Friday, September 2, 2016

Fort Abercrombie

We had a bit of a historical day today - visiting Fort Abercrombie.... "The Gateway To The Dakotas!"
 While we were there - this random cat attached itself to us.  He followed us everywhere.... including scaling up to the roof of a 2 story building to get to us in a lookout station.  Let's just say my girls LOVED him.... and there might have been about 30 minutes of sobbing when we left - maybe. :(

 There aren't a lot of buildings left standing from this fort.  This was the first fort in the Dakota territory.  It was the most northern stagecoach stop (for anyone trying to get to Canada), and at the intersection of 2 ox-cart trails (major trade route in the day), and it is on the Red River of the North.   Side note on the Red River of the North (there is also a Red River in the south) actually runs northward into Canada.  It's the longest North running river... it's headwaters are where we were when we had our picture with the giant Catfish.

 One of the original buildings that is still there is the jail....  Megan volunteered to try out some of the disciplinary tactics used on the soldiers back then.

For rudeness and insubordination - hold a sword out from your chest, straight out for HOURS..... she lasted a couple of seconds (ok, maybe 1).
 If you mistreated your horse (your life line out here), or took care of your own needs before caring for your horse... you were shackled to this hobby horse.  You would straddle him and your hands shackled underneath him, and your feet shackled together underneath him.   yeah.....  Evidently it didn't happen often.
 And if you were a lawbreaker.....
 Did I mention that our tour was on golf carts (with at least 2 million mosquitos).
 The lookout stations were built after a major siege occurred by the Dakota Sioux.  They were under siege for 6 weeks.  Amazingly only 4 people were killed.  The lookouts were built at an angle so that you could look out from 1 window and see 2 directions.  Later it became a training fort for men before the civil war.
 So.... I didn't know much about the Dakota War (1862), but learned a ton!  It actually is really frustrating to dig into American History and read about both perspectives of a situation and see the injustice.  So this Dakota uprising was caused because.....  The Government came in and wanted the Dakota land.  The Dakota tribe sold the land to the government agents and they in turn were to give them yearly annuity payments.  Well a drought hit and the Dakotas were not able to live self sufficiently - so they went to their land agent and asked for their money.  The Traders refused to extend them more credit and the land agents refused to give them their rightly due money. The Dakota were literally dying of starvation.  So they decided to drive the deceptive traders and settlers out of their land.
It's just a story of wrongs on top of wrongs on top of wrongs...  and it's provided some serious discussions with my little scholars.   Megan was mortified at some of the quotes from the political leaders at the time, about how derogatory they were towards the Dakota.   We will follow up a little bit with Ft. Abercrombie history when we go to the Little Bighorn and Custer's Last Stand.  One of the commanders here was sent there for that battle.

Then we left behind the heaviness of injustice and history and headed back to Fargo.  Once again - in case you really wonder what driving in ND is like....

 Nobody out there with me.....
And fields of sunflowers!!!!!

 Once we got back we decided to have a late lunch that was a little out of this world!!!!!

 The girls now love Space Aliens!

We had to finish off our night with some pool time!
Now we are packing up and after a final day in Fargo, we will begin our trek westward!!!!!!

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