150 years later, Dakota War's wounds still cut deep





A 150-year-old loop of rope, knotted into a hangman's noose, sits in a climate-controlled case in the underground archives of the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul.

Some say it should be burned, buried or returned to the hands of the Dakota people.

Others argue it should be displayed, like piles of shoes at Holocaust museums, as a powerful artifact to help people confront the grim story of the U.S.-Dakota War, which erupted in Minnesota in 1862 and ended with the largest mass execution in U.S. history.

The noose, and just what to make of it, is one sign of the historical reckoning looming this year as Minnesotans wrestle with how to mark the 150th anniversary of one its ugliest, yet often overlooked, episodes.

"This will be a very challenging year -- the wounds are still deep," said Republican state Rep. Dean Urdahl, a longtime history teacher whose Grove City home is three miles from where the war broke out. His great-great-grandfather buried some of its first victims. "It was our state's greatest tragedy."...



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