January 11, 2013 Patrick Nunnally

While it’s true that the title of this post could refer to pretty nearly anything, today the subject is the Dakota War of 1862 or, more properly, one particular reaction to it.

On Wednesday January 9, the St. Paul City Council passed a resolution commemorating the Dakota War, recognizing 2013 as “The Year of the Dakota,” and directing the city’s parks and recreation department to work with Dakota people and identify Dakota names for places on the Mississippi River in the city that are important to Dakota people.

Although we are not familiar with the particular group identified as a liaison organization to Dakota people, we hope to be helpful in river-oriented work that arises from this directive.

The story link is here, but, since the web site is challenging, the entire story is reprinted below, copyright 2013 St. Paul Pioneer Press.
St. Paul City Council commemorates U.S.-Dakota War of 1862

By Frederick Melo, fmelo@pioneerpress.com
Posted: 01/09/2013 12:01:00 AM CST
Updated: 01/09/2013 09:38:47 PM CST

Taking its cue from Minneapolis, the St. Paul City Council on Wednesday, Jan. 9, passed its own resolution commemorating the 150th anniversary of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 and recognizing 2013 as “The Year of the Dakota.”

The war resulted in the mass hanging of 38 Dakota men at Mankato in December 1862, the largest mass execution in U.S. history.

Wednesday’s resolution was sponsored by council member Dave Thune, who said he hoped efforts to revisit the tragedy would allow reconciliation and serve to “initiate conversations that bring lots of communities together in the future.”

The resolution, which passed the council unanimously, was read aloud in front of several dozen onlookers, many of them members of the Dakota community.

Husband-and-wife Dakota activists Chris Mato Nunpa and Mary Beth Faimon told the council that the Dakota people still have many concerns about historic treaties, land arrangements, reparations and other issues that deserve to be revisited.

The council resolution directs St. Paul Parks and Recreation to work with the Dakota Bdote Restoration Consortium “to identify, name and interpret sacred Native American sites … from the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers to Mounds Park.”

The resolution also notes that “every effort must be made to ensure the Dakota perspective is presented during the year 2013, through discussions at forums, events, symposia, conferences and workshops.”

The U.S.-Dakota War led to casualties on both sides. In the days leading up to the six-week war, tensions mounted over broken treaties and access to food and promised annuities, and on Aug. 17, 1862, a group of young Dakota men killed five white settlers near Hutchinson. Their chief, Little Crow, later led attacks that killed settlers near New Ulm, among other locations along the Minnesota River Valley.

During the war, Dakota women, children and the elderly were separated from the men and held at an internment camp at the base of Fort Snelling. On May 4, 1863, they were relocated to reservations in nearby states and Canada. Many young people were sent to boarding schools, where they were prohibited from practicing their native customs, including their faith.

Gov. Mark Dayton declared Aug. 17, 2012, a “Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation” in Minnesota and condemned a threat by Alexander Ramsey, the state’s first territorial governor, to “exterminate” the Dakota people.

Frederick Melo can be reached at 651-228-2172. Follow him at twitter.com/FrederickMelo.

Advertisements