To the editor:
The following is a resolution of the city of Minneapolis which was brought forth by Cam Gordon, Robert Lilligren, et al. It was passed Dec. 14 and signed by Barbara Johnson, the president of the Minneapolis City Council on behalf of the council and approved by Mayor R. T. Rybak. The resolution recognizes the 150th Anniversary of the Dakota-U.S. War of 1862 and declares 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 Dec. 26, 2012, to Dec. 26, 2013."
As the resolution was read in the Minneapolis Council Chambers, there were tears in the eyes of some of the Native People present. Note the terms: Genocide, bounties, concentration camps, forced marches, etc. which are in the resolution. As far as I know, this is the first document at any level of the white government - national, state or local - to use these terms in an official document, namely this resolution re: what really happened to not only the Dakota People of Minnesota but also to the Indigenous Peoples of the U.S.
Chris Mato Nunpa, Ph.D.
Retired former associate professor
Indigenous Nations & Dakota Studies
Chairman, Board of Directors
Oceti Sakowin Omniciye (OSO), "Seven Fires Summit"