Oral history project documents U.S.-Dakota War of 1862

indian jail .jpeg

Photo courtesy of The Minnesota Historical Society

This year marks 150 years since the U.S.-Dakota War. The war, fought in southwestern Minnesota in the late summer of 1862, ended with hundreds of people dead, the Dakota people exiled from their homeland and the largest mass execution in U.S. history: the hangings of 38 Dakota men in Mankato on Dec. 26, 1862.

The Minnesota Historical Society has recorded dozens of oral histories from descendants of those touched by the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. To gather the stories, Minnesota Historical Society staff conducted interviews in homes throughout the Minnesota River Valley and in tribal community centers on Dakota reservations.

Project manager Deborah Locke says the oral histories offer an intimate perspective on an important event in the nation’s history. “These histories are personal and heartfelt and the interviewees are passionate about their families’ place in the story of Minnesota,” she said in a news release from the Minnesota Historical Society.

The Historical Society chose storytellers based on recommendations from local historical societies or tribal council members. Others found the project via word of mouth.

Oral histories from people in Canada and the upper Midwest will be added throughout 2012. The public will also be invited to share their own personal and family stories related to the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 on a “Share Your Story” component to be added to www.usdakotawar.org/stories in mid-June.

Comments are closed.