"Mr Indian, dead": a case study of Chief Little Crow's "Lynching"

Smoothy, C. (2016) "Mr Indian, dead": a case study of Chief Little Crow's "Lynching". M.A. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.

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Lynching scholars have recorded seven lynchings of Indians in the state of Minnesota. However, by using the nineteenth-century definition of lynching, this case study will show that the lynching of Dakota Indians was sanctioned, endorsed and carried out by Minnesotans following the Dakota Uprising in 1862. After the Dakota Uprising, Minnesotans used the act of lynching – both in legal and extralegal terms – against the Dakota Indians.

The legal lynching of 38 Dakota Indians in Mankato, Minnesota, on 26 December 1862 was part of America’s broader policy of Indian removal and relocation. During this policy, there were more executions of Indians than at any other time in American history. This legal lynching was not deemed sufficient because some Dakota Indians including Little Crow escaped the noose and continued to roam Minnesota’s frontier. These roaming Indians were considered hostile by Minnesotans. Thus, on 4 July 1863, Minnesota introduced a state sponsored scalping bounty which allowed Minnesotans to legally lynch Indians. The previous day, however, on 3 July 1863, a white father and a son lynched one of two Indians who were picking raspberries at the time. The Indian they lynched was later found out to be Little Crow; although the two white men did not know this at the time, all that mattered was another Indian was dead. Like many other lynchings, the lynching of “Mr. Indian” was not the end. Instead, on 4 July 1863, “Mr Indian’s” corpse was scalped and then the body was taken to Hutchinson, where it was displayed and further mutilated as part of this frontier town’s Independence Day celebration.

This case study will show the strong correlation between the Dakota Uprisings and the lynching of Indians in Minnesota. Not only will this increase the number of Indians lynched in Minnesota but it furthers our understanding of white-Indian violence and lynching in a broader context.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: E History America
E History America > E151 United States
F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F001 United States local history
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Miss Rosemary Cox
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2017 09:14
Last Modified: 30 May 2018 23:27
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/16300

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00