Column: Minnesota baptized in Indian blood

"This isn't an ancient story. It is the story of Minnesota's original sin. And as we prepare for next year's 150th anniversary of statehood, we should remember history is a living and often painful thing. Some Minnesotans already are arguing -- on opinion pages and in letters to the editor -- over the Dakota War. If you thought the Sesquicentennial was going to be a Whiz Bang party celebrating Wheaties and Scotch Tape, you have been eating bad lutefisk. I mean, really bad lutefisk.

Minnesota was baptized in blood, and reminders are scattered across a vast landscape: A monument in a cornfield that marks the spot of a small settlement whose settlers -- all of them -- were surprised and killed on the first day of the war. A marker in a woods where more than 1,000 Indian women and children were imprisoned in a pen. A barren place on the Missouri River where hundreds died of starvation and disease after being "deported" by a new state that exiled the people whose language gave the state its name.

At the time of our Centennial in 1958, the story was reduced to Manifest Destiny skits about brave pioneers and wild Indians. Fifty years on, how do we talk like grown-ups about the war that made Minnesota at the same time we are celebrating the Eelpout Festival?"

Get the Story:
Nick Coleman:As Minnesota turns 150, how will it face up to its original sin? (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 12/23)

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