Photos: The Dakota War, then and now

Regional History

1 Chief Arvol Looking Horse of the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota, prepares to escort walkers on the ceremonial Dakota Wokiksuye Walk to Minnesota on Friday, August 17, 2012. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, a forgotten and overlooked story of conflict between Dakota Indians and European White Settlers in nineteenth century Minnesota. The war resulted in the largest mass execution in U.S. history, and the exile of the Dakota people from the state of Minnesota. Chief Arvol Looking Horse is the 19th generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe, the holiest of all worship symbols in Dakota culture. 
2 Chief Arvol Looking Horse, of the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota, leads the Dakota Wokiksuye Walk to Minnesota on Friday, August 17, 2012 in Flandreau, South Dakota. 
3 Shelby Childs, 9, of Red Wing, Minnesota, plays inside a tipi at the Legacy of Survival event in Flandreau, South Dakota on Thursday, August 16, 2012. Held on the 150th anniversary of US-Dakota War of 1862, the three-day event celebrated the resilience of the Dakota people and their culture. 
4 John Biewen, 51, of Durham, North Carolina, and Gwen Westerman, 55, of Good Thunder, Minnesota, sit by the Minnesota River in Mankato, Minnesota on September 21, 2012. Biewen is a native of Mankato and a longtime reporter for Minnesota Public Radio, who currently works as a radio producer and instructor at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Westerman, a Dakota poet and artist, is professor of English at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Biewen grew up knowing virtually nothing of the US Dakota War and the execution that happened in his home town, and Westerman only found out about her ancestral ties to the war after moving to Mankato to teach in the early 1990's. With Westerman as a guide, Biewen spent a year researching the US Dakota War and traveling the state to understand the story. 
5 Taoyateduta, or Little Crow (photographed in 1862 by John H. Gravenslund), and Wamditanka, or Big Eagle, (approximately 1863 by Simon & Shepherd) were both chiefs of the Mdewakanton Dakota Sioux. Little Crow led the uprising in 1862. 
6 An oil painting of the signing of the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux in 1851, an agreement between the Wahpeton and Sisseton Dakota and the United States Government, where the Dakota people ceded 35 million acres in exchange for $3 million in food and annuity payments. The painting now hangs at the Minnesota Capitol, in the Governor's Reception Room and Office. Created in approximately 1905. 
7 Ben Leonard, 36, of St. Peter, Minn., is executive director of the Nicollet County Historical Society at Traverse des Sioux in St. Peter. The Treaty Site History Center rests near the location where the 1851 Treaty of Traverse des Sioux was signed between the Wahpeton and Sisseton Dakota and the United States Government, and hosts an exhibit called "Nicollet County: A Gateway and a Gathering Place." Through a collection of artifacts, artwork, photographs and written documents, the exhibit tells the story of this area of Minnesota that has functioned as a gathering place for many different groups of people through history. Dakota elders played an integral role in creating the part of the exhibit that focuses on Dakota culture and their life with the Euro-American settlers. 
8 The public execution of 38 Dakota Indians by federal authorities in Mankato, Minn., on Friday, December 26, 1862. Approximately 4,000 people came to witness the event. Copied from a sketch by W.H. Childs in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, January 24, 1863, page 285. 
9 Mary Wingerd, a historian at St. Cloud State University and author of the book, "North Country: The Making of Minnesota," speaks to John Biewen in her home on Monday, June 25, 2012 about the US-Dakota War of 1862 and the events preceeding it. 
10 Henry Hastings Sibley (1862) and Gov. Alexander Ramsey (approximately 1848). At the outbreak of the US Dakota War of 1862, Gov. Ramsey appointed his friend -- and former governor -- Henry Sibley as colonel of the US military forces sent to fight the Dakota. During the war, Ramsey said the Dakota people must be "exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the state." 
11 Anthony Morse, 26, of Morgan, Minn., stands in front of the historic Lower Sioux Agency warehouse on the Lower Sioux Reservation in Minnesota on Tuesday, July 24, 2012. Morse is ninth-generation Lower Sioux Mdewakanton, and works as the site manager of the historic site. The warehouse was built by the US government in 1861 and housed the annuities, food and supplies for the Dakota community. It was one of the first sites attacked in the US-Dakota War of 1862. While most buildings at the time were just one story, the United States government built the warehouse as a two-story building to show its power and authority. 
12 The Battle of Birch Coulee took place on September 2,1862, and was one of the most costly battles for the United States military during the US-Dakota War of 1862. Oil painting circa 1975 by Dorothea Paul. 
13 John Biewen visits Sibley Park in Mankato, Minn., the site of many family memories during his years growing up in Mankato, on Thursday, September 20, 2012. In 1862, this location was called Camp Lincoln, the holding place for 303 Dakota men sentenced to hang as they awaited the review of their sentences by President Lincoln. 
14 At the end of the war in 1862, 1,700 Dakota --mostly women and children-- were marched 150 miles to an internment camp at Fort Snelling. Along the way they were attacked by white settlers. Hundreds died at the camp from disease and the harsh winter conditions. Those that survived were taken to a reservation in Crow Creek, S.D. the following spring. At left: Two Dakota women at the Dakota internment camp at Fort Snelling; photo by Joel Emmons Whitney. At right: the Dakota Internment Camp; photo by Benjamin Franklin Upton. 
15 A page in historian Mary Wingerd's book, "North Country: The Making of Minnesota," features a spoon containing an etching of the 1862 Mankato hanging of 38 Dakota men. This spoon was one of many souvenirs of the event. 
