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Distortions of Redskins

Tragically communities and its citizens have been thrust into the heart of Politics and all the  deceit that follows. It is not the desire of honest hardworking everyday American’s to be thrust  into the position of judge, jury, and executioner concerning the word Redskins, but that is the  task many are being ordered to perform and if you decide wrong “You are a Racist”. Those  driving this effort have little to no regard for truth as truth is their biggest obstacle. As these non Indians elitists proudly proclaim they are looking out for the best interest of the American  Indians, they reject the vast majority of American Indians as ignorant and too dumb to know  what’s good for them or fake Indians if they even acknowledge they exist. Distortion and lies are at the foundation of this movement. 

Recent conversations with American Indians from all areas of the U.S. have expressed concern  over the false claim of Bounties on Redskin Scalps and the reference material that is being circulated throughout their community. We will attempt to set the record straight on this issue with “the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” through Facts and not colorized theory or fiction. First: the term or definition of Redskin, Red Men, or Red People originates from voices of  American Indian leaders dating back before the birth of the United States itself. It was not then  nor now a derogatory word but the only distinction of skin tone between Europeans “White Skin” or Africans “Black Skin” words which are found throughout the translation of thousands of historical American Indian speeches and are officially documented. 


Redskins itself was defined as “North American Indian” for hundreds of years and nothing  more. Only in recent years has an asterisk been added that “Some consider Derogatory” but the  word itself actually originates with the American Indian who did not look upon their Race then or our race now as “Derogatory or Inferior” but as a proud people. 


Many American Indians are offended when referring to us as “Indigenous” people or  “Aboriginal” people but you do not see any asterisk accompanying those definitions. Why are non-Indians given the power to speak over the American Indian and determine what is proper and what is not? 

Second: the reference pointed to which has been circulated not just to your community but  around the nation is meant to divide and conquer. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue but a new “Progressive Party” tactic meant solely to create division and hate. Referring to the 1863 Republican Daily Unions publication, they steer clear of Saint Cloud Democrat newspaper where  at the same time it was calling for the extermination of all Dakota Sioux. Just as today, these are  Political Talking Points and nothing more. You will not find either Party publication declared any “Redskin Scalp” qualified for receiving a bounty payment as if that were the determining  facture. Both Parties used the newly conceived term “Never let a crisis go to waste” philosophy in political campaigning where truth is twisted to the breaking point. 

 So just what is the truth? We at NAGA do not condone or wish to justify but merely wish to  put context to these distorted and false claims.  


Beginning on August 17th 1862 war broke out between the Great Sioux Nation and the US  Government that war would last till December of 1890 at Wounded Knee. All political Parties  regardless of Party affiliation began publishing articles stating “Un-provoked” hostilities. It was a falsehood stoked by political aspirations and by members of both parties as well as media of  the time (just as today) exploiting it.  


The fact is from mid-August 1862 till the end of September 1862 between 500 and 1000 whites  were killed mainly by Dakota Sioux (some were military and other homesteaders). From 1863  till 1866 a bounty on hostile Dakota Sioux did exist in Minnesota, but due to public pressure, it had to be modified numerous times from its unholy and illegal inception. But again, it was a Bounty of Hostile Dakota Sioux and only within a certain limited region of Minnesota.  From the beginning only authorized individuals (militias) were allowed to participate or  receive bounties and only for Hostiles found within that boundary. Here again, we must clarify  for truthful accuracy that the original proclamation lasting just a couple of weeks only, it did  state scalps, but that came about as Minnesota was without a leader at the Governorship.  Through official records, it appears only around 20 bounty payments were made the latest in  1865. From the beginning it (although scalp is stated), the proof was needed of who the bounty  payment was for and it had to be proven it was from a hostile Dakota Sioux within that small  region. At the time there were Winnebago, Chippewa, and other tribal Indians living in  Minnesota (even friendly Dakota Sioux) living within that very boundaries that did not  participate in the hostilities and were never harmed.  


