MILFORD TOWNSHIP - A historical marker was dedicated Sunday in Milford Township at the eastern boundary of the Dakota Reservation established in 1853 by treaties between the U.S. government and the Dakota people.
Officially designated "The Milford Reservation Line," the marker is located along County Road 29, a mile west of the Milford Monument, which pays tribute to settlers who lost their lives in the conflict with the Dakota in August 1862.
Broken treaties, including the 1851 Treaty of Traverse des Sioux signed in St. Peter, forced the Dakota onto reservations and left them starving and angry and finally prompted them to take hostile action against the settlers.
Staff photo by Fritz Busch
Fred Juni, a Milford Township farmer whose land lies with the original boundaries of the Dakota reservation, speaks at the dedication of the marker designating the Milford Reservation Line.
Frederick Juni, who farms in Milford Township on land settled by his great-great-grandfather Benedict Juni Sr., participated in the dedication and also contributed financially to make the marker a reality.
Juni farms land that passes through the original reservation boundaries. That land has been the home and livelihood of several generations of the Juni family.
"We are not here to judge what happened in the past," Juni said. "We're here to help future generations not forget the past."
The dedication came as Minnesotans, and especially Brown County citizens, pause to observe the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Dakota War of 1862.
In 1853, the reservation stretched from the site of the new marker on its eastern edge northwestward along the Minnesota River Valley to Big Stone Lake on the border with South Dakota. Reservation land was located 10 miles north and south of the Minnesota River, but in 1858, the land north of the river was sold.
At the dedication, Brown County Museum Research Librarian Darla Gebhard thanked the Juni family for donating funds for the marker. Contributors included Juni, Jerilyn Juni Current, Michele Juni Seifert, Jeffrey Juni and Daniel Juni. All are descendants of Benedict Juni Sr., and his wife Ernestine Klingbeil Massopust Juni.
"We're so grateful for your efforts in getting the marker," Gebhard said. "The historical society is only as successful as the people who support it."
"Thank you all, but most of all, keep remembering," Fred Juni said.