This Day in History: The Dakota-U.S. War Fighting Begins; A Native Take on Black Lives Matter

This day in history in 1862 is the one we remember as the day the Dakota-U.S. War began. That said, we should remember that the war on the Dakota began long before that. The Dakota people were forced into treaties that did not benefit them. Their hunting territories shrank. At the time the war started, the Dakota people were starving and money and provisions promised by treaty were not being delivered.

There are any number of resources available giving the background on the war, from the Winona Dakota Unity Alliance and the Minnesota Historical Society to Minnesota Public Radio.

A Native Take on Black Lives Matter

Gyasi Ross of the Blackfeet and Suquamish nations was on stage at the Bernie Sanders Rally in Seattle that got national media intention when two women from Black Lives Matter disrupted the event. Ross refers to it as his “Forrest Gump moment.” He ended up writing a piece for the online publication The Stranger: Guest Editorial: I Support Bernie Sanders for President and I Also Support the Black Lives Matter Takeover in Seattle

“I respect him. I will work for him. I like him,” Ross wrote about Sanders. “But he still benefits from white privilege and thus deserves to feel uncomfortable from time to time.” [Emphasis in the original.]

Pushing difficult conversation on race forward trumps the discomfort and decorum, Ross wrote. He gave the following analogy:

[W]hen I was about 25, my father and I had our first real “grown-up” conversation. He asked me when I planned to have kids. I told him, “I don’t know. I’m kinda waiting for the right time.” He told me that there was no “right time”—that having a kid is always going to be disruptive, jarring and inconvenient. He told me that if I waited “for the right time,” I would never have a child. Five years later, I had my son and although I was prepared financially for the most part, I found out that he was telling the truth.

White folks don’t ever want to talk about race. Ever. It will ALWAYS be jarring, it will ALWAYS be disruptive and it will ALWAYS be inconvenient. Yet, we have to do it. [Emphasis in the original.]

Click on the link above for the full editorial.

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