Just using common sense, one realizes any black-haired scalp could include non-Indians as  well. As many American Indians did not have jet black hair with some having light brown hair  and even blond hair, how would you distinguish who it belonged too? 

 For further proof, we offer the following. Where Chief Little Crow or Taoyateduta has been  falsely suggested as the organizer and leader of the hostile Dakota and responsible for the  uprising, he was killed July 3rd,1863 by a farmer and his son just outside of Hutchinson  Minnesota (within that boundary circle). It wasn’t till the end of March 1864 (almost a year later)  that a bounty payment was made and only after proof of who the corpse was and due to the  significant, the bounty was increased to $500.00. It took a Civil War to end the practice of local communities adopting such evil Acts or Policies entirely. You do not find “Bounty, Redskin, or even Scalp” listed anywhere on that check.

Adding to the confusion is the press and politicians all claimed it to be “Un-Provoked”  hostilities which were and are a bald-face-lie and they knew it at the time. There were culprits on both sides leading up to this but that is for a different story, which NAGA will address in the  future. 


If one looks, you will not find “Bounties on Redskin Scalps” in any official document except  for General Order 41 which lasted just 16 days and only states “The order provided for the  creation of a corps of scouts that would“ scour the Big Woods” for Sioux men. The corps was to  remain active for sixty days and be composed of a captain and forty to sixty men, who were to be  divided into squads of five or more men under the command of their leader.145 The scouts would be  responsible for equipping and subsisting themselves, but they were to be paid $1.50 per day and  an additional $25 for “each scalp of a male Sioux delivered to this office.”1. 


When looking at the press release from the Republican Daily Union you will see only Redskin  which was commonly used by American Indians as well as non-Indians when talking about Indians. But you do not find Scalps anywhere.














In 1897, this headline story from the “Los Angeles Herald, Volume 27, Number 24, 24  October 1897” after an exhaustive search produced this writing.

























Here again, as NAGA relies on fact not fiction, proof not theory we have researched the whole  issue and beyond. In what we have provided thus far, it appears only one actual Scalp Bounty was paid out and officially recorded. For an official State position the use of “Scalps” only lasted  for 16 days and was never issued through proper channels or officially authorized. The following  are the actual Proclamations or Orders dealing with the subject.

General Orders No. 41. July 4, 1863 

Governor Ramsey learned about the Dustin family murders on Friday, July 3, 1863.142 While  fewer than twenty civilians and military personnel were killed by Dakota raids in Minnesota  during the spring and summer of 1863, the events of the previous fall were no doubt still fresh in  the governor’s mind. Offering a monetary reward for the killing of Dakota men appears to have been Governor Ramsey’s idea. Ramsey’s daily journal establishes that he summoned Minnesota  Adjutant General, Oscar Malmros, and directed him to issue an order placing a bounty on Dakota men. His journal entry for July 3–4 states: “Had the Adj. Genl. [issue] The scouts would be responsible for equipping and subsisting themselves, but they were to be paid  $1.50 per day and an additional $25 for “each scalp of a male Sioux delivered to this office.” 


General Orders No. 44, July 20, 1863 

News of Our Own State, ROCHESTER REPUBLICAN, July 29, 1863 (noting that the scalp  bounty “had a bloodthirsty look—it merged too clearly on the barbarous—and when Gov. Swift discovered this to be the fact, he ‘modified’ the policy of the Adjutant-Gen. Malmros; (“The scalp bounty order was issued during the interim between Gov. Ramsey’s resignation and the arrival of Gov. Swift so that we were virtually without a Governor. [Now that the order has  been revoked, our] ANNUAL REPORT OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL, supra note11, at  195–96 (General Orders No. 44). This later provision—eliminating the requirement that  scalps be provided to the Minnesota Adjutant General—was mocked by many Minnesotans.  The St. Cloud Democrat noted that “the Adjutant General, in order to free himself of the clamor that some thin-skinned folks are making, leaves it optional with scouts whether they bring him  the scalp or the entire Indian. Rather a dry joke from headquarters!” New Features, ST. CLOUD DEMOCRAT, July 23, 1863. It was favorably received by those out of state, however. For example, Wisconsin 


Henry Swift, who had recently taken over the governorship due to Alexander Ramsey’s election  to the U.S. Senate, was apparently affected by public opinion. At his direction, on July 20, 1863,  Malmros issued General Orders No. 44, which amended the original bounty order. It limited application of the order to “hostile” Sioux warriors, rather than all Dakota men. Additionally, individuals seeking to claim the bounty were no longer required to provide a scalp. Instead, the  order now stated that “satisfactory proofs” must be made at the Minnesota Adjutant General’s  office to substantiate the killing. 

