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Walk commemorates exile of Dakota after 1862 war

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Internment camp
Dakota people in an internment camp at Fort Snelling after the 1862 war.
Photographer: Benjamin Franklin Upton, Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society.

WORTHINGON, Minn. -- A walk commemorating events after the 1862 US-Dakota War began Wednesday on the Lower Sioux Community in southwest Minnesota and ends next Tuesday at Fort Snelling.

One of the walk's organizers, Samantha Odegard, said Dakota tribal members and supporters were making the trek to honor the nearly 1,700 Dakota who were forced to march to Fort Snelling 150 years ago.

"Along the route, every mile, we place a prayer flag which will have two names on it," Odegard said. "The names are the heads of family that were at the concentration camp in Fort Snelling in 1862."

The imprisoned Dakota were eventually sent from Fort Snelling into exile in South Dakota and Nebraska. Hundreds died, mainly from disease and starvation.

Odegard said many of those making the trek have a close link to the events of 1862. "A lot of the people that take part are descendants of those 1,700," she said.

She said the group will walk about 20 miles a day, adding that overnight stops are planned in New Ulm, Mankato, Henderson, Jordan and Prior Lake.