The real plans for saving Fort Snelling from attack

By Daniel Shagobince

Here are some real plans that people are talking about for what to do about Fort Snelling and keep it from being attacked. You are going to want to read this because it is very topical,  including all the parts some of you campers will not like at all.

The guy who runs this website, that “White” guy, is telling me to stop talking trash about those rich people on the Minnesota River just south of Bloomington because other people are giving him carp about it and talking about sovereignty, which is really scary. OK, I get the message. I’m a changed person of infindecimal characteristics and I will try harder because that is completely, exactly how vaguely defined I am.

So, about Fort Snelling. That lady Nina Archabal (AKA Oprah), is retiring this year. When she said she was going to go she told a reporter that Fort Snelling will be a big honking job for the next Pope of the historical society because Fort Snelling was falling apart just like Humpty Dumpty. Earth to Oprah! Remember that part about “All the king’s horses and all the King’s may not be being able to put Humpty back together again”?  Even I knew that. (By the way did you see that I didn’t call it the “hysterical society” because you jokers need to know that calling it that is just lame and stupid especially when you are writing something that is pretty long and have to keep saying it because the editor says you have to be consistent?)

Fort Snelling: It’s the new white treat. It’s what’s for dinner!

According to what I hear from people who may or may not know, who are the best kind of people to tell you the real truth, those people at the historical society are planning all kinds of things to figure out how to handle Fort Snelling because it is a handful and because of what is going to happen between now and 2012 when all heck breaks loose. That lady Nina Archabal had her picture taken in front of Fort Snelling because as far as she was concerned: “Fort Snelling, it’s the new white treat. It’s what’s for dinner!” And she was going to be getting in there and taking a stand. She was going to be saying: “If those darn Dakotas think they’re going to tear down Fort Snelling I will crush them with my fancy shoes!”

But now that that lady is retiring, those people are going to have to figure out what to do about that fort and about those darn Dakotas. Some people there are going to try and carry on what that Nina lady was planning, which is why that guy the other day said that the historical society was going to start planning for Dakota internment there. He really said that! Can you believe it? The ad slogan was going to be: “It was great in 1862, why not now?”

But from what I hear there are people in that historical society who are a lot nicer (Mnisota waßtecake?) and they want to try some other things first before rounding up Dakotas into internment camps. They figure that pretty soon there will be people crawling over the walls and hanging signs saying “Tear Down this darn place!” (Right, they’re really going to say “darn.”)  Some of these people at the historical society used to work in art museums and they have good contacts with that artist/ bagman Christo, not the guy with the Greek restaurants, but the guy who hangs stuff up, wraps things, and puts covers over rivers. And it just happens to be the real truth that that Nina lady is a good pal of Christo, from way back when she did what she really liked, which was to run an art museum, instead of that boring carp, history.

Pretty soon there are going to be banners all over that fort with slogans on them.

So what they were going to do is get Christo to wrap up Fort Snelling with sheets and sheets of sheets. Put it under a layer of something with some good tight ropes so it is protected for a few years, until at least 2013, after the 150th anniversary of the stuff that happened in 1862 and 1863 when the 38 (+2 later) Dakotas were hanged with ropes and the rest of them were wrapped up and shipped out of state, by the federal express of that time. I just happen to have some pictures here that these guys gave me showing how they were going to be wrapping up Fort Snelling. You’ve got to give it to them. It is a great concept.

Fort Snelling, all wrapped up by Christo

Fort Snelling, all wrapped up by Christo

But the big obstacle for that is that there is this guy who is married to that other woman, who just happens to be running for governor, the wife, that is. And this guy is working for the historical society and he is saying: “Those types in the legislature won’t like this, paying all that dope for grak.” (Because generally those types hate paying dope for grak or even crump, or so I am being told.) So he is putting a stop to that. And of course there are other people who think that wrapping up that fort is kind of weak, so they say that if you can’t beat them up, join them. And they are all for getting that other guy Jim Denomie (a really great guy and I really mean that, although I’ve never met him, it’s just something I hear from that “White” guy, who keeps going “Jim Denomie is such a great artist and a real mensch” or something like that and no one else ever says anything bad about him) that fort painter who’s been working on plans of his own for the fort, including turning it into a hamburger place. They’re going to call it Burger Bdote. I swear this is true, even though he is Anishinabe and that could be a problem for those darn Dakotas.