16 Nick Coleman, 62, a Twins Cities journalist, dedicated a year of his career to covering the US-Dakota Conflict from the Dakota perspective. Coleman's family came to Minnesota from Ireland pre-statehood, and some were involved in the US-Dakota War. But like many Minnesotans, he grew up not knowing anything about what he calls "Minnesota's original sin." He discovered the real story of the injustices done to the Dakota people as an adult, and in 1987 Coleman partnered with the St. Paul Pioneer Press to tell their story. Today, Coleman works as news editor of The Uptake, and continues to write as an advocate for the Dakota community. Photo taken at the home of Nick Coleman in St. Paul, Minn., on Sept. 14, 2012. 
17 Gwen Westerman and husband, Glen Wasicuna, in Sibley Park in Mankato on July 9, 2012. The park, named after Henry Sibley, was the site where Dakota prisoners were held while waiting for President Lincoln's decision on their fate in 1862. On the 150th Anniversary of the US-Dakota War of 1862, Westerman co-authored the book "Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota," which provides a detailed history of the Dakota people in the land that is now Minnesota, prior to the US-Dakota War of 1862. The book was released September 13, 2012. 
18 McKenna VandenTop of North Mankato and Sidney Ehmke of Mankato, sixth graders in Elizabeth Zarn's class at Garfield Elementary School in North Mankato, participate in a class discussion on the US-Dakota War of 1862 on Thursday, September 20, 2012. Zarn dedicates about 10 days of class time each year to teaching about the conflict. 
19 Third graders from Mankato area schools participate in a Dakota round dance at the 40th annual Mahkato Wacipi (Mankato Pow Wow) in Mankato, Minn., on Friday, September 21, 2012. The pow wow is held in Mankato's Land of Memories Park, a place where the Dakota often gathered for ceremonies before the US-Dakota War of 1862. Designated as Education Day, the first day of the pow wow is reserved for third graders from surrounding schools to come and learn about Dakota culture. 
20 Mike Looper, 52, of New Orleans, holds a sage "smudge," which is used as incense to be burned at Dakota ceremonies. Third graders from the Mankato area learned how to make sage smudges during Education Day at the annual Mahkato Wacipi (Mankato Pow Wow) in Mankato, Minn., on Friday, September 21, 2012. 
21 Julian Boucher, 51, of the Lake Traverse Reservation in South Dakota, brought his horse, Cody, to the Legacy of Survival event in Flandreau, S.D., on Thursday, August 16, 2012. The gathering was held in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the US-Dakota War, and celebrated the resilience of the Dakota people despite the injustices inflicted upon them. Cody was one of the horses that led the Dakota ceremonial walk back to Minnesota the following day. 
22 Jason Drapeau, 16, of the Yankton Sioux tribe of South Dakota, leads the Lightning Sticks lacrosse team in their warmup stretches at the Legacy of Survival event in Flandreau, S.D., on August 16, 2012. Lacrosse is a French adaptation of what was originally a Native American sport, used to settle disputes between tribes without killing one another. 
23 Members of the drum group Mato Pejuta from left: Jason Peterson, 37, of Brookings, S.D.; Orlando Frazier, 30, of Sioux City, Iowa; Kevin Frazier, 26, of Sioux City, Iowa; Jeremiah Frazier, 29, of Santee, Neb; Redwing Thomas, 31, of Flandreau, S.D. and his son Dowan Thomas, 2 -- arrive for the ceremonial blessing on a buffalo farm south of Flandreau, S.D. before the Dakota Wokiksuye Walk on Friday, August 17, 2012. 
24 Dewayne Wabasha, 40, and Eugene Saul, 50, of Santee, Neb., brought a group of 24 kids and six adults to join the Dakota Wokiksuye Walk to Minnesota on Friday, August 17, 2012. For Saul, this event holds great significance since his ancestors were some of the Dakota exiled to Nebraska following the US-Dakota Conflict of 1862. 
25 Guy Zephier, 18, of Flandreau, S.D., was chosen as the solo runner to lead the Dakota Wokiksuye Walk to Minnesota on Friday, August 17, 2012. In Dakota culture, runners are considered messengers. 
26 Julian Boucher of the Lake Traverse Reservation in South Dakota, and Chief Arvol Looking Horse of the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota, lead the Dakota Wokiksuye Walk to Minnesota on Friday, August 17, 2012 in Flandreau, S.D. 
27 Led by Chief Arvol Looking Horse of the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota, a relay of horse riders escorts walkers of Dakota Wokiksuye Walk to Minnesota on Friday, August 17, 2012. 
28 Drummers play a song in Pipestone, Minn., on Friday, August 17, 2012, to celebrate the homecoming of the Dakota people back to Minnesota after 150 years of exile. On behalf of Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie read a letter repudiating Gov. Alexander Ramsey's words calling for the extermination of the Dakota in 1862, and declared August 17 as a day of remembrance and reconciliation. All national and state flags would be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset. 
29 Dan Spock, director of the Minnesota History Center Museum, stands in the US-Dakota War exhibit that opened the summer of 2012, on the 150th anniversary of the US-Dakota War of 1862. Created by Gov. Alexander Ramsey, the Minnesota Historical Society long presented a biased perspective on the 19th century conflict with the Dakota people, its leaders now concede. The current exhibit aims to tell the story with greater accuracy and balance. 
30 John Biewen and Gwen Westerman meet along the Minnesota River in Mankato for their last interview on September 21, 2012, one year after they started uncovering the story of the US- Dakota Conflict of 1862 together. 
31 Tayo'Jo Boyd, 6, of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, dances at the Mankato Pow Wow in Mankato, Minnesota on Friday, September 21, 2012. His mother says Boyd has been dancing since he was 10 months old, and has been to hundreds of pow wows. 
32 A Dakota dancer at the annual Mahkato Wacipi (Mankato Pow Wow) in Mankato, Minn., on September 21, 2012.