Why Minnesota Governors Ramsey and Sibley Should be Posthumously Tried for Crimes Against Humanity

Gary G. Kohls, MD

“Since 1970, Native Americans have gathered at noon on Cole’s Hill in Plymouth to commemorate a National Day of Mourning on the US Thanksgiving holiday. Many Native Americans do not celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims and other European settlers. To them, Thanksgiving Day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of their people, the theft of their lands, and the relentless assault on their culture. Participants in a National Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today. It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection as well as a protest of the racism and oppression which Native Americans continue to experience.” – Text of a plaque on Cole’s Hill, overlooking Plymouth Rock

“The Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the state.” – Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey

Gov. Ramsey’s Thanksgiving Proclamation - November 3, 1862

WHEREAS, it is meet and in accordance with good and cherished custom of our fathers worthy to be “a statute forever in all our dwellings,” that the people “when they have gathered the fruit of the land,” should “keep a feast unto the Lord,” in commemoration of His goodness, and by a public act of Christian worship, acknowledge their dependence as a community upon Him in whose hands the kingdoms of the earth are but as dust in the balance.
“Therefore I, Alexander Ramsey, Governor of the State of Minnesota, do hereby set apart the twenty-seventh day of the present month of November, as a Day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God for his wonderful mercy towards us--for all the good gifts of His providence--for health and restored domestic peace--and the measure of general prosperity which we enjoy.
“Especially let us recognize His mercy in that He has delivered our borders from the savage enemies who rose up against us, and cast them into the pit they had privily dug for us; that our friends have been rescued from the horrors of captivity, and that our homes and household treasures are now safe from the violence of Indian robbers and assassins.
“And let us praise Him for the continued preservation of the Government of our Fathers, from the assaults of traitors and rebels; for the sublime spirit of patriotism, and courage, and constancy with which He has filled the hearts of its defenders; for the victories won by the valor of our troops; for the glorious share of Minnesota in the struggles and triumphs of the Union cause; for the safety of her sons who have passed through the fire of battle unscathed, and the honorable fame of the gallant dead; for the alacrity and devotion with which our citizens have rushed from their unharvested fields to the standard of the nation; and, above all, for the assurance that their toils, and perils, and wounds, and self-devotion, are not in vain; for the tokens, now manifest, of His will, that, through the blood and sweat of suffering and sacrifice, the nation is to be saved from its great calamity, and the great crime of which it is at once the effect and punishment; and that behind the thunders, and lightnings, and clouds of the tempest, the awful form of Jehovah is visible, descending in fire upon the mount, to renew the broken tablets of the Constitution, and proclaim FREEDOM as the condition and the law of a restored and regenerated Union.
“Given under my hand and the Great Seal of the State, at the City of St. Paul, this third day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two”.

We sports-addicted, shop-until-you-drop, historically-illiterate, white couch potato Americans have been the beneficiaries of 500 years of genocide against Native Americans, happily perpetrated by historical figures such as Minnesota’s first two  governors (Henry Sibley and Alexander Ramsey) and others of their ilk. The original occupants of South, Central and North America (especially Canada and the US) were over-powered by wealth, numbers and superior military technology. The uncountable numbers of crimes against humanity were waged against the aboriginals who had been occupying the land for thousands of years. (Most of the actual killing was done by obedient, ruthless soldiers who had the powerful backing of political and economic elites.)

The genocide started in 1492 when the racist, gold-hungry, white supremacist Christopher Columbus and his sex-starved sailors disembarked from their stinking ships (thinking that they had landed in India) and started pillaging the land and raping the most nubile female inhabitants. Having survived the trip, Columbus and his men eventually demanded, under the threat of having their hands cut off, that the natives produce allotments of gold from precious metal-less mines.
And then, when Native Americans refused to become slaves and cotton was becoming the economic king, our racist, money-hungry Southern ancestors imported, at the point of a gun, millions of black Africans, millions of whom died in chains even before they reached the so-called “promised land” (which the pilgrims had called the “New Jerusalem”)

 In many cases the psychopathic killer-conquistadors, their sadistic soldiers and the right-wing religiously fanatic Pilgrims that followed Columbus, were initially welcomed, tolerated and even nurtured (a la the mythical First Thanksgiving) - rather than being killed off by the criminal invaders that they were. Trusting the intruders to return their hospitality - in the spirit of the Christian “Golden Rule” - turned out to have been a huge mistake, for the slaughter just escalated, often performed in the name of Christ, with the blessings of the embedded priests, whose mission was to convert the heathen to Christianity  - or else.

Most of our earliest European ancestors were greatly enriched by the US Army’s massacres, the occupations, the thefts of their land, the exploitation of the resources and the destruction of their way of life. We pink-skinned progeny of those predators were then carefully taught to believe the Big Lies. Thanks to our cunningly censored history books and the myths learned in our Sunday Schools over the ages, we have been led to believe the myth about the “nice” Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620 and who gratefully shared a feast with their new native neighbors (whom the Pilgrims soon brutally tried to annihilate). These illegal, undocumented, white racist immigrants from Europe were obviously not averse to homicidal violence. Sadly, they were soon followed by a variety of other right-wing religious fanatics that perpetuated the genocide that resulted in a 90% de-population of the Native Americans over the first few centuries.

