Opinion: Charting for a better future in Minnesota-Dakota relations

"Fifty years after the Civil War's brutal 1863 bloodbath at Gettysburg, veterans from both the Union and the Confederacy came in goodly numbers to a battlefield reunion.

Accounts at the time said that boys who had gone off to war had become old men who "reunited in brotherly love and affection." When Pickett's Charge was reenacted, it ended with two lines of old soldiers embracing as fellow countrymen.

This summer marks the 150th anniversary of another bloody conflict. For six weeks in August and September 1862 -- while the rest of the nation's eyes were fixed on fighting in northern Virginia -- Dakota Indian men attacked and killed white settlers and soldiers in the Minnesota River valley before being subdued and captured themselves.

The 1862 death toll in what came to be called the Dakota War was never certain, but it ran well past 500, including 38 Dakota men who were hanged on Dec. 26, 1862, in Mankato. Many more Dakota people died in ensuing years of forced marches, fugitive hunts, imprisonment and exile in South Dakota and Nebraska."

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Lori Sturdevant: In recognition of history, a move to the future (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 7/8)

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