Off the Shelf: Dakota War Commemoration events scheduled

Brown County Historical Society (BCHS), Sleepy Eye Area Historical Society, and New Ulm Public Library (NUPL) are sponsoring a number of events to commemorate the 156th anniversary of the U.S.-Dakota War the week of August 22-26. The events will include historical presentations and walking tours which highlight relevant sites in downtown New Ulm and the Pioneer Section of the New Ulm City Cemetery.

To begin the week, Robert W. Galler will present his research on the history of the Crow Creek Tribal Schools at New Ulm Public Library (17 N Broadway) on Wednesday, August 22 at 6:30 p.m. Galler is a former teacher on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and a current professor of history at St. Cloud State University.

Dan Munson will present “A Financial Outlook on the Dakota War” at the BCHS Annex (2 N Broadway) on Thursday, August 23 at 12 p.m. Munson is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and a student of Minnesota history and financial history.  His writings have appeared in Barron’s and various history magazines. He is the author of a book about the Dakota War titled “Malice Toward None: Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, the Homestead Act, and the Massacre – and Inspiring Survival – of the Kochendorfers, A Minnesota History.” 

Lower Sioux Agency staff will present “Tipi Life” at Sleepy Eye Area Historical Society Depot Museum (100 Oak Street NW, Sleepy Eye) on Thursday, August 23 at 3:30 p.m. Presenters will discuss tipi construction and customs, items found in a tipi, and the seasonal migration patterns followed by Dakota people.

Lower Sioux Agency staff will also present a program on Dakota Travois on Thursday, August 23 at 6:30 p.m. at NUPL. Presenters will discuss the Dakota culture and innovations that were developed in order to survive on the prairie and explain the deeper relationship with nature, sacredness, community, and family that was created through Dakota travel.

Mary Bakeman will present “After Wood Lake” at the BCHS Annex on Friday, August 24 at 12 p.m. Bakeman is a lifelong Minnesota historian and in her retirement continues to research the aftermath of the U.S.-Dakota War, author family histories, create Minnesota finding aids, and volunteer at the Minnesota State Archives.

All presentations are free and open to the public; seating is first come, first served. Confirm programs at 507-233-2620 or

Walking tours of local historical sites related to the U.S.-Dakota War will also be offered free of charge. Tours leave from BCHS (corner of Center Street and Broadway, New Ulm) unless otherwise noted.

Saturday, August 25 at 10:30 a.m. – Katie Gropper walking tour of downtown New Ulm followed by children’s crafts at BCHS. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Saturday, August 25 at 1 p.m. – Tour of U.S.-Dakota War sites in downtown New Ulm. Led by local historian Terry Sveine.

Sunday, August 26 at 2 p.m. – Tour of Pioneer Section of the New Ulm City Cemetery. Led by Darla Gebhard and Sue Ullery. Meet by the cemetery maintenance building (Cemetery Ave, New Ulm).