This week (last Sunday, really) marks the 150th anniversary of MN statehood. There will be music and fireworks at the capitol next weekend, and one of only a few extant versions of the Declaration of Independence will be on display at the History Center.
I was very pleased to hear (as the Monitor reported) that the Sesquicentennial Commission is recognizing that for many indigenous residents of Minnesota, statehood is not a celebration, but a commemoration and an occasion for mourning. The Sesquicentennial Advisory Committee for Native American Partnering has an excellent blog, with commentary on important stories and events about native Minnesotans during the sesquicentennial year, like the interruption this weekend of the wagon train at Fort Snelling, commentary on the Dakota War and the calls for an official apology to American Indians in Minnesota for the terrible injustices perpetrated against them in the past 150 years (and earlier). May is American Indian Month in Minnesota, and this commemoration of our statehood is an important opportunity to think about what it means to share the land and work deeply on issues of reconciliation and justice for all Minnesotans. As public historians, we have a responsibility to make room for and facilitate discource on what Minnesota’s 150th means.