Metropolitan State University Ethnic Studies Department: Offer "The Dakota of Minnesota: Genocide, Survival, & Recovery" in 2012
  • Petitioned Nantawan Lewis

This petition was delivered to:

Chair, Ethnic Studies Department, Metropolitan State University
Nantawan Lewis
President, Metropolitan State University
Sue Hammersmith
Chancellor, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
Steven J. Rosenstone
Dean, Metropolitan State University
Becky Omdahl

Metropolitan State University Ethnic Studies Department: Offer "The Dakota of Minnesota: Genocide, Survival, & Recovery" in 2012

    1. Zack Anderson
    2. Petition by

      Zack Anderson

      Minneapolis, MN

The Ethnic Studies department at Metropolitan State University, in St. Paul, MN, has decided that it is not important to offer a unique class which teaches the truth of the Dakota War of 1862, a pivotal episode in the tragic history of the genocide of the indigenous peoples of Minnesota. Dr. Chris Mato Nunpa has taught this class once before as a "special topic" section for Fall 2011 in the Ethnic Studies department, and the expectation was that the class would be offered in the Fall of 2012. The Fall of 2012 coincides with the 150th anniversary of the Dakota War, and this class would be an integral part of the efforts to teach the truths that the Minnesota Historical Society would prefer to hide:

* The truth about the broken treaties and land theft of what is now the Twin Cities metropolitan area
* The truth about the forced marches of women and children, and the brutality suffered by those forced to march at the hands of the white inhabitants of towns such as Henderson and New Ulm
* The truth about the concentration camp at Fort Snelling, such as children used for target practice and soldiers urinating on the womens' tipis at night
* The truth about the mass burning of sacred objects such as pipes, and the "winter counts" of the Dakota -- their census and history records destroyed by the fires of Bishop Whipple
* The truth about the bounties placed on Dakota scalps by Minnesota's first governor, Alexander Ramsey
* The truth about the largest mass execution in US history -- 38 Dakota warriors hung the day after Christmas in 1862, after flawed trials, some of which lasted no longer than 5 minutes
* The truth about the exile of the Dakota people from their ancient homeland of Mnisota M'dote
* The truth about the continued exploitation of Dakota land and the effects of genocide, exile, and dispossession on the survivors of the Dakota Holocaust

Dr. Nantawan Lewis, Chair of the Ethnic Studies department, does not believe that this information is important enough to ALL citizens of Minnesota to offer even ONE class of 25 students, and has deflected the issue with a press release intended to reframe the debate as a bureaucratic scheduling issue. A march to the school and an informational rally was attended by much of the administration of the college, including the President, but neither Dr. Lewis, nor any of her colleagues in the Ethnic Studies department deigned to attend to address this issue.

Please join us by showing your support and saying YES, these are truths that need to be told, especially in the sesquicentennial of the Dakota War of 1862, no matter what the budget has nominally allocated, or how politically unpleasant these truths may be for the white inhabitants of Minnesota or the students of Metropolitan State University.

Recent signatures


    1. URGENT!!! MSU CANCELS Dakota Genocide class 1 week before semester!

      Zack Anderson
      Petition Organizer

      Sent on: Aug 23, 2012

      Dear Supporters of "Decolonize Metro State" and the teaching of the
      truth of the Dakota Genocide,

      Due to "low enrollment", Metropolitan State University has CANCELLED
      the class that you have signed our petition for! With less than a week
      to go before the semester begins, the school has decided to let the
      TRUTH of the GENOCIDE of the Dakota people go UNTAUGHT at Metro this fall -- the 150th anniversary of the US-Dakota War of 1862.

      It is bad enough that Metro State stands on land that was stolen from
      the Dakota, but an institution of the State of Minnesota is silencing Dr. Mato Nunpa, a fifth-generation survivor of the Dakota Genocide, committed by that same State. Metro State is guilty of the same GENOCIDE DENIAL as the Minnesota Historical Society, Governor Mark Dayton, and the rest of the colonial institutions of occupied Minnesota. If this class
      is not taught, this fall becomes yet another chapter in the genocidal history of colonial Minnesota.

    2. Reached 250 signatures
    3. Victory! Metro State to offer Dakota Genocide course in 2012!

      Zack Anderson
      Petition Organizer

      The TRUTH about the genocide of the Dakota people -- invasion, the broken treaties, land theft, forced marches, concentration camps, and the largest mass execution in US history -- will be told at Metro State this fall. The Communication department is offering COMM 499: "Applied Intercultural Communication and Dakota History", taught by Dr. Chris Mato Nunpa and Dr. Kathryn Kelley, for the Fall 2012 semester. This is an unspeakably important and emotional victory, as the 150th year anniversary of the Dakota War of 1862 is also this fall. Decolonize Metro State considers this a historic collaboration between the Dakota Oyate, an occupied nation, and Metropolitan State University, an institution of the government that continues to occupy Dakota land.

      Also, please note: the Ethnic Studies department is not offering this class. Decolonize Metro State is nonetheless committed to its goal of Dr. Mato Nunpa teaching RELS 322, as well as the development of a full Indigenous Studies department.

    4. Reached 100 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • keith van beek BUFFALO, MN
      • about 2 years ago

      TRUTH must be Told.

    • Kris Gullord ALBERT LEA, MN
      • about 2 years ago

      Because I am an educator and I believe the truth needs to be accurately taught.

    • Celena Montantes HAPEVILLE, GA
      • about 2 years ago

      I am supporting friends and family

    • Linda Bolstad SAUK CENTRE, MN
      • about 2 years ago

      To make a change

    • Patricia Hobot LAKEVILLE, MN
      • over 2 years ago

      These are my relatives!


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