The Rise and Fall of the U.S.-Dakota War Hanging Monument: Mediating Old-Settler Identity Through Two Expansive Cycles of Social Change

Author: Rick Lybeck

This article compares outcomes of two activity systems formed to memorialize the mass hanging of 38 Dakota men during the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Operating in 1911-1912, the first system failed to address tensions between its old-settler subject and progressive values taking shape in the community, especially regarding capital punishment. Informed by the first system's nonexpansive outcome and by native activism expressed during the Vietnam War era, the second system incorporated multiple community voices, resulting in an expansive commemorative outcome that continues today. Special attention is paid to the identity work one monument performed in both eras, mediating old-settler ideology through a violent local chronotope.

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