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Bethel University Library

US Dakota War of 1862: Home

August 17, 2012 was the 150th Anniversary of the beginning of this conflict in Minnesota. This guide includes resources and conversations about the war itself and the implications for Minnesotans today.

US Dakota War Introduction - Minnesota Historical Society

Recommended Resources from Bethel Faculty

Websites emphasizing Dakota Voices

  • Bdote Memory Map

    This Web resource from the Minnesota Humanities Center describes important Minnesota sites in Dakota history.

    Recommended by Leon Rodrigues

  • Why Treaties Matter: Self Government in the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations

    This traveling exhibit from the Minnesota Humanities Center explores the relationships between the Dakota and Ojibwe Indian Nations and the U.S. government.

    Recommended by Leon Rodrigues

  • Where the Water Reflects the Past

    Article from the Facing Race website about the significance of the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers to the Dakota people.

    Recommended by Leon Rodrigues

  • The Price of Statehood

    Article from the Facing Race website about using the sesquicentennial events to educate people about the implications of Minnesota's statehood on the Dakota people.

    Recommended by Leon Rodrigues

  • DED UŋK’UŋPI—WE ARE HERE: Exhibit at All My Relations Gallery

    On December 26th, 1862, 38 Dakota warriors were sentenced to be hung as a result of the U.S./Dakota wars. This timely and important exhibit features works by 20 Native American artists whose work responds to the legacy of these events.

    Recommended by Chris Gehrz

Websites emphasizing Settler Voices

  • Brown County Exhibit on U.S.-Dakota War Worked on For Years

    Mankato Free Press article about the Brown County Historical Society exhibit which includes a collection of stories about the US-Dakota War from perspective of the settlers, Dakota indians, and government officials from the New Ulm area. The interactive exhibit features the pictures and stories of those individuals.

    Recommended by Kent Gerber

Movies, Film, Television

  • Dakota 38

    This film documents a 330-mile ceremonial horseback ride between South Dakota and the 1862 hanging site in Mankato. Please join The Saint Paul Foundation for a screening of this film on October 3 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Space is limited. It is also showing at Bethel University on Tuesday, October 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the Eastlund Room.

    Recommended by Leon Rodrigues

  • The Dakota Conflict - A Twin Cities Public Television documentary

    Documentary about the war and its aftermath, narrated by Eastern Dakota Floyd Red Crow Westerman and Garrison Keillor.

    Recommended by Keith Brooks

  • The Dakota Exile - A Twin Cities Public Television documentary

    Documentary about the history of scattered Dakota tribes forced from Minnesota after the war.

    Recommended by Keith Brooks


  • Spirit Car

    Spirit Car by Diane Wilson - In this memoir, Diane Wilson, a child of a typical 1950s Minneapolis suburb, unearths her mother’s hidden heritage, launching a rich and magical exploration of her own identity and her family’s powerful Dakota past, including their involvement in the US Dakota War of 1862.

    Recommended by Leon Rodrigues

  • What Does Justice Look Like?

    This book by a Dakota scholar, Waziyatawin also known as Angela Cavender Wilson, explores how we can embark on a path of transformation on the way to respectful coexistence with the Dakota people whose ancestral homeland is Minnesota.

    Recommended by Leon Rodrigues

Minnesota Historical Society Resources

  • US-Dakota War of 1862

    This initiative of the Minnsota Historical Society includes an exhibit, Web resources and community events.

    Recommended by Leon Rodrigues

  • Minnesota Historical Society Oral History Project of the US-Dakota War of 1862

    Stories of this disastrous time in Minnesota history live on in people throughout Minnesota, the Upper Midwest and Canada. Minnesota Historical Society staff members have recorded dozens of these oral histories from descendants of those touched by the war and they are now available for all to hear and read at

    Recommended by Chris Gehrz

  • Minnesota History Center US-Dakota War of 1862: An Exhibit

    When you visit the 'U.S.-Dakota War of 1862' exhibit at the History Center, you'll examine the evidence, hear heart-wrenching stories and learn about the broken treaties and promises that led to this disastrous chapter in Minnesota history.

    Recommended by Chris Gehrz

  • Commemorating Controversy: The Dakota-US War of 1862 at Historic Fort Snelling

    When you visit the 'U.S.-Dakota War of 1862' exhibit at the History Center, you'll examine the evidence, hear heart-wrenching stories and learn about the broken treaties and promises that led to this disastrous chapter in Minnesota history.

    Recommended by Chris Gehrz

Reflections and Experiences of Bethel Community Members

  • Native American Sankofa Trip Links

    This list of links documents the events and information presented on the Native American Sankofa trip in March 2012 attended by Bethel students, staff, and faculty and led by Jim Bear Jacobs.

    Recommended by Kent Gerber

  • US-Dakota War, 150 Years Later on the Bethel University History Department Blog

    Article about the more somber sesquicentennial, that of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, fought primarily in the Minnesota River valley. The commemoration promises to be enormously complex and controversial as discussed by the new director of the Minnesota Historical Society and through a Minneapolis Star-Tribune article pertaining to an artifact the Dakota executions.

    Recommended by Chris Gehrz

  • All Have Sinned: The U.S.-Dakota War of 1962

    Pietist Schoolman blog post by Chris Gehrz that reflects on his visit to Fort Snelling, a major setting at the close of the conflict, and how complicated the issues are in telling the story in a way that respects the experiences of so many different voices and perspectives. He features an essay by James Calvin Schaap, a retired Calvin College professor, who discusses the fact that all had a piece of responsibility in the conflict and that no one group acted in a uniform way.

    Recommended by Kent Gerber

News Media

Teaching Resources

  • Dakota Conflict WebQuest - Teaching Resource

    This 'Dakota Conflict' webquest is available here for people of all ages to learn about a moment in time of our U.S. history, that hopefully will be discussed in the classroom. This webquest was made for further inquiry / investigations of the American Indians, the Dakota, and specifically the Dakota Conflict of 1862 (aka, the Sioux Uprising of 1862) and is anchored in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade social studies and involves U.S. history and journalism as well. The unit is designed for middle school grade levels, but can easily be extended to high school students.

    Recommended by Keith Brooks

Opportunities for Dialogue

  • Saint Paul Interfaith Network: Healing Minnesota Stories

    “Healing Minnesota Stories” is a group of volunteers and representatives of faith-based organizations and other institutions interested in helping bring attention to the wounds of the genocidal treatment of the American Indian people including the full participation of Chistian churches. Under the umbrella of the Saint Paul Interfaith Network (SPIN), we include American Indian and non-American Indian people, and represent congregations, higher education institutions as well as both religious and secular organizations.

    Recommended by Sara Shady