A lesson in living history today in Flandreau as a large group of people made the 17 mile march from Flandreau to near-by Pipestone, Minnesota.
150 years ago, the state of Minnesota exiled the Dakota people from western Minnesota after a war involving U-S troops and Native Americans from several different tribes. That exile order has now been officially lifted and today, the Dakota people went back to their ancestral home.
You may hear the driving beat of a drum...but some who listen to this hear a heartbeat.....and proof that strong, proud people can survive almost anything.
"We're still here after 150 years. We're still here. We're still alive." This is an emotional day for Devin Drapeau. He has a front row seat to the next chapter of a story that is more than a century old. A story born out of conflict between the Dakota people and the early settlers of western Minnesota, a story that escalated to a war. Faith Spotted Eagle's great-grandmother nearly lost her life in the conflict. "She was able to escape on one of the hoses that belonged to the military and she was able to get her two brothers out of the camp. If she hadn't done that, I probably wouldn't be here today."
The U-S - Dakota war ended with the mass execution of 38 Dakota men in Mankato. The wounds of that war have run deep for 150 years: compounded by thoughts of fear and doubt. Current Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton officially rescinded the exile order for the Dakota people...and this walk marks the first time in a century-and-a-half...that the Dakota have been officially welcome in Minnesota. "It's a symbolic march for the Dakota people who were exiled out of Minnesota. We're going home today."
Going home. a thought most take for granted. It is the hope of many here, that this move also leads to healing...not only for the Dakota...but for everyone in this region. "If it doesn't there is something wrong. There's something wrong if it doesn't bring...if people don't recognize it because people are still in denial."
Faith Spotted Eagle says she believes the United States government remains in denial about the events of the U-S - Dakota war....because Faith says in that conflict...the government waged war on it's own citizens.
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