Burger Bdote, as suggested by Jim Denomie

The new Burger Bdote at Fort Snelling, as inspired by artist Jim Denomie

But a lot of times a lot of guys at the historical society are always asking: “But what’s the bottom line?” Then they start talking about fund raising. And those guys have other plans. They are thinking they will show those other darn Dakotas a thing or two by turning over Fort Snelling to those folks with the money machine down the river to put their new money machine right there where it belongs at Bdote, right there inside Fort Snelling. And it will be called Mystic Bdote Junction. I mean Bdote really is THE junction, in case you were not aware. So what are the darn Dakotas going to be doing then, complain about other Dakotas? You can’t tell me they would do that. I know they all get along with each other. They never fight. They are all kodas, at least the men are, and they are all niijikwes and nijikwenhs and copains and copines and druhs and tovaryshes. Which is great because who wants to be in a room with relatives who are not getting along with each other? It is a P.I. T. B. And what’s more you might get hit.

Mystic Bdote Junction, a new vision for Fort Snelling

But the bottom line for this whole deal is that Nina Archabal (AKA Oprah) is now retiring and this whole problem is going to be a problem for who ever it is who has to fill her fancy shoes, or least her profile.

So nobody knows who is going be the next Pope of the historical society, but whoever it is is going to have problems with Fort Snelling that make Humpty Dumpty look like a simple problem.

See! I didn’t say anything bad at all about the folks with the money machine on the Minnesota River. They are the good guys in this story. They are going to save Fort Snelling! Just like I said I am a changed person. Or I least I have change, in case you need some spare for the penny slots.

NOTICE: The opinions of Daniel Shagobince and the other commentators on this site are their own and do not represent those of


The real plans for saving Fort Snelling from attack — 11 Comments

  1. This op-ed article makes absolutely no sense to me. Its like watching a really bad Oliver Stone film, full of conspiracy theories and cute little pictures that appear to have been edited with MS paint. The article leave the reader wondering the entire time what the hell is the point being made here. Long passages of supposedly witty banter is nice and all…but where’s the plot line? Where’s the argument?

    And if this wasn’t a serious article, but a mere satirical rant on the issue, then I must say you gotta read some more Onion newspaper. Watch Daily Show some more.

    Because straightly put, it fails as satire, for the simple reason that trying to comprehend your purpose in this article is like trying to comprehend the purpose of sock puppets – like why should I even try?

  2. Dallas! WTF? Are you kidding me? Sometimes you gotta know stuff to get jokes, but I wasn’t gonna put footnotes in there for everybody. See a lot of people who read stuff here already know stuff. OK, let me explain. First off, the first picture in the story was a real picture that the historical society had on its webpage showing Oprah Archabal in front of Fort Snelling. I did not do that. MS Paint? I think everybody over there uses Macs. As for me I’m a PC but if I ever use MS Paint just shoot me, OK? I admit I did a little work on those other photos to improve them a little, but conspiracy theories where did you get that? I think the only conspiracy is that there just are some people WHO DON’T GET IT, and maybe they talk to each other and maybe you’re one of those people. And if you’re so good, go ahead Dallas SAY SOMETHING FUNNY and then I can tell if you know anything about what’s funny or not. Or could it be, your comment was supposed to be funny……..hmmm…….no, I guess not. But anyway, you’re so smart, go ahead, have it your way.

  3. Daniel, I’ve edited your comment to take out an ethnic stereotype. For the record, and for everybody else, the attempt by the Minnesota Historical Society to find the right interpretation and image of Fort Snelling have been going on a long time. Daniel’s piece was about that ongoing struggle to make some sense of the fort. Since I know the story and was even part of it about 15 years ago I was amused by this article. (And I’m a fan of the Daily Show, but not so much of the Onion.) At this point I think that the folks at the Historical Society have vacillated far too long in deciding what to do about the site and instead of altering the interpretation they have fallen back into military history. This of course makes the site ripe for the kinds of protests that will be going on during Memorial Day weekend 2010. My own suggestion last year was that the site should be closed down for awhile and given a rest until serious changes can be made. I still think that’s a good idea.

  4. I am with Dallas on this one. I would find your rant amusing (although I do like your phrase “Oprah Archibal) if there was anything truthful about what you are saying. Your response to Dallas is interesting. So you admit this is largely an inside joke, not intended for people WHO DON’T GET IT. I guess mission accomplished, but I like to think this site offers more substantive conversation on history.
    This site could play an interesting role in presenting dilemmas in a reasoned way, but something like your article is just confusing and does nothing to further the argument. In fact, filled with fantasy scenarios of Cristo, Shakopee putting up a casino at the historic fort just confuses people. I clicked your link to WCCO, and you flat-out lie about what is presented in the Kessler piece.
    I guess I could accept it as satire if it were based in something real. I guess I expect more from someone with “the white guy’s” reputation.
    Oh – sorry, I just read the disclaimer on not reflecting the site’s views.
    Never mind. . .

