Tricounty News

Marking the Sesquicentennial

Of the U.S.-Dakota War

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and Rep. Dean Urdahl, co-chairs of the Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force, invite media representatives to attend two historic events on Aug. 16-17 and 19, marking the 150th anniversary of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. This conflict resulted in hundreds of casualties, led to the forced exile of Dakota (Sioux) Indian tribes from their homeland and strained relations between the U.S. Government, American Indians and early settlers for decades.


"Legacy of Survival" Ceremony and Homecoming

Aug. 16-17, (two-day camp)

Friday, Aug. 17, Approximately 1 p.m.

Sponsored by the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribal Community and several other organizations, including the Minnesota Historical Society, this event represents a symbolic return to Minnesota by the exiled Dakota Nation. It includes a two-day camp at the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribal Community in Flandreau, S.D., Aug. 16-17. It culminates in a 20-mile walk and relay from Flandreau to the sacred quarry at the Pipestone National Monument in Pipestone, Minn., on Friday,

Aug. 17. It is a symbolic "re-entering" of the Dakota homeland that celebrates tribal survival through 150 years of exile and hardship. Ceremonies and speeches from tribal and elected officials will take place at the completion of the walk at approximately 1 p.m.

Organizers say the event will showcase Dakota culture, history, and a native language that "has persisted despite the effects of removal, boarding schools, relocation, and termination." All Minnesotans, Indians and non-Indians alike, are invited to attend the ceremony.

For times and details, contact JB Weston at the Flandreau Tribal Historic Preservation Office: (605) 997-3891 Ext. 1213 or 1252, or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Note: Pipestone National Monument is in Pipestone, Minn., approximately 200 miles southwest of Minneapolis.

Outdoor service at historic Ness Church

"Wiping of the Tears" and "Dance of Unity" Ceremonies in Litchfield Aug. 19

This public, outdoor prayer service of hope and healing will take place Sunday, Aug. 19, at the historic Ness Church near Litchfield. A unique prayer service will include a traditional Dakota "Wiping of the Tears" ceremony led by Rev. Alan Kitto, a Dakota Indian and ordained Presbyterian minister.

Ness Church is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the burial site for five pioneer Minnesotans who died Aug. 17, 1862. This event precipitated the U.S.-Dakota War.

The prayer service which includes the "Wiping of the Tears" ceremony will honor all who died in the conflict. The service will feature four Dakota speakers and four non-Indian speakers, including Urdahl, R-Acton Township. Mark Ritchie also will be speaking, as well as Stephen Elliott of the Minnesota Historical Society. Urdahl has authored several historical novels set in the time frame of the Dakota War and serves as co-chair of the Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force. A traditional Dakota Ceremony of Healing and "Dance of Unity" will be led by Rev. Alan Kitto, a Presbyterian minister and a Dakota sun dancer from Lincoln, Neb.

"If we can heal spiritually, a lot of good things will happen,"

Rev. Kitto said.

Directions to Ness Church: Litchfield, is approximately an hour drive west of the Twin Cities, on Minnesota Highway 12. The church is about 5 miles southwest of Litchfield.

Suggested route: Take Co. Rd. 1 to 243rd Street, go right 1.5 miles to 580th Avenue and turn left.