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.
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