Minnesota History: Building A Legacy

U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 Sesquicentennial

  • Project Overview
  • Project Details

Project Overview

2012 marked the 150th year since the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, a disastrous time in Minnesota history. The Minnesota Historical Society has been offering many new ways for people to learn about the war, its causes and its aftermath and how its bitter consequences are still felt
today. Commemorative programs and resources include:

U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 Website—The Minnesota Historical Society launched a unique, comprehensive website enriched with video, audio, interactive tools and primary sources to illuminate this profoundly important time in Minnesota and U.S. history. The site, www.usdakotawar.org, is designed for teachers, students, researchers and everybody else interested in the broader national causes of the
war, the war itself and its far-reaching consequences.

Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byways Mobile Tour—This new mobile tour offers intriguing stories and reflections about historic sites along the Minnesota River Valley, the people who lived there and the lasting impact of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. The tour can be accessed by calling 888-601-3010 from any location. A travel guide that includes a map of the mobile tour can be downloaded at www.usdakotawar.org/mobiletour. More stops will be added in 2013. Society staff matched $46,800 in ACHF funding with $183,000 for the mobile tour from the National Scenic Byways Discretionary Grants Program administered by the Federal Highway Administration. 

Oral History Project—Minnesota Historical Society staff members have recorded dozens of oral histories from Dakota and settler descendants of those touched  by the war. Audio and transcripts are available at www.usdakotawar.org/stories. Minnesota Historical
Society staff conducted interviews in homes throughout the Minnesota River Valley as well as in tribal community centers on Dakota reservations. 

• Legalities Exhibit and Symposium—William Mitchell College of Law and the Society collaborated on an exhibit focusing on treaties and legal matters related to the war. The exhibit, on view through March 2012 at William Mitchell, also travelled to the Brown County
Historical Society in the summer of 2012. In October 2012, William Mitchell and the Society co-sponsored a symposium at the law school titled, “The Law and the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.” 

• Art Exhibit—The Society partnered with the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) and All My Relations Arts to sponsor an exhibition of work by 20 contemporary American Indian artists. Titled “Ded Unk’unpi, We Are Here,” the exhibition
opened in August 2012 at All My Relations Gallery and in October traveled to the James J. Hill House in St. Paul. 

• New Interpretive Signage—Ten historic markers at Fort Ridgely, the Lower Sioux Agency and the Upper Sioux Agency were installed in spring 2012 to replace old signs with outdated language. 

Project Details

The Minnesota Historical Society will raise awareness of the significance of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 by communicating the experiences of Dakota and non-Dakota people before, during and after the war.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
Laws of Minnesota for 2011 First Special Session, Chapter 6, Article 4, Section 2 Subdivision 5, as amended by laws of Minnesota, 2012, Chapter 264, Article 5, Section 4.

Appropriation Language
Programs. $4,800,000 the first year and $5,200,000 the second year are for programs and purposes related to the historical and cultural heritage of the state of Minnesota, conducted by the Minnesota Historical Society.

Funding Amount: $429,621

Direct Expenses: $429,621

Project Manager

Deborah Locke
Minnesota Historical Society
345 Kellogg Boulevard West
St. Paul, MN 55102

Subject: History

Administering Agency

Minnesota Historical Society

Board Members:

William R. Stoeri, President
Missy Staples Thompson, First Vice President
Ruth Huss, Vice President
D. Stephen Elliott, Secretary
Dean M. Nelson, Treasurer

Suzanne Blue, Robert Bruininks, Brenda J. Child, Judith S. Corson, D. Stephen Elliott
Phyllis Rawls Goff, William D. Green, David R. Hakensen, Ruth S. Huss, Martha Kaemmer, Dennis L. Lamkin, David M. Larson, Charles Mahar, Dean M. Nelson
Dennis Nguyen, Elizabeth M. Nordlie, Peter Reis, Hussein Samatar, Simon Stevens
Susan Kenny Stevens, William R. Stoeri, Karen Wilson Thissen, Missy Staples Thompson, Eleanor Winston

Mark Dayton, Governor
Yvonne Prettner Solon, Lieutenant Governor
Mark Ritchie, Secretary of State
Lori Swanson, Attorney General
Rebecca Otto, State Auditor

Measurable Outcomes

This project has left users/visitors/participants with a greater interest in Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage. This project has increased the likelihood that users/visitors/participants will recommend the Minnesota Historical Society to their friends and family. This project has increased the likelihood of the user/visitor/participant rating the Minnesota Historical Society as a valuable resource to Minnesota. This project has increased the likelihood that teachers view the Minnesota Historical Society as a valuable resource for teaching. This project will increase the likelihood that teachers will recommend the Minnesota Historical Society to other teachers as a resource for teaching. The project has increased the views of researchers/professional historians that the Minnesota Historical Society is a valuable resource for conducting research. The project has increased the likelihood that researchers/professional historians researchers will recommend the Minnesota Historical Society to others in their field as a resource for conducting research.

Quick Facts

Project Type: Statewide Programs

Parent Project:

Funding Amount: $429,621

Appropriation Years: 2012 2013

Activity Type: Education/Outreach/Engagement

Counties Impacted: Statewide

MN Senate District: All Districts

MN House District: All Districts

FTEs (Full-Time Equivalent Positions Directly Created): 1.20

This site is updated regularly with descriptions and data related to Legacy projects funded through the Minnesota Historical Society by the Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (ACHF).
Further information about the use and impact of all Legacy Funds can be found on the Minnesota Legislative Coordinating Commission's Minnesota's Legacy site.