MEDORA - On Saturday, Aug. 11, the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame will present its annual Day of the Plains Horse People program, with the theme "150th Anniversary of the Dah'kota Conflict: Perspectives from the People of the Spirit Lake Nation."
"Just as a day is set aside to recognize the cowboy culture, we want to acknowledge the significance of Native American cultures," said Ray Morrell, the hall's executive director. "The indigenous Plains people became the most respected horse people in their day. We want to share their stories."
Native American educators from North Dakota's Spirit Lake Nation will provide four presentations with historical background and community perspectives about the 1862 Conflict, also known as the Minnesota Uprising of 1862.
The Conflict was ignited in Minnesota when Dakota Indians were refused annuities promised to them by the federal government. There were a succession of military events among the Dakotas, settlers and the U.S. Army. Several battles are cited on North Dakota turf.
By the end of the year, many of the Dakotas were chased into neighboring states and Canada, or they surrendered. The U.S. Army held over 1,000 Dakotas and held court trials against them. On Dec. 26, 1862, 38 Indians were hanged at Mankato, Minn., in the largest one-day execution in the U.S.
The day-long event at the hall of fame, co-sponsored by Cankdeska Cikana (Little Hoop) Community College, will feature the following presentations (all Mountain time) in Medora:
11 a.m. - A Brief Description of the Minnesota Uprising as Told by Spirit Lake Elders: (Presenter - Michael "Demus" McDonald, Spirit Lake Nation) - Stories have been passed down from generation to generation as long as the Dakota can remember. Demus will share stories passed down to him from elders while growing up on the Spirit Lake Reservation.
12:30 p.m. - Causes of the 1862 Conflict from a Dakota Perspective: (Presenter - Louis Garcia, Spirit Lake Nation Tribal Historian) - The Treaties of 1851 and 1858 between the U.S. Government and the Dakota Nations sold the south half of what is now the state of Minnesota. Annuity money designated for the Dakota from these land sales changed the fur trade from fur exchange to a cash economy. The historical patronage system of the U.S. Government resulted in unscrupulous personnel to administer treaty provisions. A clear understanding of the Dakota perspective is impossible without the knowledge of the Dakota government system; therefore, an overview of the Dakota societal norms will be provided by the presenter.
2 p.m. - Oral Civilization Perspective of the 1862 War: (Presenter - Vern Lambert, Spirit Lake Nation, Elder) - Dakota history is based in oral traditions for the Dakota people. Historical and contemporary influences have brought various perspectives in how the individual and tribal nations view themselves in modern society.
3:30 p.m. - Panel Presentation: (Presenters - Michael 'Demus' McDonald, Louis Garcia, Vern Lambert) - The presenters will provide a brief overview of their presentations followed by a question and answer period regarding the Conflict of 1862.