479: Little War on the Prairie

479: Little War on the Prairie

Nov 23, 2012
Growing up in Mankato, Minnesota, John Biewen says, nobody ever talked about the most important historical event ever to happen there: in 1862, it was the site of the largest mass execution in U.S. history. Thirty-eight Dakota Indians were hanged after a war with white settlers. John went back to Minnesota to figure out what really happened 150 years ago, and why Minnesotans didn’t talk about it much after.
  • John meets up with Gwen Westerman, a Dakota woman who moved to Mankato twenty years ago, also having no idea about its history. Together they travel to historic sites across Minnesota, reconstructing the story of what led to the war between the Dakota and the settlers. Gwen is a professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and co-author of the book Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota. (25 minutes)History

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The original state seal of Minnesota, with the Indian riding off into the sunset.

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