Many incorrect statements in documentary

To the editor:

In reply to Jason Mack’s letter regarding the TPT video: “The Past is Alive Within Us:”

Mr. Mack thinks that the Dakota speakers know Dakota history. This is not correct. There are many incorrect statements in this video.

Some of my Dakota ancestors were taken to the Fort Snelling Internment Camp. They were not forced-marched. They chose to go. If they had remained out on the prairie, many more would have died. Some call this a concentration camp to evoke images of a Nazi concentration camp. Official records state that 130 died in this camp. Disease killed many people inside this camp and many whites outside this camp. Prove that exposure and malnutrition killed anyone in this camp.

This video is unbalanced to the Dakota side. Traditional Dakota warfare was genocidal in nature. It was all out warfare against men, women and children. During the war, hostile Dakota killed some 50 men, women and children in Milford Township. Whites and mixed-bloods were taken captives and forced-marched to Dakota camps. Many whites died after the war from injuries received. Many whites suffered for years from the trauma. These subjects are not discussed.

How can focusing on one side help people understand each other? How can there be reconciliation and healing? For thousands of people, including school children, this will be their first introduction to the Dakota War of 1862. The settler story is not common knowledge as Mr. Mack thinks. Ignoring the white victims of the Dakota War dishonors them and denies New Ulm and Brown County history.

John LaBatte

New Ulm

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