The Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County will host local writer and Dakota scholar Dr. Clifford Canku for a history of the Dakota POW letters at the Hjemkomst Center on Tuesday, May 21, at 6:00PM. Canku’s presentation will introduce visitors to the US-Dakota War of 1862 and then explore the aftermath of the conflict as it is told from the letters of Dakota prisoners of war, which Canku translated with Michael Simon for their 2013 book from the Minnesota Historical Society Press, “Dakota Prisoner of War Letters: Dakota Kaskapi Okicize Wowapi.”
The bulk of Canku’s lecture picks up after the December 1862 execution of 38 Dakota men in Mankato, Minnesota. The following April the remaining 270 prisoners were moved to the prison at Camp McClellan in Davenport, Iowa. Separated from their families and struggling to survive with inadequate food and shelter, many of these prisoners learned to write. Their letters, mostly addressed to the missionaries Stephen R. Riggs and Thomas S. Williamson, reveal their concerns and experiences.
Admission to Canku’s lecture is free and open to the public. However, HCSCC encourages visitors to reserve their seats online ahead of time. Refreshments will be served and copies of Canku’s book will be available for purchase.
This event is offered with support from the Science Museum of Minnesota and in conjunction with HCSCC’s current exhibition, “RACE: Are We So Different?”
A History of the Dakota POW Letters
Tuesday, May 21, 6:00PM – 7:30PM
For more information or questions about accessibility and accommodations, please contact HCSCC Communications Manager Davin Wait at (218) 299-5511, extension 6733, or [email protected].