Little Crow was 'born to be a leader' in the Dakota War of 1862

Little Crow
Little Crow, as photographed by John H. Gravenslund, circa 1862.
Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Dakota War in Minnesota. Over the next few months we'll learn more about what led to the conflict that ended in December, 1862 when 38 Dakota Indians were hanged in Mankato. It remains the largest mass execution in U.S. history.

Cathy Wurzer talked with historian Annette Atkins about the role of the famed Dakota Indian leader Little Crow. He grew up in "two worlds," speaking English and attending school. But Little Crow, or Taoyateduta, also led Indian attacks in war.

Click on the audio link above to hear the interview. Then listen to our previous interview with Atkins about the role Henry Hastings Sibley played in the Dakota War.


Minnesota Public Radio also produced "Minnesota's Uncivil War," in 2002. It offered an in-depth look at the conflict.

Part 1: The remnants of war
Part 2: "Let them eat grass"
Part 3: Broken promises lead to war
Part 4: Hundreds of settlers die in attacks
Part 5: Execution and expulsion
Part 6: The Dakota - still a divided people

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