150th Anniversary of Largest Mass Execution

150th Anniversary of Largest Mass Execution

Contact: Kaylee Kulich
Email: kaylee.kulich@mnsu.edu
Twitter: @KayleeAnn32
Blog: kayleesthoughts

38 Executed After US-Dakota War

MANKATO, Minn.– As the 150th anniversary of the largest mass execution in United States history comes to light this week, This American Life released a podcast entitled, “Little War on the Prairie” to give background to the seldom told history of Mankato, Minn.

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With the U.S. fighting a war against each other in the south, the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln authorized an execution up north of 38 Dakota Indians, on December 26, 1862.

Along with Ira Glass, public radio reporter and a native to Mankato, John Biewen, narrates the hour-long segment of “Little War on the Prairie” with Gwen Westerman, an English Professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato and a Dakota woman.

Biewen and Westerman admit for the first twenty years of their lives, neither had heard of the 1862 US-Dakota War, likewise for many Mankato civilians.

“We’ll help you for your debt, if you sell your land,” Westerman said in reference to the downfall of Indian land.

In 1850 the ration of the Dakota population to the settlers was 5-1, by 1860 it had been reversed 1-5.

A part of history that seems to be forgotten started 150 miles north of Mankato, Minn., Acton Township. “Little War on the Prairie” tells varying versions of how it starts, but each story always ends the same. Four Dakota’s kill five white settlers, to ignite the 1862 US-Dakota War on August 16, 1862.

The war, which was instantaneous and spread quickly, lasting six weeks until the Dakota Peace Party surrendered on September 26, 1862. The war may have ended, but the trials and hangings had just begun.

The largest mass execution, of 38 Dakota’s took place at 10 a.m. in Mankato with 4,000 observers.

In the wake of the 150th anniversary, “Little War on the Prairie”  takes listeners to Acton Township, Nicollet County Historical Museum and other historical sites en route of the US-Dakota war. It features Biewen, Westerman and other historians to tell the story, seldom people have heard.

This American Life

This American Life is a weekly public radio show broadcast on more than 500 stations to about 1.8 million listeners. It is produced by Chicago Public Media, distributed by Public Radio International, and has won all of the major broadcasting awards.

Staying Afloat While Learning to Live Tweet

As the polls were starting to close, I took to my Twitter account with wine in hand to try live-tweeting for the first time. In all reality I was nervous, mainly because I didn’t know what to expect. I logged on and already saw streams of tweets filing in about electoral votes, who was leading and which polls were closing. I immediately felt overwhelmed and will admit I almost logged right back off, I’m glad ImageI didn’t.

Once I dove into the mass of tweets, it was entertaining and fun. After I was able to get the hang of how live-tweeting worked, I wanted to make the content of my tweets captivating. I imagine this is how a lot of Twitter users feel once someone retweets them, a bit of an excitement rush. The advantage to live-tweeting is that as a reader I found out information instantaneously and produced my own content within minutes of each tweet. I read a tweet that said watching the election was like watching a sporting event, I completely agree and I feel like if I wasn’t live-tweeting it wouldn’t have felt that way.

A disadvantage is that multiple news outlets reported different numbers at different times. Therefore, one tweet would say “88-36 Romney Lead” and a tweet right after would say “85-36 Romney Lead.” At times it definitely was hard to keep up and by the end I was taking tweets for a grain salt, which means I didn’t find them to be completely credible.

Overall I found the experience to be fascinating, to me live-tweeting wasn’t about outweighing the plus’s and minus’s. It was just about trying to stay afloat in a digital ambiance, and in the midst I learned to swim.   

A Journey of Breathtaking Places

The Journey

In my life there has been many people and quotes from others to remind me that life isn’t just about getting to your destination. It’s about what happens along the way, the places you see and the people you meet. If I were to stay in Wisconsin my whole life, I would have missed how small I felt staring up at Mt. Rushmore. I never would have witnessed all that it takes to create the Walt Disney World magic, and to make dreams come true. The chills of the Colorado air at the peak of Red Rocks would have passed me by, and the exquisite city of Las Vegas would have remained just an image from a movie. Las Vegas in a lot of ways was portrayed just like the movies, but there is so much more to it when you step off the plane. The movies will tell you that It’s hard to know the time in a city with bright lights, but you don’t realize exactly how bright those lights are until they shine through your hotel room at 4 a.m. The movies never show the homeless person outside the Bellagio begging for money, all the while inside The Bank, a Bellagio club, dollar bills are dropping from the ceiling. The world is full of glamorous sights and places, but I knew if I didn’t witness them personally, then I would allow the media to control my perception. I didn’t want someone else to skew my mind of the actuality of these cities, landmarks and theme parks.

