“In societies that have experienced violence, individuals return to particular places to revisit difficult feelings of loss, grief, guilt and anger (Fullilove, 2005; Till, 2005). People describe these places as having a distinct presence, one that is material, sensual, spiritual and psychic, yet also structured by social space (Adams et al., 2001; Tuan, 1977).

As Jeff Kelly (1995) describes:  Places are what fill them [sites] out and make them work. Sites are like maps or mines,
while places are the reservoirs of human content, like memory or gardens. … Places are held in sites by personal and common values, and by the maintenance of those values over time, as memory. As remembered, places are thus conserved … This conservation is at root psychological, and, in a social sense, memorial. But if places are held inside us, they are not solipsistic, since they can be held in common. At a given threshold, our commonly held places become communities … .(p. 142).

I wish to suggest that places become part of us, even when held in common, through the intimate relationships individuals and groups have with them. Places described as wounded are understood to be present to the pain of others and to embody diffi cult social pasts. For example, Bdote, a birthplace of the Dakota people in the contemporary American Midwest, is also a place of suffering, where more than 300 people died in a concentration camp (of the roughly 1700 imprisoned in 1862) and  reminder of 38 people hanged following the US-Dakota wars – the largest mass execution in the history of the USA (Beane and Shoemaker, 2007).
Yet at what is now known as historic Fort Snelling, the theft of ancestral homelands, the displacement of communities, and the bodily violence and murders experienced by local peoples during white resettlement are not acknowledged by the Minnesota Historical Center. Instead, this place is described as ‘once a lonely symbol of American ambition in the wilderness’, where visitors can participate in 19th-century reenactments of the Civil War and of ladies’ teas (Minnesota Historical Society, 2007). For artist Mona Smith, ‘without hearing a multitude of Dakota voices’ in the contemporary landscape at wounded places such as Fort Snelling, the ancestral place of Bdote is wounded yet again. Bdote remains ‘a painful reminder to Dakota people of what has been taken, what is lost. The mourning has barely begun. The wounds are not healed. And the injuries are worsened by the present use of the area.’”