The Peace Party Fought for Mni Sota Makoce, Too

Minnesota History Center, St. Paul, Minnesota, in winter

January 29, 2013, I am booked as the History Lounge speaker at the Minnesota Historical Society. I’m excited because after spending this past summer of commemoration talking about food –who was starving in 1862 (Dakota traditionalists) and why (Federal programs ensured Dakota farmers would not go hungry) –I get to move on to how that played out in the choices Dakota people made during the war.

Here’s the publicity blurb:

They Fought for Mni Sota Makoce, too: The Story of the 1862 Dakota Peace Coalition

Most Dakota people living in Minnesota did not anticipate or participate in the U.S. Dakota War of 1862. Yet the received story, based on early sources which sought to justify the seizure of Dakota lands in the wake of the war, is almost silent about the Dakota majority who did nothing to deserve exile or extermination. Some of these Dakota went even further in 1862, working from the inside to thwart the war effort. Their story, too, has been marginalized: by attribution to a handful of token Dakota Christians. Historian Carrie Reber Zeman recovers the diverse voices of the Dakota resistance movement historically known as the Peace Party, using their own narratives to illuminate who they were, what galvanized their opposition, what they accomplished, and what happened to them after the war. She argues that the Dakota men and women who actively worked to end the war were motivated by their desire to stay in Mni Sota Makoce, the Dakota homeland.

That story is at the heart of Mary and John Renville’s story, A Thrilling Narrative of Indian Captivity, and it is the reason Zabelle Stodola and I worked to bring it back into print.

Please join me at the Minnesota History Center at 7:00 PM on January 29, 2013 and share what you think. This is part of the origin story of the place many of us call home, and we need to start talking about it.


It seems MHS does not like to photograph its History Center in winter. So the photo credit goes  to Meghan Likes and Molly McNeil who had the imagination to get photos for a January 28, 2012 post on

This entry was posted in A Thrilling Narrative, Dakota Peace Party. Bookmark the permalink.

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