‘Year of the Dakota’: Minneapolis resolution uses unprecedented honesty, St. Paul to follow suit

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While the Resolution was being read in the Minneapolis City Council chambers, there were tears in the eyes of some of the Native People present. For me, it was significant that the Resolution contained such words as “Genocide,” “Bounties,” “Concentration Camps,” “Forced Marches,” etc. I have, and had, never seen any white governmental entity, at any level – national, state, local, etc. – use such terms in one of their official documents. I never thought I would ever see such a document in my lifetime. Now, I have, and I am so pleased.

This opens the door to Truth-Telling. My wife, Mary Beth Faimon, said, “The unspeakable has now become speakable!”

A female Native college instructor read this Resolution to her college class on Saturday morning, December 15, 2012, and she (Pat Amo) described the situation as “very emotional,” “with many tears.”

Most of us Indigenous Peoples never thought that the white man would ever admit to Genocide and to any of the Crimes Agains Humanity that were perpetrated against the Dakota People of Minnesota and against the Indigenous Peoples of the United States.

Now, on Wednesday, January 09, 2013, the St. Paul City Council will consider passage of the Minneapolis Resolution. It appears that this will, indeed, happen, with 6 “yes” votes out of 7.

I regard the passage of this Resolution as “historic.” Pat Amo used the term “monumental.”

**** In my opinion, this, the passage of thte Minneapolis Resolution, was the most significant accomplishment of the year 2012, the Sesquicentennial of the Dakota-U.S War of 1862. ****

I state the above opinion because this resolution is an action, it is not symbolic, it is tangible, and this action will lead to other positive actions such as Truth-Telling!

By the way, we, some of us Dakota academics, use the title “The Dakota-U.S. War of 1862” because it was the Dakota who declared war. The United States did not. To them, the U.S., it was a “conflict” – like the “Korean Conflict” or the “Viet Nam Conflict.” The U.S. didn’t declare war in these situations either, even though it was war.

RESOLUTION of the CITY OF MINNEAPOLIS

By Lilligren, Gordon, Reich, Hofstede, Johnson, Samuels, Goodman, Glidden, Schiff, Tuthill, Quincy, Colvin Roy, and Hodges.

Recognizing the 150th Anniversary of the Dakota-U.S. War of 1862 and Declaring 2012-2013 the Year of the Dakota in Minneapolis.

Whereas, the year 2012 is the sesquicentennial of the beginning of the Dakota-U.S. War of 1862 that led to the mass execution of 38 Dakota, the largest in the history of the United States, and the genocide of the Dakota people; and

Whereas, much has yet to be learned about issues revolving around land, reparations and restitution, treaties, genocide, suppression of American Indian spirituality and ceremonies, suppression of Indigenous languages, bounties, concentration camps, forced marches, mass executions, and forcible removals; and

Whereas, Indigenous women, children and elderly were held in a concentration camp at the base of Fort Snelling, separated from the men, before being exiled to reservations in neighboring states and Canada, and later being stripped of their culture and traditions in boarding schools and subjected to white culture and religions; and

Whereas, the complete history of Minnesota must be taught from the perspective of all people that have lived it;

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved by the City Council of The City of Minneapolis:

That every effort must be made to ensure that the Dakota perspective is presented during the year 2012-2013, through discussions at forums, events, symposia, conferences and workshops, to include the complex issues listed above;

Be It Further Resolved that the City of Minneapolis works to promote the well-being and growth of the American Indian community, including Dakota People.

Be It Further Resolved that these efforts during the years 2012 and 2013 will mark the beginning of future dialogues and efforts to rectify the wrongs that were perpetrated during, and since, the year 1862, a tragic and traumatic event for the Dakota People of Minnesota.

Be It Further Resolved that the year 2012-2013 is hereby designated “The Year of the Dakota: Remembering, Honoring, and Truth-Telling,” from December 26, 2012 to December 26, 2013.

Also in the Daily Planet:

An historic gathering for the Dakota in Mankato, December 26, 2012 (Lisa Steinmann, 2012)

Telling the story today: The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 (Sheila Regan, 2010)

Trail of treaties: The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 (Sheila Regan, 2010)

Dakota protesters meet sesquicentennial wagon train (Scott Russell, 2008)