News Wrap: The Story of the Dakota 38 Hangman, Second Native American Elected to State Legislature, and More

The Star Tribune reported that a photo was found Capt. Thomas J. Duly, the man who hanged 38 Dakota men following the Dakota-U.S. War of 1862. The reporter interviewed Dakota scholar and author Gwen Westerman, who teaches at Minnesota State, Mankato. “There are always multiple stories to tell about these kind of figures in history,” Westerman said. “I have no quarrel with this man. We remember these people as a part of a pivotal period in Minnesota history. And I think we can do that without laying blame or anger or vengeance.”

Peggy Flanagan won a special election for an open seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives, representing St. Louis Park. Flanagan is Ojibwe and the second Native American in the Minnesota legislature, joining Rep. Susan Allen. According to an article in MinnPost, Flanagan will transition from being the Minnesota State Director for the Children’s Defense Fund to an organizing role for the national chapter.

The Indigenous Peoples Task Force (previously called the American Indian AIDS Task Force) has launched $3.5 million Capital Campaign for Mikwanedun Audisookon Center for Art and Wellness. The Center’s name, chosen with the help of elders, translates from Ojibwe as “remember our teachings.” Mikwanedun Audisookon will be located adjacent to IPTF’s existing offices and housing at East 24th Street and 13th Avenue South in the Phillips neighborhood. It will allow IPTF to consolidate its programs and expand its ability to improve the stability, health, cultural vitality, and economic growth of the Native American and South Minneapolis communities.

Indian Country Today is reporting that South Dakota quietly eliminated Native history as a mandatory subject. “High school students in South Dakota may choose one of three courses to satisfy their single U.S. history requirement: Early U.S. History, Modern U.S. History or Comprehensive U.S. History,” effectively removing “a large part of American historical context from the required curriculum, including colonialism, the American War for Independence, slavery, Manifest Destiny, the Civil War and women’s suffrage.”