Column: New Indian lawmaker overcomes history of exclusion

"State Rep. Susan Allen will be the object of long looks when the Legislature commences this year's business on Tuesday -- and not just because she's the newbie.

The south Minneapolis DFLer, an attorney elected in a Jan. 10 special election, is the state's first-ever female American Indian legislator. She arrives at a portentous point in the long, never-easy relationship between Minnesota's indigenous and nonindigenous populations.

For one thing: This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Dakota War. That's an episode in state history too formative to ignore and too ugly to examine without pain.

A few years ago this column referred to the events in the Minnesota River valley in the summer of 1862. Reader response revealed that the famous William Faulkner line about the South -- "the past isn't over; it isn't even past" -- applies to Minnesota, too."

Get the Story:
Lori Sturdevant: Many issues at the Capitol, but one is especially poignant (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 1/22)

Related Stories:
Indian woman wins special election to Minnesota Legislature (1/11)
MinnPost: Indian attorney wins endorsement for state seat (11/15)

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