December 21, 2012

Mankato 38 art exhibit

“We Are Here:” Native American Artists Explore Pain of the Dakota War of 1862

By Allison HerreraAt first glance, Gordon Coons’ painting 1862-Mankato 38 may look like any other American flag. But it isn’t. Look closer and you’ll see a rope, the kind used to tie a noose, framing the edges. You’ll also see the names of 38 Dakota warriors who were hanged in the largest mass execution in U.S. history on December 26th, 1862. Most had been convicted by a military court of participating in the US-Dakota War that had begun in August that year. Unrepresented by any legal defense, the 38 were hanged in Mankato in front of a crowd of thousands of white spectators.

It was just the beginning of the terrible retribution that would be meted out to the Dakota, and the war and its aftermath, including a legacy of anti-Indian racism, underlie a riveting art exhibit called Ded Unk’unpi/We Are Here, on view until Jan. 13 at the James J. Hill House in St. Paul. The exhibit features the work of 20 Native American artists and reflects a wide range of responses to the war and the past 150 years.
Comment:  For more on the Mankato 38, see Mankato Concert to Mourn Dakota War and Putting US-Dakota War in Context.

Below:  "Ojibwe artist Jim Denomie tells the story of the uprising vividly in his painting, Off the Reservation/Minnesota Nice."

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