Remembering the Dakota Exile … And a New Indigenous Website Launches

This date in history: The Dakota Exile from Minnesota, May 4-5, 1863

Following the Dakota-U.S. War of 1862, approximately 1,600 Dakota prisoners were held under dire conditions at Fort Snelling where many died. In the spring, they were sent by steamship down the Mississippi River–then up the Missouri River–to Crow Creek, their reservation in exile. (Former Governor Sibley recommended using ships instead of a more direct overland march: ships were less expensive, avoided clashes with white settlers, and reduced the opportunities for escape.) In all, 1,318 Dakota were exiled: 176 men, 536 women, and 606 children. The Steamship ‘Davenport’ left with the first group May 4, the last group left May 5 on the steamship ‘Northerner’.

For more, read “The Removal from Minnesota of the Sioux and Winnebago Indians,” by William E. Lass, Minnesota History, December 1963. It provides the following account of the Davenport:

At St. Paul, the boat halted briefly to take on cargo. An angry crowd gathered, and apparently goaded to violence by a soldier who had been wounded at the battle of Birch Coulee, commenced throwing rocks at the Indians. Those crowded on the boiler deck could not escape the barrage, and several women were injured. The crowd was stilled only after the captain commanding the military escort threatened a bayonet charge. A reporter from the Press  labeled the mob action ‘a gross outrage’ because the prisoners on the ‘Davenport’ were peaceful Indians, not war criminals. Moreover, he pointed out, at the time of the attack, they were engaged in singing hymns and praying.

Indigenouscities Website Launches!

The Minneapolis-based Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) this month launched a new website,,  as an “online aggregator of news, resources, and events all designed to reach a broader audience and create a more connected community.” According to its home page:

The Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota) is the first location launched on Indigenous Cities. Homeland of the Dakota people, birthplace of the American Indian Movement, and home to thousands from Native Nations across North America, indigenous people have a strong historical and contemporary presence in the Twin Cities.

The website’s key features include a community calendar of events and a blog. Still under development is a section for Native Professionals Networking as well as a section dedicated to the Twin Cities Indigenous Alliance: “a creative think-tank for Native professionals who want to test and problem-solve collaborative actions to advance the sovereignty of the urban American Indian community.”

Congratulations to NACDI!

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