The New Ken Burns Documentary Explains the Pilgrims

The disinformation process about the first Thanksgiving is being explored in the new Ken Burns documentary on the Pilgrims. It is being shown on PBS starting this Thanksgiving season. I hope all my readers will have a chance to watch it.
All the propaganda about the First Thanksgiving that I learned in school has probably been designed to make Americans believe that America is a gentle, non-aggressive, peace-loving nation that never hurt anybody. The myth about the gospel values of welcoming the stranger to our shores and being merciful to the oppressed has been laughed at by the vast majority of those who have wanted to emigrate here or are seeking refuge from terrorizing forces.
The myth of the merciful First Thanksgiving has attempted to absolve our ancestors (and of their guilt for the cruel bloodbaths that they either perpetrated or approved of when bloodthirsty white American soldiers repeatedly massacred the militarily weaker native population, (a pattern that American power-elites have perpetrated against weaker nations in every hemisphere of the world throughout our blood-stained history).  

The following censored-out quotes from a few of our so-called “heroes” need to be told in the context of the true history of the American genocide of the First Nations people. Those “heroes” include Alexander Ramsey, Minnesota’s second governor.
“The Sioux (aka Dakota) Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the state.” – Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey in a statement made on Sept. 9, 1862. Ramsey had made a fortune in real estate because of his dealings selling property to white settlers and businessmen after he himself had negotiated US-Dakota treaties that cheated the tribes out of their land. (http://sites.mnhs.org/historic-sites/alexander-ramsey-house/history)
“I shall probably approve them (the executions of the 303 Dakota warriors) and hang the villains” -- Colonel (and ex-Governor) Henry H. Sibley, whose troops had defeated Chief Little Crow in the Battle of Wood Lake on August 23, 1862. Sibley had appointed the five member military tribunal that tried, convicted and sentenced, via death by hanging, 303 Dakota warriors that had been captured in the battle that ended the 6 week US-Dakota War of 1862. Sibley was commenting on the fate of the convicted warriors, all but 38 of whom had their death sentences commuted by President Lincoln. Many warriors were imprisoned at Camp McClellan, near Davenport, Iowa and more than 1,600 non-combatants were imprisoned at a concentration camp at Fort Snelling over the winter of 1862 – 63. Those that survived the cold, the starvation diets and the diseases were then deported to concentration camps in Nebraska and South Dakota (Pine Ridge). (http://www.minnpost.com/minnesota-history/2012/09/150-years-ago-us-dakota-war-ends-battle-wood-lake)

“Destroy everything belonging to them and force them out to the plains, unless, as I suggest, you can capture them.  They are to be treated as maniacs or wild beasts, and by no means as people with whom treaties or compromises can be made.” – Civil war Major General John Pope, in a letter to Colonel Sibley - dated September 28, 1862.
“As Europeans settled the East coast, they displaced eastern tribes who then migrated to get away from the White civilization, and they, in their turn, displaced weaker local tribes they encountered, and pushed many of those tribes farther from their homelands, as they took over their homelands.
“Westward moving Europeans would give the displaced eastern tribes … guns and gun powder and they would then instigate fights between the newly arrived tribes and the long established tribes in order to force the long established tribes from their homelands; and in doing so, extinguish the long established tribes’ ancestral ties that they had with the land, their ancestors and the spirit world. Evidence of this practice has shown itself time and time again throughout the Americas.
“Around 1750, a displaced East coast band of Ojibwe were pushed into the Dakota’s homeland and they then used French guns and gun powder to force the Dakota from their Mille Lacs Lake homeland.

“This was the strategy the European colonists used to greatly diminish the number of Dakota in their Mille Lacs homeland, which encouraged and made it possible for a French weapons armed, alcohol manipulated band of Ojibwe to violently force the Dakota from their Mille Lacs homeland.”
“Grieved by the loss of their lands, dissatisfied with reservation (aka, concentration camp) life, and ultimately brought to a condition of near starvation, the Dakota people appealed to US Indian agencies (involving ex-Minnesota governors Sibley and Ramsey) without success. The murder of five whites by four young Dakota Indians ignited a bloody uprising in which more than 300 whites and an unknown number of Indians were killed. In the aftermath, 38 Dakota captives were hanged in Mankato (the day after Christmas Day 1862) for ‘voluntary participation in murders and massacres,’ and the Dakota remaining in Minnesota were removed to reservations in Nebraska. Meanwhile, the Ojibwa were relegated to reservations on remnants of their former lands.

“What happened to the Dakota in 1862 and afterward was a grievous crime against humanity. If it had occurred in this present day and age the United Nations and the international community would condemn it and declare it to be ethnocide and genocide. A United Nations world court indictment would be issued and the perpetrators of this ethnocide and genocide would be rounded up, tried, convicted and punished for crimes against humanity.” -- Thomas Dahlheimer from his long essay, entitled, A History Of The Dakota People In The Mille Lacs Area (http://www.towahkon.org/Dakotahistory.html)