A commemorative march will wind through New Ulm, Mankato, St. Peter, Henderson, Belle Plaine, Jordan, Shakopee and Bloomington starting this week, honoring the 1,700 Dakota women, children and elders who were forced to march 150 miles to a Fort Snelling stockade following the bloody 1862 U.S.-Dakota War.
Organizers hope the march 150 years later will serve as an opportunity to remember and relfect on this often overlooked chapter of Minnesota history.
The march starts Nov. 7 and concludes Nov. 13 at a 12:30 p.m. ceremony at the Fort Snelling State Park visitors center in Mendota Heights.
Broken treaties, starvation and late payments of food and gold prompted Dakota fighters to wage a six-week war against U.S. soldiers and immigrant settlers who had flooded into what then the 4-year-old state of Minnesota. Roughly 600 soldiers and settlers were killed and 38 Dakota fighters were hanged the day after Christmas in what remains the largest mass execution in U.S. history.
Details about the march can be found here or on the group's facebook page. The Star Tribune's six-part series on the war, "In the Footsteps of Little Crow," can be found at www.startribune.com/dakota. It includes videos, maps and a link to a $3 e-book.
The photo at right shows one of Little Crow's wives with some of their children at the Fort Snelling stockade. (Minnesota Historical Society photo)