Nov 7-13: Support the Marchers

The faith community is encouraged to help support the Dakota people who are participating in the November 7-13, 2012 Dakota Commemorative March and their organizers.  Through this site, we hope to help streamline non-Dakota positive intentions into a more effective and culturally appropriate manner by sharing information that is provided to our group. We stress that this is THEIR march and we are simply offering to come along and support their prayers by providing logistical assistance.  The Dakota elders will then accept whatever assistance we offer as THEY deem appropriate and good. 

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

November 13 - Ways for Non-Dakota People to Support/Attend the March as it Concludes

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

As a religious leader or member of a faith community, you are invited to support the Dakota Commemorative March at a ceremony on Tuesday, November 13, 2012, 12:30 p.m. at Fort Snelling State Park. This is the latest in a series of events to remember the Dakota-U.S. War of 1862 and its aftermath, a tragic part of our state’s history that we do not know well. The ceremony will remember the 150th anniversary of the forced march of 1,700 Dakota women, children and elders following the war. These Dakota were non-combatants and had surrendered. Troops forced them to walk 150 miles from the Lower Sioux Agency in southern Minnesota to their imprisonment near Fort Snelling. During the march, an unknown number of defenseless Dakota were killed by mobs of angry townspeople and soldiers.

On Nov. 7, a group of women from the Lower Sioux Indian Community (Can sa yapi Otunwe) will begin a seven-day, 150-mile walk through southern Minnesota to remember and grieve their ancestors. The commemorative march will end November 13 with the ceremony at Fort Snelling State Park. This is the site of the concentration camp where the Dakota were held, and where approximately 300 died during the winter of 1862-63. The commemorative march organizers have issued an open invitation to all Minnesotans to come and join in the closing ceremony.
Healing Minnesota Stories, a project of the Saint Paul Interfaith Network (SPIN), is helping to organize support for the march, and is encouraging people of faith to participate in the ceremony. The broken promises and wrongs done to American Indians have been invisible for too long. Churches and all faith communities can play a key role in promoting and experiencing healing by opening themselves to their own history, making amends, and listening to the stories of Native people at events such as this.
People of faith are invited to participate in one or more of the following ways on Nov. 13:
·   Attend the Nov. 13 Ceremony: The ceremony is scheduled to start at 12:30 at Fort Snelling State Park, but the time is flexible, depending on when walkers arrive.  A feast will follow the ceremony at St. Bonaventure Catholic Church. (More details on transportation options are included below.)

·   Walk and Witness: You can join the commemorative march as it resumes the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 13. The original marchers were met by violence and abuse all along the route. This year, we can join in receiving them as brothers and sisters. (More details on how to join the walk are included below.)

·   Volunteer or Contribute: There are many ways you can help. Volunteers are needed to help prepare and serve the feast. Healing Minnesota Stories is raising money to help pay for the feast and other expenses. For more information on how to help, email  or send contributions to “SPACC/SPIN” at 1671 Summit Ave., St. Paul 55105, and put with Healing Minnesota Stories in memo line.

·   Pray.  The circumstances and anger that triggered the war, added to the cruelty of its aftermath. They continue to reverberate in relations between European- and Indigenous Americans and call us to prayer and discernment to find ways to build bridges and right wrongs.

Thank you for considering participation and/or assistance with this significant event. More information on how to participate is included below and at .


HMS Planning Group

For those interested in walking or attending the ceremony on Nov. 13:

Non-Dakota people are asked to register for whatever parts of this day’s events they wish to participate in by clicking on and indicating your intentions. This will help in planning the day’s event. Orientation for all non-Dakota people will be provided at the beginning of each point where they will be joining the march or ceremony, including information on appropriate participation.