The Bucket List

It is very common these days to have a Bucket List and to spend part of your journey crossing achievements, adventures and dreams off that list. However, I was never an avid follower of creating my own bucket list, mainly because it seemed cliché and who needs a list to entice you to do something? Well after my trip to Las Vegas, where I saw the beauty and glam but more importantly the slums and the homeless I decided I had found something worth creating a bucket list for. Although, unlike others whose lists seem endless, my list only contains one adventure on it. I want to step at least one foot on all fifty states in the United States. I want to actually hear the hustle and bustle of New York City and listen to the Country twang of Nashville. I want to dance in the rain in Seattle and stand on the edge of the Rocky Mountains. Someone once told me, “Life isn’t about the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away.” I want to find the places that take my breath away.


Community Shocked by Years of Contamination Findings


Toxic chemicals in the Wake Forest, North Carolina water, dating back to 2005, has shocked the community, who were largely unaware of the contamination.

The community is in an uproar after discovering that trichlorethylene, or TCE, had been on the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources radar since 2005, and the residents of the community did not recall a single phone call of warning.

Ten years ago TCE was used to clean circuit boards in a shed on Stony Hill Road, Wake Forest and had exited the building through a pipe that poured straight onto the ground. It was three years later, that the chemical showed up in a well at the house next door.

According to a recent online article, “N.C. Neighbors Aghast to Learn Drinking Water Contaminated for Years,” Charlotte Jesneck’s division at the DENR took the case and when it looked like the contamination was confined to the well, they moved on.

“There were higher risk sites on the radar at the time,” Jesneck told reporters, “We have finite number of resources.”

The community was first notified of the contamination this past June when the citizens received a letter from the DENR asking if they would like to have their wells sampled.

After sampling 100 wells, there were traces of TCE in 21 of them, spreading over 500 acres.

The article responds to Jesneck’s comments of having finite number of resources, by disclosing NBC-17 doesn’t charge a fee to call residents and alert them of potential contamination in the area.

The Environmental Protection Agency has since stepped into the community to set up emergency command posts and placed safe water on the Wake Forrest residents door steps regularly and installed water filters.

The EPA held meetings to explain what the residents had been drinking and that TCE has been linked to leukemia, lung and breast cancer.

Anchor Link Exercise

The Declaration of Independence can be broken down into three parts; Preamble , Grievances and Pledge

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

“Environmental Hero” Set To Headline Women and Spirituality Conference

MANKATO, Minn.–Vandana Shiva, recipient of the Alternative Nobel Prize and Earth Day International Award, will be the keynote speaker opening day at the Woman and Spirituality Conference, Oct 31.

Described by Time magazine as an “environmental hero,” Shiva founded Navdanya, a national Indian based movement to protect resources and promote organic farming. The physicist, author and international sustainability leader started an international college for sustainable living in Doon Valley, India.

Her books include:

  • “The Violence of Green Revolution: Third World Agriculture, Ecology, and Politics”
  • “Monocultures of the Mind: Perspectives on Biodiversity and Biotechnology”
  • “Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply”

Woman and Spirituality Conference

A conference that brings 1,000 people to campus every year, the Woman and Spirituality Conference includes 100 workshops that explore a variety of topics “through discovery, interaction, ritual and celebration,” a university-issued statement said.

This years conference will kick off with Shiva’s keynote address at 11 a.m. in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom. Registration is required. For a full list of workshops, session times and a registration form, visit sbs.mnsu.edu/woman.

Written by: Kaylee Kulich

Don’t Vote

Throughout the school years we are taught lessons, tricks, guides and random facts that somehow stay lobbed into our brains for years to come. One that shines brightly with the November Presidential Election only weeks away, was taught to me by my high school Civics teacher. He repeatedly read a poster that hung in his classroom, “It is your civic duty to vote.” It was in that class that we were responsible for learning what civic duty meant and why it was our duty to vote. As the years have passed, and the saying civic duty has switched to civic right, it is still imprinted on my mind the importance of voting. One may ask, like my roommate, Why should I vote? Instead of rambling on about having a voice on topics such as health care, our economy and gay marriage I directed her to a YouTube video channel that I had stumbled on entitled “5friendsvote.” Although it was created for the 2008 election, I think the message has remained relative this time around. With over 6.5 million views of the five videos it uses sarcasm, perception and facts to persuade its audience into why they should vote. I have found that when people are told not to do something, the appeal of doing that exact thing heightens. When my mom told me I couldn’t go out with a guy two years older than me in high school, I did it despite her. These videos use the likeness of celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Jennifer Aniston to reach out to those viewers who may be on the edge of voting and not voting, and try to reach them through a video platform. “Don’t vote, whatever you do, don’t vote,” said Ashton Kutcher. As a viewer if you are told not to vote, the desire to vote increases, and as the video continues so does the propaganda, “Don’t vote, unless you care about health care,” said Halle Berry. When the video concludes, the audience is left with the URL leading to a voting registration website and are reminded that the deadline to register is fast approaching. The question remains, in a time-frame of four to five minutes does “5friendsvote” answer the infamous question, “Why should I vote?”  There isn’t a definite answer, but as my roommate said after watching the videos, “It makes a better point than saying it’s my civic right.” Her response made me think that maybe my Civics teacher had gone about it wrong. Instead of hanging a poster that read “It is your civic duty to vote” he should have hung a poster that simply stated, “Don’t Vote” and let the students mentally figure out all the reasons why they should.

