Dayton declares remembrance of U.S.-Dakota War

Emma Nelson

In recognition of the 150th anniversary of the U.S.-Dakota War, Governor Mark Dayton has declared Friday a Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation.

Five settlers in Meeker County were killed by a group of Dakota men on August 17, 1862, instigating a 6-week war in which hundreds were killed.

According to the Associated Press, Dayton said in a statement released Thursday that "Detestable acts are still perpetrated by members of one group against the other. Present grievances, added to past offenses, make it difficult to commemorate the past, yet not continue it.”

Dayton's statement also condemned a threat by Alexander Ramsey, the state's first governor, to "exterminate" the Dakota people, the Star Tribune reported. Following the killing of 600 settlers, Ramsey spoke to the legislature in September 1862, saying, “Our course then is plain. The Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the State. . ."

Dayton said in his statement that he is "appalled" by Ramsey's address, adding, "The viciousness and violence, which were commonplace 150 years ago in Minnesota, are not accepted or allowed now.”

Flags will be flown at half-staff on Friday, the Associated Press reported. According to the Star Tribune, a ceremony will be held on the border between Minnesota and South Dakota as a symbolic "welcome home" to the Dakotas exiled in the wake of the conflict.