Dakota Gathering at Fort Snelling Friday-Saturday; Coldwater Spring Management Plan Open for Public Comment

This Friday and Saturday, May 3 and 4, will be the third annual Dakota Gathering at Fort Snelling at Bdote.

The Gathering will be a commemoration and a celebration. May 4th marks the anniversary of the Dakota exile from their homeland following the Dakota-U.S. War of 1863, likely the most tragic day in Dakota history. Women, children and elder Dakota were forced onto steamships, sent down the Mississippi, up the Missouri River, and dropped off at Crow Creek, a desolate reservation in the Dakota Territory.

The title for this year’s Gathering is: Dakhóta Omníčiye: Thokátakiya máni pi (Dakhóta Gathering: Keep Moving Forward). According to the website, the event will “mark our return & assert our continued presence on this sacred land where the rivers meet, we invite all Očhéthi Šakówiŋ Oyáte to return home, unify in peace, and share community knowledge, teachings, and stories with one another.

Events are free and open to the public. Continue reading

This Day in History: Congress Exiles Dakota from Minnesota (1863); “Civilization Fund” Act Passes (1819); and More

On this day in history, March 3, 1863, Congress passed a law exiling the Dakota people from Minnesota, a law still in effect today.

Officially, it was called: “An Act for the Removal of the Sisseton, Wahpaton, Medawakanton and Wahpakoota Bands of Sioux or Dakota Indians, and for the disposition of their Lands in Minnesota and Dakotas.”

The law was passed at the urging of Minnesota’s Congress members in the wake of the Dakota-U.S. War; it grew from a mix of fear and greed. It resulted in the exile of the Dakota people from their homeland. Their lands had been diminished to a section of land along the Minnesota River, and with this act the U.S. government allowed for it to be sold to white settlers. The government moved the Dakota to barren land in the Dakota Territory known as Crow Creek.

For more, click here.

There are several other significant historical events that occurred on March 3. Continue reading

This Day in History: The Dakota Exile, May 4-5

Following the Dakota-U.S. War, Dakota prisoners were held under brutal conditions below Fort Snelling in what amounted to a concentration camp. Many died.

Congress passed a law in early 1863 (still on the books today) banishing the Dakota people from their homeland here in Minnesota. (In a separate bill, it also banished the Winnebago who had nothing to do with the war.) In the spring of 1863, the Dakota were sent by steamship down the Mississippi River, then up the Missouri River to their reservation in exile at Crow Creek, according to William Lass’s article: The REMOVAL From MINNESOTA of the Sioux and Winnebago Indians:. There were 1,318 in all: 176 men, 536 women, and 606 children.

The Steamship Davenport left on May 4, but not before an ugly attack.

At St. Paul, the boat halted briefly to take on cargo. An ugly crowd 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

The last group of Dakota, 547 people, left aboard the steamship ‘Northerner’ on May 5.  At former Governor Sibley’s recommendation, the Dakota were sent by ship instead of a more direct overland route. It was less expensive, avoided clashes with white settlers, and reduced the opportunities for escape.

In case you missed our earlier blog today, check out: Dakota Truth-Telling Gathering at Fort Snelling May 4-6.