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November 20, 2012

“Little War on the Prairie” episode of This American Life

Filed under: MHS Author in the News, Native American — Alison Aten @ 2:56 pm

Mni Sota Makoce Gwen Westerman, photo by John RatzloffThis year marks 150 years since the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, a war that changed Minnesota forever. The chain of events leading up to the war, and its terrible aftermath, are central to the story of Minnesota, producing historical traumas that still echo in those living today.

On Friday, November 23, This American Life, the popular radio program hosted by Ira Glass and distributed by Public Radio International, will broadcast an episode examining the war that resulted in the forced exile of the Dakota people and the hanging of thirty-eight Dakota men.

The program’s website notes:

“Growing up in Mankato, Minnesota, John Biewen says, nobody ever talked about the most important historical event ever to happen there: in 1862, it was the site of the largest mass execution in U.S. history. Thirty-eight Dakota Indians were hanged after a war with white settlers. John went back to Minnesota to figure out what really happened 150 years ago, and why Minnesotans didn’t talk about it much after.”

Gwen Westerman, a Dakota scholar and artist, is one of the people interviewed for this episode. She is the co-author of the book Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota with Bruce White. The book examines the history of the Dakota people and their deep cultural connection to the land that is Minnesota — and is a celebration of the Dakota in the past, present, and future.

Mankato Free Press article about the episode.

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1 Comment »

  1. Hello Gwen Westerman and Bruce White,
    I have the honor of seeing your talk at the Minnesota Historical Society about your book, Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota. This is by far the best book I have read in the last decade. Thank you for coming to speak that evening or I wouldn’t have purchased the book and read it. It is my deepest hope that you will write curriculum for the Minnesota State Standards and share your book with all teachers / students in Minnesota. This was such powerful writing, some of the most moving stories ever. I feel that everyone that calls themselves a Minnesotan should learn about this history.


    Comment by SeaFlower — November 25, 2012 @ 6:18 pm

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