A News Spin on Native American Heritage

Execution of 38 Dakota

When I met Ira Glass in Portland this fall, he admitted he got his stories from the headlines.

Glass said he pores over the New York Times—and other publications—in search of narratives.

What makes This American Life different is that producers and writers look for another angle on the standard stories.

I was delighted to discover this week’s offering, Little War on the Prairie, (number 479: Nov 23, 2012), devotes the entire show to relationships between settlers and Dakota tribespeople in Minnesota.

Reporter John Biewen says that 150 years ago the “largest mass execution in U.S. history” occurred when 38 Dakota were hanged.

The news report provides context and insight into the story and views the narrative through an American Indian lens.

At the time of my blog’s posting, you could download the story free at http://podcast.thisamericanlife.org/podcast/479.mp3

Photo from This American Life’s website, titled: Public execution of 38 Dakota Illustration by W. H. Childs, 12/26/1862. (Courtesy to Pioneer Press: Minnesota Historical Society)

[Blog 18 of Native American Heritage Month.]

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About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. She is enrolled with the Osage tribe.
This entry was posted in american indian, authenticity, ethics, framing, Indian, journalism, Lakota, native american, Native Science, news bias and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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