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Ellen Helgeson's story

  • August 13, 2012 - 2:34 PM

I worked for a time at Tiospa Zina Tribal School near Sisseton, SD. The school is located on the Sisseton/Wahpeton Reservation. There is poverty there, but also a sadness to the people, an inherited depression, from the events that happened to their people in the past. 

I met many wonderful people there, and heard their stories. But the most moving account of the events of 1862 in Minnesota is told by the documentary "Dakota 38." It is based on the vision of a Native American man named Jim Miller. He came to the school and spoke to the staff, and showed us the film. It left us in tears. After the film, we were sent to discuss it in groups, white staff with Native American staff. It was shocking to me the pain that many of the Native American people still carry.  There were many tears in my discussion room. I also was shocked that I grew up in the Minnesota River Valley in Minnesota, but had never heard of these stories until I worked in this Native American school. I believe the film is by Smoothfeather Productions. 

Ellen Helgeson

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