Fall Update From the Department of Indian Work in the Episcopal Church in Minnesota

November 27, 2012

Bishop Whipple Mission on the Lower Sioux Reservation hosted our annual convention at their casino and convention center, Jackpot Junction, in September. We decided that it was right for our convention to be held there for two reasons. The first one being is that this year is notable in both First Nations and Minnesota history in that it marks the 150th anniversary of when the Dakota rose up to fight the Euro-American settlers and soldiers of Minnesota. It began not far from Bishop Whipple Mission. The second reason is that the first bishop of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, Henry Whipple, played a part in lobbying President Lincoln to grant clemency to those warriors who fought only in battles, and execute only those who raped and killed women and children. Lincoln pared down the list of those to be executed from 303 to 38.

The fighting came about after years of the United States not meeting the obligations and annuities as stated in the 1851 Treaties of Traverse Des Sioux and Mendota. It has many names that have been attached to it by historians throughout the years. It has been called the Dakota Conflict, the Dakota War of 1862, the Sioux Uprising, the Dakota Uprising, the Sioux Outbreak of 1862, the Dakota Conflict, the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, and Little Crow’s War. The fighting lasted about a month, after which the Dakota were rounded up. Many of the warriors faced quick trials. By December 26, 1862, the fighting with many names came to end with the largest mass execution in American History, the hanging of 38 Dakota warriors.

It is hoped that by remembering this painful and tragic chapter in American history, holding our annual convention near where it all began, this can be the time to begin the process of reconciliation not only within our faith communities in Minnesota but throughout the land.