Reflections on the Dakota War Anniversary

Curt Brown’s articles in the Star Tribune and events commemorating the anniversary of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 have led me to reflect on that horrific time in Minnesota history, as well as the current challenges facing Indian Country. In light of the fact that the Dakota people (and other Native peoples), have not received apologies or reparations for the severe injustices inflicted over the years, how do we move forward? Is that even possible without genuine apology? What is our responsibility, as a state and country, 150 years after this tragedy? When I read the news, I see articles like this one from NPR, this piece on violence in Indian Country, or this Op-Ed by Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times. How do we reconcile and honor the past, while working for justice for Native people today?

While I have been thinking about the serious issues facing these communities, it is encouraging to remember local organizations that partner with our Working and Task Groups. The Anti-Human Trafficking Working Group has partnered in the past with the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, while the Native American Awareness Task Group has joined with the Tiwahe Foundation on projects. Organizations such as these two, known first hand to the CSJ Community, make it possible to remain hopeful, despite all the challenges.

-Mary Pederson, Program Assistant, CSJ Justice Office

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