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“The No Win War”

April 20, 2012

The May 2012 issue of Minnesota Monthly magazine contains an unusually well-written article by Gregory J. Scott about the controversy of commemorating the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862: “The No Win War.”

If you are new to the subject –as I was twenty years ago despite having grown up in Minnesota –Scott’s article is a great introduction to the modern story. If you’re an old-timer, you’ll welcome the look inside the Minnesota Historical Society as they grapple with the ramifications of their institutional history.

If you are a Minnesotan or are interested in Minnesota history, this is not just an institutional story. It is our story. The Minnesota Historical Society, charged by the Legislature to be the collective memory for the state, has not been an objective, dispassionate collector and purveyor of history.

For historians like me who have been quietly documenting the fall-out of these institutional policies for decades, thoroughly convinced from our past experiences that MHS would never cooperate with outing its own stories, this new era of cooperation and transparency is disconcerting.

But it is very welcome.

The Minnesota Historical Society just ditched plain-vanilla history to feature Rocky Road.

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