The Largest Mass Execution in US History

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On December 6, 1862, President Lincoln notified Brigadier-General Henry H. Sibley that he should “cause to be executed” thirty-nine¬† Dakota warriors.

The condemned, were participants in what has come to be know as the Sioux Uprising or the Dakota Conflict. The conflict erupted when the US Government failed to meet its obligations under treaties with Dakota tribes. The treaties guaranteed the tribes money and food in exchange for millions of acres of their territory.

The US Government did not pay the tribes directly. Treaty money was dispensed to “Indian Agents” who, in turn, were to hand out food to the tribes. The Indian Agents kept much of the treaty money and much of the food was sold to white settlers. The food that did eventually make its way to tribes was often spoiled.

The tribes were forced to go off reservation to acquire food.

During August and September of 1862 there were countless raids on warehouses, military posts and private homes.  The US Military rounded up hundreds of Dakota peoples and held them at Mankato, MN.
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