Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pardon for Dakota Indian?

Although the Obama Justice Department has already deep-sixed the idea of posthumous pardons (in response to calls for the pardon of long-dead boxing champion / bad boy Jack Johnson), the New York Times reports there is some interest in pursuing a pardon for one We-Chank-Wash-ta-don-pee (aka Chaska), who was hanged along with 37 other Dakota Indians on December 26, 1862.

According to the story, Abraham Lincoln commuted Chaska's sentence just one day before the hanging, but he was executed anyway, along with the “most ferocious” followers of the Dakota leader Little Crow, who were accused of killing almost 500 settlers along the Minnesota frontier.

Gary C. Anderson, a University of Oklahoma history professor says the soldiers who carried out the execution "just grabbed the wrong guy.” Gwen Westerman, a professor of English at Minnesota State University at Mankato adds that "it’s time to talk about it and time for people to know about it.” The effort is reported to be supported by Representative James L. Oberstar (D-Minn) and Senator Al Franken (D-Minn). See complete story here.

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