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Clearing up history

I appreciate Don Marks' perspective on the Mount Rushmore monument. That said, his story of the 38 executed Dakota is misleading. The egg "incident" was the starting point for a Dakota uprising in 1862 against the U.S. government because of treaty violations. It was called the U.S.-Dakota War or the Minnesota Massacre, depending on which side you were on.

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Over several weeks, hundreds of settlers were killed. Federal troops were diverted from the Civil War to put down the uprising. More than 300 Dakota were tried, but Abraham Lincoln commuted the death sentences of those who had fought against the army. Thirty-eight Dakota implicated in the killing or rape of civilians were executed.

The end result was unfair, because many Dakota who had not participated or who had protected settlers were expelled from Minnesota along with the ones who had taken part. But for Marks to present the whole affair as a squabble over a cow or some eggs is a bit disingenuous.




Don Marks's Sept. 25 column The two faces of Mount Rushmore provides a good short overview of Dakota history. But his account of the events leading up to the 1862 mass hanging of the 38 Dakota, which resulted in our presence in what is now Canada, is incorrect.

Our oral history and much archeological evidence indicates that we were here long before what is now Canada and the United States. The border separated what was once the vast territory of Dakota people.

The history told in books and through Canada's eyes is one-sided and needs to be updated and based on the truth.


Sioux Valley Dakota Nation

Remarkable ignorance

Councillor Mike Pagtakhan demonstrates remarkable ignorance with his statement concerning the poor census response rate: "Statistics Canada has to step up their efforts" (Census picture far from perfect, Sept. 23)

If he was truly concerned with Statistics Canada staff being able to do their work (which they are the best in the world at), he would be asking the Harper government to reinstate the mandatory long-form census. The voluntary national household survey, the replacement to the mandatory long form census, is not an effective tool for them to do so.

This is the same government that recently tried to pass legislation that would give the police warrantless access to your Internet and telephone communications. You provide the government with far more detailed personal information when you fill our your taxes every year, anyway.

Their justification for cancelling the long-form census is pure hypocrisy.




The census results where low-income areas did not register to count reveal the true motive behind the government's cancellation of the mandatory long-form questionnaire, and it had nothing to do with privacy.

A few months before the next federal election, the Harper government will announce that during their tenure, Canadians' standard of living increased, with higher wages and more home ownership, based on the latest statistics. They will attempt to take credit for the increase, even though it will be deceptive, due to the flawed data of low-income areas not being included.



Policy is inevitable

It is understandable that Mary Agnes Welch would write in her Sept. 26 article, Steering clear of assisted suicide, that "most politicians are reluctant to reopen debate" and are "staying clear of assisted suicide."

Assisted suicide is a potential wedge issue for any party. But there is no doubt Canada will eventually have a national policy on assisted suicide.

Over the years, Canadians have faced many once-contentious issues. Among them are woman suffrage, conscription, the abolition of the death penalty, abortion and gay marriage. Hopefully, we are at the brink of decriminalizing the use of marijuana.



Those darn homophones

A homophone jumped out at me from your Sept. 20 story Corny, but it's getting a lot of respect, in which states, "The stocks stretch up to three metres tall."

The word "stock" jumped out at me because, in context of the article, I was expected to read something about grain corn being traded. I had to go back and reread the sentence. It was, however, an interesting article.



Ulterior motives perhaps

Re: Photo-radar tipster nabbed (Sept. 27). What? I thought he was promoting safer driving by encouraging people to slow down. It worked. I slowed down.



Questioning Pat Martin

Re: Give back the money, ethics expert tells MP (Sept. 26). How can a so-called defender of the little guy accept the hard-earned money of union members -- who, in most cases, make a fraction of what an MP does -- to pay off his debt? Is it fair that union members that do not support Martin, his comments, or his party are forced to pay his bills?

Finally, is Martin demonstrating accountability when he accepts money from unions but to date, by his own admission, has not put a dime of his own resources toward paying off his debt?

Perhaps, it is time for Martin -- if he's truly concerned about the little guy, fairness, and accountability -- to do as Duff Conacher advises and return all the money his fund has taken in.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 28, 2013 A16

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