Remembering the Forced March of 1862

"Manipi Hena Owasin Wicunkiksuyapi"
We Remember All Those Who Walked

For non-Dakota guests, please visit 

Dakota Commemorative March from Lower Sioux Agency (near Morton MN) to Fort Snelling
Wed. November 7 to Tues. November 13, 2012

HISTORY: (From the 2008 site
"We will again begin a 150-mile journey in honor of the Dakota men, women, and children who were forcibly removed to concentration camps at Mankato and Fort Snelling in November 1862.
For the Dakota this commemoration signifies an opportunity to remember and grieve for the suffering endured by their ancestors as well as to relate a perspective of the event which has rarely been told.

"On November 7, 1862, a group of about 1,700 Dakota, primarily women, children and elderly, were force-marched in a four-mile long procession from the Lower Sioux Agency to a concentration camp at Fort Snelling. Two days later, after being tried and convicted, over 300 condemned men who were awaiting news of their execution were shackled and placed in wagons then transported to a concentration camp in Mankato, Minnesota.
Drawing from Harper's New Monthly Magazine, June 1863 New Ulm citizens attacking Dakota captives

"Both groups had surrendered to the United States army at the end of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, believing they would be treated humanely as prisoners of war. Instead, the men were separated out and tried as war criminals by a five-man military tribunal. As many as forty cases were tried in a single day, some taking as little as five minutes. Upon completion of the trials, 307 men were condemned to death and 16 were given prison sentences. 

"The remaining Dakota people, primarily women, children, and elderly were then forced to endure brutal conditions as they were forcibly marched to Fort Snelling and then imprisoned in Minnesota's first concentration camp through a difficult winter.

"As both groups were paraded through Minnesota towns on their way to the camps, white citizens of Minnesota lined the streets to taunt and assault the defenseless Dakota. Poignant and painful oral historical accounts detail the abuses suffered by Dakota people on these journeys. In addition to suffering cold, hunger, and sickness, the Dakota also endured having rotten food, rocks, sticks and even boiling water thrown at them. An unknown number of men, women and children died along the way from beatings and other assaults perpetrated by both soldiery and citizens. Dakota people of today still do not know what became of their bodies.

"After 38 of the condemned men were hanged the day after Christmas in 1862 in what remains the largest mass hanging in United States history, the other prisoners continued to suffer in the (Mankato) concentration camp through the winter of 1862-63. In late April of 1863 the remaining condemned men, along with the survivors of the Fort Snelling concentration camp, were forcibly removed from their beloved homeland in May of 1863. They were placed on boats which transported the men from Mankato to Davenport, Iowa where they were imprisoned for an additional three years. Those from Fort Snelling were shipped down the Mississippi River to St. Louis and then up the Missouri River to the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota.
A memorial to some of those people was dedicated at Crow Creek in 2001."

Background Resources: 

"Trail of Tears: Minnesota's Dakota Indian Exile Begins."  Mary H Bakeman and Antona M Richardson, editors. Prairie Echoes Press, Park Geneological Books (2oo8) ISBN1-932212-24-8

"In the Footsteps of Our Ancestors: The Dakota Commemorative Marches of the 21st Century."
Waziyatawin Angela Wilson, editor. (2006) Living Justice Press ISBN 0-9721886-2-2 
651-695-1008 to order print copies in Minnesota directly from publisher

You are cautioned to remember that written white history does not have exclusive authority.

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