Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota

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Overview

Much of the focus on the Dakota people in Minnesota rests on the tragic events of the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War and the resulting exile that sent the majority of the Dakota to prisons and reservations beyond the state?s boundaries. But the true depth of the devastation of removal cannot be understood without a closer examination of the history of the Dakota people and their deep cultural connection to the land that is Minnesota. Drawing on oral history interviews, archival work, and painstaking comparisons ...

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Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota

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Overview

Much of the focus on the Dakota people in Minnesota rests on the tragic events of the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War and the resulting exile that sent the majority of the Dakota to prisons and reservations beyond the state’s boundaries. But the true depth of the devastation of removal cannot be understood without a closer examination of the history of the Dakota people and their deep cultural connection to the land that is Minnesota. Drawing on oral history interviews, archival work, and painstaking comparisons of Dakota, French, and English sources, Mni Sota Makoce tells the detailed history of the Dakota people in their traditional homelands for at least hundreds of years prior to exile.

“Minnesota” is derived from the Dakota phrase Mni Sota Makoce, Land Where the Waters Reflect the Clouds—and the people’s roots here remain strong. Authors Gwen Westerman and Bruce White examine narratives of the people’s origins, their associations with the land, and the seasonal round though key players and place names. They consider Dakota interactions with Europeans and offer an in-depth “reading between the lines” of historical documents—some of them virtually unknown—and treaties made with the United States, uncovering misunderstandings and outright deceptions that helped lead to war in 1862.

Dakota history did not begin with the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862—nor did it end there. Mni Sota Makoce is, more than anything, a celebration of the Dakota people through their undisputed connection to this place, Minnesota, in the past, present, and future.

Gwen Westerman is professor of E nglish and Humanities at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Bruce White is author of We Are at Home: Pictures of the Ojibwe People.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Minnesota State University English and humanities professor Westerman and White (We Are at Home: Pictures of the Ojibwe People) conducted intensive research to determine how the Dakota people thrived through the 19th century. Drawing from recorded interactions with Jesuit priests, French explorers like Pierre Le Sueur, and the Dakota themselves, the book examines all aspects of Dakota life. Academic in nature, the book profiles historical figures, deciphers myths, and cites treaties, creating a vivid tapestry of Dakota culture and how it adapted through interactions with settlers. As tensions rise between the Dakota and the Europeans, conflicts escalate, leaving the government struggling to contain the Dakota to “settlements.” Despite this, the Dakota continue to “reclaim Minnesota” and preserve their heritage. Though the history of Native Americans is often distilled to their conflicts with pilgrims and pioneers, Westerman and White offer a nuanced portrait of a marginalized people and the land they still call home. 50 b/w illus, 15 color images, 2 maps. (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780873518697
  • Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2012
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 425,943
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Read an Excerpt

In an account from around 1720, an unknown Frenchman recorded the Dakota belief that the first of their people came from the ground on the prairie between the mouth of the Minnesota River and the Falls of St. Anthony. In April 1754, Dakota chiefs gathered with a French diplomat, Joseph Marin, at a fort along the Mississippi River to complain about incursions by Ojibwe into their territory. One of the chiefs laid before Marin a map of the region and said, “No one could be unaware that from the mouth of the Wisconsin to Leech Lake, these territories belong to us. On all the points and in the little rivers we have had villages. One can still see the marks of our bones which are still there, which are the remains from the Cristinaux and the Sauteux having killed us. But they never can drive us away. These are territories that we hold from no one except the Master of Life who gave them to us. And although we have been at war against all the nations, we never abandoned them.”

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 7, 2012

    I don't recommend this book, but I can recommend others as benchmark books for the study of Dakota history.

    This book is written with agenda bias to present a story by choosing information that supports only their new creation story and new sacred spring story by leaving out facts known on Dakota Indian history and the Camp Coldwater historic site. These left out facts are from their same references listed. I have 26 years of study on each of the subjects.In this book a Dakota creation site story is presented. A quote is stated by the authors, “and may have been the missionary Stephen R. Riggs.” The quote states, “One great natural fact which perhaps ought to be recognized and recorded at the start, is this,viz:That the mouth of the Minnesota river, lies immediately over the center of earth and under the center of the heavens." It is 100 % clear, it is the EXACT quote from “Gatherings from Traditional history of the Mdewakantonwan Dakotas,” Dakota Friend article, May 1851,by Gideon Pond . In this same Pond article, 2 paragraphs down from the quote author used in their book, Gideon Pond states, “it asserts that they sprang into existence about the lakes at the head of the Rum River." Thus the author quotes only the first part of Ponds statement, making it appear as if author of their statement was saying, that the Dakota creation was at the meeting of the two rivers! When in fact Gideon Pond makes it clear that the Dakota creation story “is about the lakes at the head of the Rum River.” Why was this creation statement omitted? The registered Dakota tribe placed a historical marker at the head of the Rum River stating this site as the creation site. Black Tomahawk Dakota Indian historian early 1800's, documents the Dakota taking Bdote area from Iowa Indians.Ref: Mn Historical Collections,Iowa Indians and the Mounds by Gideon Pond.The first documented Dakota village,”at the mouth of the river St. Pierre, on the bank of which were Mantantans” in 1689 by Nicolas Perrot. Ref: The History of Hennepin Cty 1881 Rev Neil. Camp Coldwater spring was made sacred by white environmentalists in 1998 not natives to stop a building hwy 55 nearby. A group of non registered Natives went along just to get casino land if the federal land became available.Documented in interview contained in Ref: My Way or the Highway" Mary Losure book. Many more missing facts from the authors when known by them. When you know facts but choose not to use them it is wrong.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2013

    Jaggedpaw

    ((How about Feathertail and Crowfeather standing next to each other? Their back-to-back and their looking at each other too. Feathertail's fur is sparkling with stars. The setting on Feathertail's side is StarClan hunting grounds while on Crowfeather's side is WindClan grounds with Leafpool far out. I hope this won't confuse you! Heh-heh...)) ^Jagged^

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    Swift

    He collapsed. <br>
    XxSwiftXx

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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