OPINION | Dakota War of 1862: Educators and local historians deserve credit for their hard work and fair-mindedness

In a recent piece on popular understandings of the conflict between settlers and Dakota peoples in 1862, Sheila Regan describes the general view portrayed by the Forest City Stockade Festival: “that the Dakota attacked the innocent settlers, that the pioneers bravely fought to defend themselves, that the Dakota got what they deserved.” She goes on to suggest that this is a common view of the events of 1862. I have been attending the festival since its beginning in 1976; my parents were founding members of the Stockade Committee. I think the view represented in Regan’s article is incomplete in a couple of important ways.First of all, this festival is mostly a presentation of life in the late 19th Century; the gathering together of community activities in and around the stockade is a convenient way of summarizing life in Minnesota in the 1860s. The account of relations between natives and settlers is a small part of what the festival does. Continue Reading