Tricounty News

Historic 'Gathering of Descendants' of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 scheduled

A historic "Gathering of Descendants" of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 event is scheduled for Monday, Sept, 17, at Ridgewater College in Willmar.

The panel discussion event will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 17, at the College Cafeteria in the Student Services Building at Ridgewater College, 2101 15th Ave. N.W., Willmar, Minn.

All descendants of individuals and families who experienced the U.S.-Dakota War are specifically invited to attend the "Gathering of Descendants" and hear the stories of these descendants' family experiences in this war and its aftermath.

All students, historians, teachers and the public are also invited to attend this public event.

The "Gathering of Descendants" panel includes:

• Cora Jones, a Santee Sioux descendant of Minnesota and tribal secretary of the Santee Sioux Nation of Nebraska.

• Sheldon Wolfchild, a Dakota Nation descendant and a member of the Lower Sioux Indian Community of Morton and a Dakota filmmaker and producer. His current documentary "Star Dreamer: Part 1, the Indian System and The Causes of the 1862 War in Minnesota. He is also the former Tribal Chairman of the Lower Sioux Indian Community at Morton.

• Jeff Williamson, a descendant of the Williamson, Pond and Hopkins families. His ancestors were Presbyterian missionaries, who served as advocates for the Dakota Nation and served in ministerial roles for the various Dakota communities in Minnesota, the Dakotas and Nebraska.

• Terry Sveine, a descendant of a New Ulm settler, who was an immigrant from Luxembourg.

• John LaBatte, a New Ulm resident who is a descendant of both sides - the Dakota Nation and Minnesota settlers.

• Fern Cloud, a Dakota Nation descendant and a member of the Upper Sioux Community of Granite Falls.

The "Gathering of Descendants" panel will discuss their ancestors' experiences in the U.S.-Dakota War and its aftermath, including the resulting impact upon their families. There will be a time for audience questions to the panelists.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Rep. Dean Urdahl of Acton Township, Minn, a descendant of a Meeker County settler in 1862. Urdahl is co-chair with Secretary of State Mark Ritchie of the Minnesota Civil War Task Force. He is a retired history teacher and a historical novel author, including several books on the U.S.-Dakota War era.

Following the descendants' presentations and audience questions, there will be a reception of friendship, with coffee and cake served.

The "Gathering of Descendants" event is co-sponsored by the Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force, Ridgewater College of Willmar and Hutchinson and the West Central Tribune of Willmar.

For more information, contact:

Rep. Dean Urdahl, Co-Chair, Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force, (612) 481-7459.

Sam Bowen, Communications Director, Ridgewater College, (320) 222-6090.