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Historical Society Apologizes For Displaying Remains

March 17, 1988

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Under pressure from several Dakota Indians and Indian organizations, the Minnesota Historical Society has apologized for displaying the remains of Dakota Chief Little Crow.

The apology Wednesday did not mention Little Crow by name, but expressed ″deep regret for the pain and anguish that the society’s past actions have caused the Indian people.′

Little Crow was killed in the summer of 1863, a year after he led the Dakota, or Sioux, tribes in the great Dakota Confict of 1862. The conflict came close to depopulating the Minnesota frontier and ended with the hanging of 38 Dakota braves the day after Christmas in the largest mass execution in U.S. history.

Little Crow was shot and killed by a farmer near Hutchinson, Minn., while picking raspberries.

The historical society put Little Crow’s remains on display from 1879 to 1915 and kept the remains until 1971, when they were turned over to family members in Flandreau, S.D., for burial.

A preamble to the resolution approved Wednesday said, ″Judged by society’s standards today the exhibition of human remains and the treatment of them as museum artifacts is unthinkable.″

The resolution did not satisfy two of Little Crow’s relatives, who angrily confronted executive director Nina Archabal after the resolution was passed, and threatened to go to ″higher ups″ to get a more specific apology.

Lee Ann Tall Bear, a direct descendant of Little Crow, said she was ″really sorry that our family business had to be put on public display.″

″The disposition of an ancestor was something that was done privately ... I do want to ask one thing; that you let this go, that we stop being put on display and treated like performing monkeys.″

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