Projects and Programs

Mon, 2012-03-12 06:07 -- amy.danielson

Additional programs and observances will be added and communicated throughout the year.

U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 Website:
This interactive website will tell stories of the war, its causes and its aftermath through oral histories, photos, journals, letters, newspapers, government documents and other primary sources from the Minnesota Historical Society’s collections. The site will provide resources for classroom use and also link to resources for deeper research. The site will debut in phases throughout 2012.

Oral History Project 
Society staff is recording dozens of oral histories from Dakota elders and settler descendants for the Society’s permanent collection. Full transcripts and audio versions will be available to the public on the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 website,

Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway Mobile History Tour 
In this media-rich cell phone tour, travelers along the Minnesota River Valley National Scenic Byway will hear stories of the Dakota homeland, the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, the settler experience and the struggle for land told by Dakota and settler descendants. The tour is funded by a grant from the National Scenic Byways Discretionary Grants Program administered by the Federal Highway Administration. Available in May 2012. The tour will roll out Memorial Day weekend with six audio stops. Expanded information and visuals will be added in September. An additional six stops will debut in 2013.

Treaty/1862 Computer Interactive 
This educational tool, part of the “Our Minnesota” exhibit opening at the Minnesota History Center in fall 2012, will introduce schoolchildren to the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. It will guide them through a series of choices related to treaties, including the 1851 Treaty of Traverse des Sioux, one of the factors leading up to the war.

DE UNKIYEPI – ‘We Are Here’ 
The Society is partnering with the Native American Community Development Institute to sponsor a juried art exhibit at All My Relations Gallery in Minneapolis in August 2012. Contemporary American Indian artists will show works related to the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. A smaller version of the exhibit will travel to the James J. Hill House Art Gallery in November 2012. Funded in part through a grant from the Grotto Foundation.

Children’s Photo Project 
Young people, including children of Dakota heritage, will learn to use cameras and produce images for use on the U.S-Dakota War of 1862 website,

Public Programs 
Throughout 2012, public programs at the Minnesota History Center and other historic sites related to the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 will provide multiple perspectives on the war. Programs will also give voice to Dakota history and identity through a variety of formats including lectures, films, tours and workshops. Visit for an updated list.

In fall 2012, a new, interactive Dakota history lesson will be delivered to classrooms across the state and country using video conferencing technology. The lesson is being developed by the Society’s award-winning History Live program.

Since 2010, workshops offered by the Society about the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 have been giving teachers expert content knowledge and resources to help them accurately teach this subject from a variety of perspectives.

In addition, the Minnesota Historical Society will soon publish a revised edition of “Northern Lights,” a Minnesota history textbook for grades 5-8 which includes chapters on the Dakota and the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. The revised edition will be available for the 2013-2014 school year.

The War and Legalities Exhibit
William Mitchell College of Law and the Society are collaborating on an exhibit focusing on treaties and legal matters related to the war. The exhibit, at William Mitchell, includes reproductions of documents and photos from the Society’s collections and runs through March 30.

Interpretive Signage 
New historic markers at Historic Fort Snelling describe the internment camp and the hangings of Dakota Chiefs Shakopee and Medicine Bottle. A third, to tell the story of the Indian Agency at Fort Snelling, will be added in spring 2012. At least nine historic markers at Fort Ridgely, the Lower Sioux Agency and the Upper Sioux Agency will be updated.

Historic Fort Snelling Interpretation 
Visitors can learn about the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 and its aftermath in an orientation film, a cell phone tour and on the fort’s new website, Detailed information about the Indian Agency and treaties is now available in the wood barracks. New signage about the Indian Agency will be installed by May 1. A travelling exhibit titled “Why Treaties Matter: Self-government in the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations,” sponsored by the Minnesota Humanities Center, will be at the fort May 1-30.

Historic Fort Snelling Online Lesson 
A multimedia computer lesson will teach students in grades 9-12 about the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 through the interpretation of primary resources. Classes can access the hour-long lesson online or at Historic Fort Snelling in fall 2012.

Virtual Tour: Fort Snelling Perspectives 
Thousands of digitized maps, photos, letters and government documents relating to Fort Snelling will be available on the Historic Fort Snelling website, Three computer models of Fort Snelling will illustrate the fort during three time periods including 1862. The website will complement on-site interpretation at the fort, offer educational content for students and teachers, and allow everyone to visit Historic Fort Snelling via the web. The models were built by the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia in collaboration with the Minnesota Historical Society.

New MNHS Press Publications 
“Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life,” by Diane Wilson, investigates how Dakota people are transforming the legacy of colonization and assimilation into a better way of life for their children. August 2011.

“Dakota Women’s Work: Creativity, Culture and Exile,” by Colette Hyman, examines how the decorative work of Dakota women embodies the culture, spirit and history of the Dakota people, before, during and after exile. April 2012.

“Lincoln and the Indians,” by David A. Nichols, is the only thorough treatment of Lincoln’s American Indian policy during the Civil War and the corrupt “Indian System” of government aid that mainly benefited ambitious whites. May 2012.

“Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask,” by Anton Treuer, addresses more than 100 stereotype-debunking questions with solid information, humor and compassion. May 2012.

“The Dakota Prisoner of War Letters: Dakota Kaskapi Okicize Wowapi,” by Clifford Canku and Michael Simon, shares 50 extraordinary letters written by Dakota men imprisoned after the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. The letters give direct witness to a harsh and painful history still felt by Minnesotans today. September 2012.

“Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota,” by Gwen Westerman and Bruce White, tells the detailed history of the Dakota people in their traditional homelands for hundreds of year prior to exile. September 2012.

“Tokaheya Dakota Iapi Kin: Beginning Dakota, 24 Language and Grammar Lessons with glossaries,” by Nicolette Knudson, Jody Snow and Clifford Canku. The Workbook, Teacher’s Edition and digital audio downloads of spoken word Dakota and English to accompany lessons will be available in spring 2012. Workbook, December 2010. Teacher’s Edition, August 2011.

A complete list of MNHS Press titles can be found at