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On Massacre Anniversary, City to Journey Into the Past

"Spirit Car: Journey Into a Dakota Past" will be the next One Minneapolis, One Read book.

It's Minnesota's own original sin. And on its sesquicentennial, Minneapolis is set to revisit the events of the 1862 Dakota War in the next installment of the city-wide One Minneapolis One Read project. 

150 years ago, the territory's original Dakota inhabitants clashed with settlers and soldiers over food, land rights, and broken treaties. When it was all over, almost a thousand whites and Native Americans were dead and the Dakotas had been expelled from their ancestral land. At the end of the war, 38 Dakota men were executed at Fort Snelling for attacks on settlers.

Friday morning, the Minneapolis City Council chose "Spirit Car: Journey into a Dakota Past," by local author Diane Wilson, as the next book in the reading series. Wilson's maternal great-great-grandparents took part in the war and were subsequently expelled to South Dakota and Nebraska along with other Native Americans, and her book recounts her relatives' experiences in the war and after as they struggled to survive.

“I’m thrilled that One Minneapolis One Read will continue this year with the excellent and timely selection of ‘Spirit Car’ by Diane Wilson,” said Minneapolis City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden (Ward 8). “I look forward to continuing our conversations about history in the context of race, encouraging all in our community to learn about a tragic part of our history, the Dakota War of 1862.”

The One Minneapolis One Read project was started by South and Southwest Minneapolis residents in the wake of the Kingfield , including Glidden and several Kingfield residents. Book clubs, libraries, and neighborhood organizations will be encouraged to read the book, and join in city-wide discussions starting in October 2012.

Fabuladico April 20, 2012 at 04:10 AM
In order to truly understand what is currently being called the “Dakota Conflict”, it is important to step back and view this point in Minnesota history not simply from one viewpoint or another, but from all sides of the issue. In recent years it is only the viewpoint of the American Indian that we hear. Never do we hear the white side of this story these days. These Dakota Indians were not hapless victims; they were the murderers of more than 800 white settlers, many of whom were unarmed. This staggering figure wasn’t topped until the terrorist attacks of 911. Yes treaties were broken. Did the settlers have anything whatsoever to do with the broken treaties? Of course not; they were killed for one reason and one reason alone. They were white. We need to get this incident back into perspective. There was no concentration camp. It was a POW camp and with far better conditions than others of the era. The Indians found themselves in unfortunate circumstances (three juveniles had murdered 5 whites), and they looked around and said hey, we have an opportunity here; the whites are all off fighting each other. Who’s gonna stop us? I implore all to explore both sides of this conflict during this all important anniversary. It was not the Dakota’s finest hour. It was nothing to be proud of. It was tragic. It resulted in more than 800 whites and about 300 Indians dead. By the way many of those Dakota Indians who were banished were heard from again…at Little Big Horn.

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