Barbarism: Adjutant General Malmros, has issued an order offering a bounty of twenty-five  dollars for the scalp of any male Sioux. We look upon this proposition as a relic of the dark ages,  barbarous, inhumane and unbecoming the enlightened age in which we live. . . . We have no objection to urge against killing the red devils who are guilty but let the fair name of our State never be disgraced by paying a bounty to murder innocent children, even if they are Indians. God has made them what they are, and we have no right to take their lives unless forfeited by  some act of their own. We hope the new Commander-in-Chief will at once revoke this disgraceful  and objectionable portion of Order No. 41.


We know from other sources that there was indeed more than one payment made, but it  appears from all the sources, there were few “Bounties or Rewards” actually paid out. It may never be fully accounted for. But regardless of the “Hype” by uninformed activists, it was far less than they claim, and regardless of the “Hype”, it was never a simple “Redskin Scalp  Bounty” and never a Federal Policy period and only lasted 16 days. Redskins did not then or ever refer to scalping!


But here we must state the facts, right or wrong there was a bounty of HOSTILE SIOUX  between 1863 and 1866. This bounty was in response to continued bloodshed of homesteaders through raids by those involved in the 1862 Uprising. The bounty area consisted of areas  between mainly New Ulm and Granite Falls Minnesota along the then St Peters River (today  Minnesota River) an 80-mile stretch.  


For complete accuracy, it must be stated; there was only one Federal Government to adopt  such a Policy. That Government was the Mexican Government that from 1835 till 1886 had a  Policy named the “Scalping Industry”, are they to be free from criticism? 

 We at the NAGA are not of the mind to punish all Mexicans for the sins of their fathers. But  we do wish that truth be told and not opinions based on false hate meant to divide rather than Unit or understand. For those seeking the truth for truth's sake, we have a few links we ask you to view to better understand history. 


The Due Process Clause declared that states may not deny any person "life, liberty or property, without due process of law." 

The 14th Amendment marked a significant shift in the way the Constitution was applied in  America. Prior to its enactment, the individual protections offered by the Bill of Rights were  enforceable only against the federal government. The 14th Amendment applied these rights to the states. In so doing, it initiated a flood of litigation to determine the amendments meaning and  scope litigation that continues to this day. 


Bounty System, in U.S. history, a program of cash bonuses paid to entice enlistees into the army;  the system was much abused, particularly during the Civil War, and was outlawed in the  Selective Service Act of 1917. During the French and Indian Wars, the Revolutionary War, the  War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the Spanish/American war 1898, military bounties included  land grants as well as cash payments; Civil War bounties were in cash only. From 1861 to 1865 the federal government, along with states and localities, paid about  $750,000.00 in recruitment bounties. Congress authorized a $100 bounty in July 1861 to men enlisting for three years. With the passage of the Enrollment Act (March 3, 1863), three-year  enlistees received $300 and five-year recruits got $400, but these sums were divided up and paid in monthly installments with the soldiers’ regular compensation. 


We know from other sources that there was indeed more than one payment made, but it appears from all the sources, there were few “Bounties or Rewards” actually paid out. It may  never be fully accounted for. But regardless of the “Hype” by uninformed activists, it was far  less than they claim, and regardless of the “Hype”, it was never a simple “Redskin Scalp  Bounty” and never a Federal Policy period.

Check Copy Auditor's Office State of Minnesota
Press Release Republican Daily Union
Los Angeles Herald, Volume 27, Number 24 October 24th 1897
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