Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 05.16.2013

May 15, 2013

Today: Zach Pruitt, Healthy Community Initiative, Northfield Youth Bingo (Mayberry)

Birthdays: Russ Halverson 5/15

Next Week: Erin Mayberry Classification Talk (Puczko)

Last Week:

Tim Madigan, who we know best as Northfield City Administrator, took time off from city affairs to share his vast knowledge about the US/Dakota War of 1862. Tim, a native of Washington, PA, home to the Whisky Rebellion of 1862, has always enjoyed history.

As a former high school history teacher in Morton, MN, with its significant native Dakota population, Tim became interested in the detailed story of the Dakota War years ago. The perspective of history on the Dakota War has changed over time as the complexity of the issues and events is studied in more detail by more historians and descendents of both sides.

The actual war lasted only one month, during the middle of the Civil War, beginning on August 17, 1862, with the first killing of white settlers.  Well over 600 settlers and over 100 Dakota lost their lives in what was clearly a “total war” and not just a “conflict” since the targets were civilians as well as military on both sides.  Due to the war, thousands of settlers became refugees; many never returned to Minnesota.

The four major causes of the Dakota War were American expansion encroaching on native lands, broken treaties wherein promised payments to the Dakota were never made, starvation and mistreatment of the Dakota which was rampant, and negative effects of the “warrior lodge” mentality in Dakota male society, which led to violence.

The complexity of the war was compounded by competing interests of four major groups involved in the conflict.  The Dakota, who were often not unified in their views, the mixed blood French and English traders, the Yankee New Englanders and the newer immigrant German and Scandinavian settlers. Each had widely differing approaches to each other as lands were settled at a vey rapid pace.

The war culminated with the execution of 38 Dakota on Dec. 26, 1862 in Mankato and the complete forcible internment and ultimate removal of all native Dakota and other tribes from southern Minnesota by the following year.

Tim suggested that anyone interested in further study of the Dakota War read biographies of three of the major players, Chief Little Crow, Bishop Henry Whipple and Alexander Faribault.

Mini Classification: Neil Lutsky responded to a request he had received to present a “clarification” talk by doing just that.  Neil, a native of Allentown, PA, was drawn to Northfield by a job offer at Carleton College where he has been a professor in the Psychology Department for 39 yeas.  Neil appreciates the generosity, caring nature and dedication that prompts Rotarians to practice “Service Above Self.”

Paul Harris Award: Congratulations to Alan Alberg, our most recent recipient of the Paul Harris award.  A former member, Al joined our club in 1980 and fondly recalls when women were first allowed membership.  Al has always valued how Rotary brings community members together in friendship and service.

Last Week’s Guests: Laura Palmquist, St. Olaf student and applicant for a Rotary Peace Fellowship to study in Sweden, and our exchange students: Diatou, Adnan, Cindy and Rachel.

Scholarship Enhancement: Kurt Larson


Dale Ness is looking for both business and individual sponsors for the annual bike tour in September.

Youth at The Key are organizing a community fundraising all ages concert for July, and our Rotary club will partner with them to help with promotion, ticket sales, food and other tasks.   Look for more information soon.

On Thursday, June 6, from 6:00 pm o 8:00 pm please join club members and families for the exchange student graduation party at the Estenson Ranch.

Coming Up:

May 30 — Mike Downey, Training Consultant, Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance

June 6 — Lin Bruce, Tales of Biking Across the USA (Prowe)