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? http://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper/HNS/Scalpin/oldfolks.html
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.
BOUNTIES AND THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT
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.