Get Wired About Wires

“My cable guy said, ‘There’s your problem. A squirrel is chewing on your Internet.” said Wired writer Andrew Blum at the TED Talk Lecture. As the audience laughed, knowing that the squirrel chewed a cord providing Internet, and not actually the Internet itself, it got Blum thinking as did I, what is the physical aspect of the Internet?
In a technological era the Internet is indeed everywhere. It is used widely around the world and on a variety of mediums such as computers, phones, iPads etc. that a person can physically touch. The point is, the Internet is rarely seen as physical and noted to many as something in the clouds. In all reality, Blum points out there is “tubes,” 5,000-mile-long cables on the ocean floors connecting networks to dozens of buildings, and in hindsight connecting us world-wide in the flash of a second.
After watching Blum speak about his research experiences on “What is the Internet, Anyway?” and listening to his interview with Terry Gross of Fresh Air on NPR, entitled “The Internet: A Series of Tubes,” I started to let my mind wander about the physical aspect of the Internet. It amazes me that while growing up virtually on the Internet, I never thought about what it looked like. In fact, I never even knew there were wires on the ocean floor.
The Internet itself is made up of many parts and pieces; routers, fiber optic cables, modems, coming in and out of buildings in port cities such as New York and Singapore to virtually and physically connect us all. What surprised me was that the Internet is so of age, using “tubes” filled with wires that send signals from one side of the ocean to the other in speeds my mind can’t even comprehend, yet it is so traditional at the same time. Those “tubes” were placed on the floor by the same system in which the telegraph functioned. As Blum pointed out, at the scene there is always the English engineer giving out instructions to locals and immigrants, who handle the hard labor. From there, a ship lays out the wire and a diver cuts each of the buoys holding the rope and watches as the “tubes” sink into their location on the bottom of the ocean floor. The physical Internet might be too hard to comprehend, but the nature in which it is laid out has been used for numerous decades.
“Wired people should know something about wires,” quoted Blum. While learning a few things about wires from Blum I started to compare and contrast his video lecture verses the audio interview. As legacy news has turned viral with the ability to package a story, audio and video all together for the users convenience, I noticed Blum’s lecture was a lot more influential. Both the platforms provided the story, but the lecture was able to provide a face to that story, along with emotion. Since Blum was lecturing instead of doing a Q&A style, the video lecture was half the time then the audio version. From personal experience, if a story lasts more than 10 minutes I will either not even start the video or will find a distraction before it’s over. Therefore, the audio, which lasted 25 minutes was hard to get through, especially with nothing to physically watch. All around I found the most effective presentation of Blum’s teachings was the video lecture. The audio version had the time to explain the physical Internet in more detail, which can be an advantage to a user, but I didn’t have the mental focus to be wired in for that long.

The State of Journalism

According to Online Journalism by James Foust, in the past decade classified ad revenue from print newspapers has decreased 70 percent. If you think times aren’t changing in the world of journalism, think again. After watching Journalism: A 1940 Vocational Film and comparing it to a more recent film, Page One, it is fascinating to see how the Internet has evolved, as well as online news. Receiving the morning paper at your doorstep is becoming a pastime in American culture. Today, it is more common to find readers, coffee in hand, scrolling down their laptops while scanning various headlines from online media sites. In journalisms current state the way news will survive is through one key word, convergence.
Convergence is defined as the merging of web media, such as an online article that also includes video clips as part of its content. Convergence also means the merger of two media outlets, such as a TV station and newspaper to create one website for the community. Mergers are becoming more popular because it saves on overhead costs as well as being efficient to the readers by delivering the story along with the broadcast in a packaged bundle.
There will always be a need to know, that is the culture of our country. Therefore, news will remain as an important part of our nations well being, the sources and how it is presented are what will change. Along with the advantages of online journalism such as reaching more readers across a variety of times and places and the ability to give the reader the control to choose what information they want to view, online journalism also has one big downside.
With the different presentation of news, such as blogs and social media sites, the person writing may not have a journalism or communications degree. The main concern is that readers will be receiving news from a source that might not fact-check or attribute to multi-sources.
As we veer away from traditional, legacy news it is important to keep in mind that online media can be very beneficial to a reader, but the journalist community still needs to create a way to keep the news in their passenger seat. Readers will always look to newspaper outlets for accurate and up-to-date news, that outlet just needs to figure out the best way to provide for their audience along with the organization. Change is a good thing once we can figure out how to utilize it.