Commemorating Controversy


At the NMAI:

In the late summer of 1862, a war raged across southern Minnesota between Dakota akicitas (warriors) and the U.S. military and immigrant settlers. In the end, hundreds were dead and thousands more would lose their homes forever. On December 26, 1862, 38 Dakota men were hung in Mankato, Minnesota, by order of President Abraham Lincoln. This remains the largest mass execution in United States history. The bloodshed of 1862 and its aftermath left deep wounds that have yet to heal. What happened 150 years ago continues to matter today.

Commemorating Controversy: The Dakota–U.S. War of 1862—an exhibition of 12 panels exploring the causes, voices, events, and long-lasting consequences of the conflict—was produced by students at Gustavus Adolphus College, in conjunction with the Nicollet County Historical Society. The project was funded by Gustavus Adolphus College, the Nicollet County Historical Society, the Minnesota Humanities Center, the Minnesota Historical Society, and the people of Minnesota through a grant supported by an appropriation to the Minnesota Historical Society from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

See the panels in PDF form here.


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2 Responses to Commemorating Controversy

  1. jimcrist February 13, 2014 at 7:56 am #

    This was part of an exhibit at the Minnesota History Museum last year to commemorate the 150th anniversary. Not many people here know about this at all. Many Dakota were interned on Pike Island over that winter, and many died due to poor conditions, lack of food and clean water, or disease. Pike Island is in Fort Snelling State Park, and when you are on it, you can definitely feel the weight of what happened there.

  2. jack brehm February 15, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    Thanks for digging this up, It is a powerful reminder of the mistreatment of our american brothers.

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