  5. Okay, I guess the point of it is that you had to be there. White was there and he thought it was “amusing” and the other guys weren’t and they didn’t. And all they had to say was what that Lakota guy said to the Navaho guy in the joke that I am not going to tell because I don’t believe in jokes, because jokes are stupid: “It was baaaaaaad!” And for a stupid joke that’s a really great joke, but you have know stuff to know it is funny. Just like the other line in it: “It was rough! rough! rough!” I always crack up about that joke, but see once you’ve heard it you don’t have to tell it any more all you have to say is to say those two lines and people laugh, at least if they were there and knew stuff. (Not Dallas, though!) In fact that is one of those jokes that is a lot funnier if you don’t actually tell it. So, as I understand it from people, there are people at the historical society who tell Oprah (AKA Nina Archabal) jokes and all they have to do is say “Oprah has to have a committee meeting before she will go to the bathroom” and they all think they are being really funny, because see Oprah was big on committee meetings all the time. But you had to be there. So I guess you had to know stuff about Fort Snelling. And if you people hadn’t told me this carp I would never have known it because I wasn’t there. They tell me that is what history is all about, learning from folks because you had to be there but you couldn’t. So you’ve got to hand it to Dallas and Will. They were never there so it’s not funny to them. So leave those guys alone! Okay, I will.

  6. I’m going to mediate here. First of all that story on the WCCO site said: “The Historical Society says it will expand programming to include the internment of Indians.” What Daniel said was:

    “Some people there are going to try and carry on what that Nina lady was planning, which is why that guy the other day said that the historical society was going to start planning for Dakota internment there. He really said that! Can you believe it? The ad slogan was going to be: “It was great in 1862, why not now?”

    What Daniel wrote was not a flat out lie, though it took a few imaginative leaps there. The article did say that the historical society was going to plan for “Indian internment,” which one can assume referred the interpretation of some events in Dakota history. The statement was pretty odd as I pointed out yesterday, especially in light of the events that might happen tomorrow. And probably the oddness of the statement was mainly from the way Pat Koessler wrote it. I certainly know how easy it is to be misquoted by reporters. It just happens. So we should probably give my friend Kevin Maijala who is quoted in the article a big break on that point, even if the line in the original article did sound funny to me.

    But the point is that Daniel was exaggerating a real thing for satirical effect. And much of the article really is based on some real things. People will get some of it, but maybe not all of it. Maybe I should have put in more links to previous articles on my website that would explain some of that. But people complain about that too.

    Anyway, thanks to everybody for the comments.

  7. Okay… this is to Daniel for the incredibly childish response to Dallas, briefly summarized as “If you’re saying I’m not funny, let’s see how funny you are!”:

    I’m sorry he may not be as funny as that ridiculous rant that you posted, but I’m sure that most people would at least understand the humor in his work.

    For future reference, posting inside jokes on a website that seems to be intended for a critical look at Minnesota’s history may not be the best idea. Satire and humor is much appreciated, but please address it to a more general audience.

  8. Bruce,

    I appreciate the clarification. The full quote is referring to the long, difficult history this country has in relations American Indians and our responsibility to interpret that appropriately. The Fort is a part of that US history, both the good and bad aspects. Even within the current program we have taken steps to better incorporate that history.
    Obviously (at least to those who know me) I would never make the kind of statement implied in this article and continue to advocate for telling the broad history of Minnesota and Fort Snelling.


  9. Speaking from my own point of view, I have always had great respect for the staff members of the Minnesota Historical Society, including Kevin Maijala. I used be part of the staff of the Historical Society myself, and I survived. But I have had a lot of disagreements with some of those at the top of the Historical Society, present and past, and I have a lot of problems with Historic Fort Snelling, for its history, for the way it has often been interpreted, and for its viability as a historic site. So I will keep writing about the topic while offering a place online for many points of view to be expressed about it, even satirical points of view that offer the opportunity to get discussions like this going.

  10. reading this in July 2018 i agree with the first comment made. funny only because we have to laugh to keep from crying. cite walker scaffolding 2017 . the writer sees ahead of his time and many generations ago. i appreciate this story as one does listening to a dear uncle tell a war story. pidemilya

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