Additional details are available at:  Options include the following:

·   Meet at 7 a.m. at St. Bonaventure Church at 901 East 90th Street in Bloomington and join the walk to Fort Snelling State Park (approximately 7 miles).
·   Meet no later than 8 a.m. at the 28th Avenue Light Rail transit station east of the Mall of America for orientation. Join at the end of the procession once the walkers pass.
·   Meet no later than 11 a.m. at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 1405 Sibley Memorial Hwy., Mendota 55120, for orientation and to join in the march just before it crosses the Mendota Bridge; walk to Fort Snelling State Park, (approximately 1.5 miles, 1 hour walk).
·   Meet no later than noon at St. Bonaventure Catholic Church 901 East 90th Street in Bloomington for transportation to the ceremony (approx. 12:30 p.m.) at Fort Snelling State Park.
·   You may drive to the ceremony at the State Park site (below Mendota Bridge, off Post Rd. at Hwy 5—not the upper historic fort site); you will need a State Park pass to enter and parking is limited.

At the conclusion of the ceremony (about 1:15 p.m.) bus/van transportation will be available to return all to St. Bonaventure for a feast, which is expected to begin at approximately 2 p.m., and to vehicles at St. Bonaventure or at St. Peter’s church.

November 7 - 13
The group of Dakota people will have an opening prayer on the morning of November 7, 2012 at the Lower Sioux Agency Historical Site/Interpretive Center on Redwood County Road 2 near Morton Minnesota.  After leaving the site, the group will walk with prayer stakes and ties regardless of the weather.  Along the way, approximately each mile, the group will offer prayers and tobacco after a stake is respectfully hammered into the ground and the name is read aloud.  Each stake records the name of one of the families that was brought on the walk in 1862, many of whom have descendants participating on the walk.  This is not a parade.  It is a spiritual prayer walk of approximately 20 miles per day, leading from Morton to the concentration camp at Fort Snelling.  All remaining stakes are erected at Bdote (below the bluff of Fort Snelling), near the confluence of the Mississippi River and Minnesota River on Tuesday November 13, the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Dakota's ancestors to this very spot.

When is the Walk?November 7-13, 2012: the historic dates 150 years ago that the Dakota women, children and elderly were force-marched from the Lower Sioux Agency (near Morton Minnesota) to Fort Snelling.  This commemorative walk has been held every other year since 2008.

What can I do to help?
Check your motives and expectations
Welcome those on their journey during the March, Nov 7-13 (map coming soon)
Learn (check out some current resources)
Tell others

Provide funds to one of the sources coordinating donations:

--Send your tax deductible gift to Bloomington Daymakers Rotary Foundation
(Incorporated 5/17/2005)
7500 Flying Cloud Drive, Suite 800, Eden Prairie, MN 55344.
Designate your gift for Healing Minnesota Stories

--Send tax-deductible check payable to: St. Paul Area Council of Churches,
  and put "SPIN-Healing Minnesota Stories" in the memo line
  1671 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul MN 55105.

-- On-line: at; click “Donate” and type “HMS” in the “Dedicate this gift to….” line.

Volunteer for logistics support for the marchers
Be a greeter
Help coordinate transportation
Offer to help prepare, serve or clean-up the feast
Offer overnight accommodations and showers
Offer your bus/bus driver
Offer to provide a meal Nov. 7-12

From "In the Footsteps of our Ancestors"  Living Justice Press (2006). p 270 
Waziyatawin Angela Wilson, editor.

Wasicus' (white) Reasons for Participating
"One of the issues that has become increasingly clear since we first walked in 2002 is that our greatest Wasicu allies are those people who are capable of critical self-reflection.  Many liberal-minded Wasicus would be happy to support the march if it in no way jeopardized their power base, their status or their ideologies...As long as they remain in denial, they cannot support our cause, nor can we feel good about their superficial participation in our march.  We suspect such people are drawn to participating to ease their guilty consciences rather than to support the liberation of our People.  While they are a long way from the colonizers who revel in their privilege or power and feel no regret or responsibility for the suffering of the oppressed, their inability to take responsibility for their role in the oppression of others means the outcome is the same for the oppressed...At the other end of the spectrum are those people who believe in their complicity in our oppression and who want to help us challenge the institutions and forces that maintain our subjugation.  They understand our interconnectedness and they support our struggle for liberation, because they recognize it as their struggle too..."

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