European Americans have never done anything so vile to anyone.”

            I specified European Americans. There were no European Americans in the 5th century B.C.

            Furthermore, the indigenous North American tribes did not stop being primatives who employed savagery against each other (and against the Europeans) just because the Europeans arrived on these shores.

            They did drop their gods and adopt our God.

            They did drop their weapons in favor of our superior weapons.

            They did drop their primative leather fashions for our vastly better cloths and beads.

            They did drop their wandering nomadic lifestyle for our fixed home family.

            They did drop their teepees, hogans and igloos for our obviously better housing alternatives.

            They did, in fact, drop everything about their primative life in order to replace them with our vastly superior way of living.

            Indeed, they couldn’t rid themselves of their old ways in favor of the new fast enough.

            But, it took a long time to adjust. Indeed, you cannot cheat evolution. You can shorten it up some, by faithful following of a superior society and adopting their ways, but you cannot cheat evolution. All the steps between primative and civilized must be gone through, to allow for necessary crainial and emotional development. If you skip steps, or try to rush the process, it will not come to its proper place with a complete set of abilities.

            The Dakota did unspeakable things to the Ojibwa, for instance, during their long many centuries of war with each other, for which the Ojibwa carry great hate for the Dakota.

            Most people today, however, have been fooled by the history revisionists (a polite way of saying liars). They believe the Tribes were just a bunch of nice people, all getting along with each other, full of peace and humanity, until the evil Europeans arrived and ruined it all for the natives. Fact is, they were primative tribes, murdering and practicing atrocites on each other. And, although it was a bumpy road, civilization was finally instilled in the tribes by the European Americans, for the benefit of all, putting an end to the constant wars among the tribes in which they murdered, raped and enslaved one another at will.

            The cowardice of killing the 800 innocent Norwegians and Swedes, etc., subsistence farmers in 1862, is not made into bravery, or justice, by any of the words in the U.S. Constitution.

            All 303 of them should have been justly dealt with, not a mere 38.

          • Steve the Cynic

            You’re playing word games–hateful, racist word games. Sure, “European Amercans” by and large have behaved less attrociously than their prehistoric tribal eurasian forebears, but that’s not evolution, it’s culture. If you go back enough generations, every group of humans is heir to some history of attrocity. Those Scandinavian immigrants were descended from Vikings, no? And even if one grants your assessment that what “they” did is worse than what “we” did, that doesn’t excuse or justify the attrocities that “we” are guilty of. And the fact that native tribes had been brutal to each other before whites arrived did not give whites the right to take their land from them.

          • truthinmedia

            Your willingness to ignore the racist behavior of the Dakota, which created the war of 1862, and to call me a racist because I have the objectivity to mention it, proves the intellectual dishonesty you have to go through in order to remain true to your feelings and hostile to the facts of the matter.

            The feelings-driven immature thinkers of the world are never happy to hear the facts, except on the rare occasions when the facts and their feelings cross paths.

            You don’t even understand something as simple as evolution. You deny that evolution exists. Therefore, nothing you say can be taken seriously.

            Neither do you understand that a group so primative as to not have a concept of land ownership cannot have the non-existent “land ownership” taken away from them.

            I am now done with this conversation, and will give you the last word. It is the least I can do for you. After all, I always get the BEST word, which is the important thing, so I will give you the last word, which has no importance whatsoever, but does suffice to keep the ego of the immature from exploding.

          • Steve the Cynic

            The last word, or the last laugh? It always amuses me when people think they understand my motives better than I do, even if though they know me only through a screen name. I trust it’s obvious to an objective reader that your self-flattery betrays your motives.