Added: July 4, 2015 – Last updated: July 4, 2015


Author: Emily Wardrop

Title: All the Women...Were Violated in this Way

Subtitle: Rhetoric, Rape, and Memory in the Dakota War

Thesis: Ph.D. Thesis, University of Oklahoma

Year: 2015


Language: English

Keywords: 19th Century | U.S. History | Types: Wartime Rape / Dakota War


Link: Shareok: Institutional Repository for the University of Oklahoma Libraries and Oklahoma State University Libraries (Restricted Access)


Abstract: »Over the course of the six weeks of fighting during the Dakota War of 1862, Dakota warriors held more than 200 white women and children captive. In the aftermath of the war, the rhetoric of reporters, policymakers, military leaders, and private citizens created a powerfully racist stereotype of the Dakota. In both the public narrative of the war and the growing debates over how to best handle Minnesota’s “Indian problem,” politicians and pundits used white women as a powerful and potent symbol to advance a particular agenda—the expulsion of all Indians from the state. Drawing on literature on war, race, gender, and memory, this dissertation seeks to provide an understanding of the processes by which women’s stories are embellished and appropriated during war for political purposes. Using the narratives of female former captives, I demonstrate the importance of reinserting women into war stories, not merely as symbols, but as important historical actors. Taken collectively, the narratives of the Dakota War provide insight into the way public memory is created, challenge stereotypes of nineteenth century women, and underscore the important, yet imperfect role memory plays in the creation of history.« (Source:

Wikipedia: Wartime sexual violence: Dakota War of 1862