Henderson: Stories and Reflections





Dale Weston: “I’ve heard some people say that’s the Minnesota Trail of Tears.”

Grace Goldtooth: “I always think about that, every time I’m in Henderson. I say a prayer.”

Narrator: In the immediate aftermath of the US-Dakota War, the United States Government force marched 1,700 women, children and elders for 6 days up to an internment camp at Fort Snelling.

Gabrielle Tateyaskanskan: “They experienced really horrific treatment at the hands of citizen-soldiers and mobs along the way, that were angry about the fighting that was taking place in Minnesota. And, they didn’t know where they were going.”

Grace Goldtooth: “They walked them all they way up through Henderson all the way to Fort Snelling They were placed into a concentration camp. And after that they were exiled from our Dakota lands.”

Dallas Goldtooth: “It’s understandable that there are Dakota people that are still sad and have grief over that event and still carry the trauma of what happened in Henderson.”

Perspectives on the Internment Camp at Fort Snelling

Gabrielle Tateyaskanskan: “That confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota River is a really important site to Dakota people because it marks another geographic and ancient sacred place. And then on top of that, that’s where the concentration camp was and where people were in prison. So it has a bitter-sweet connotation there. It’s a place of rebirth and birth, but it’s also a place of great tragedy.”

Narrator: Following the U.S.-Dakota War, the United States Government punished the Dakota community. Some were hanged in Mankato, while others were imprisoned in Iowa. 1,700 Dakota women, children, and elders were marched more than 100 miles from the Minnesota River Valley up to Fort Snelling in St. Paul. During the winter of 1862, they were interned at a camp below the fort. Up to 300 Dakota did not survive the harsh winter.

Judith Anywausch: “There must have been a lot of them that died there. And what happened to them? Expendable, I guess.”

Dallas Ross: “It’s something people don’t want to remember. Unfortunately the ones that suffered through it had no way to forget. There’s immense sadness there.”

Carrie Schommer: “I get mixed feelings when I’m there, but I do know that the spirit of our people are all around there."

The Dakota Commemorative Walk

Gabrielle Tateyaskanskan: “The Dakota Commemorative Walk is a memorial to Dakota ancestors, elderly women and children that were force-marched in November of 1862 from what is present day Morton, Minnesota to Fort Snelling. It’s to honor our ancestors; because of them and their will to survive that Dakota people are here today.”

Narrator: The “Commemorative Walk” passes through Henderson and is supported by many in the community.

Dallas Goldtooth: “It’s amazing to see Dakota people talking about this issue. But then also it’s great to see people of Henderson, the actual town of Henderson, where they have acknowledged what their ancestors did.”

Gabrielle Tateyuskanskan: “The school there and the students at that school participate. We stay there overnight. They give us supper and breakfast and then they walk with us a little ways.”

Narrator: The walkers do face challenges...

Gabrielle Tateyuskanskan: “It’s mixed in the towns, you know, you hear discriminatory remarks; people who are angry at you and yell discriminatory things and make assumptions.”

Judith Anywausch: “A woman came out of her house and yelled at us. ‘Why don’t you guys just forget about it. You guys should just forget about it’.”

Narrator: The Dakota use the walk as a time to reflect on - and to heal from - the trauma the march left on their community.

Gabrielle Tateyuskanskan: “Being with the living relatives that come as from as far away as Montana, Canada, we’re glad to be with each other and to be able to honor our relatives and walk in our homeland.”

Grace Goldtooth: “It’s very important for us not to forget those ones that treaded through the harsh weather, and were taken without their belongings. That walk is very important for future generations. And for them to actually take that journey and take that walk, is historic.”