A daily interactive online talk show with Patrick Lalley, managing editor of Argus Leader Media in Sioux Falls. Live every weekday at 3 p.m. and anytime in replay at argusleader.com
The legacy of Hiawatha - Steve Young’s stories about the Hiawatha Asylum for Insane Indians that ran over the weekend isn’t the first time the Argus Leader has explored this topic.
It shouldn’t be the last.
Young’s stories, which you can read here, are a reminder of the horrific treatment of Native Americans by our country, particularly of the mentally ill. The institution, which was near Canton, is a disturbing confluence of 19th Century attitudes toward Native Americans and our deeply troubling perspectives on mental illness.
Steve will join me on 100 Eyes today to talk about his stories. Please tune in live to ask questions or leave a comment.
The package of stories, photos and video is a reminder of the value of preserving our history. Not just the flag-waving victories in battle, but the dark times. The days when our self-interest overwhelmed a sense of humanity. The treatment of these people is nothing short of gut wrenching.
The effort under way to create a lasting memorial at the site, to protect the cemetery which is unfortunately placed between holes on the community golf course, is commendable. It needs to happen.
The encouraging part of this story is that all the parties, the town of Canton, the tribes and the golf course managers are working together to do just that.
The lasting question for us as South Dakotans is how we deal with our own history. Do we run from this and pretend it didn’t happen, or do we embrace the collective actions of our ancestors as part of our own reality, to keep our history as a living part of who we are, the good and the shameful?