By Jennifer Melick
For many Americans, the first association with the year 1862 is the Civil War. But for Native Americans, there is also a vivid association with the Dakota War of 1862, a conflict between the Dakota people and the United States that ended in the mass execution of 38 Dakota members on December 26, 1862, in Mankato, Minnesota. It’s an event that still registers large in local memory. This year, the Mankato Symphony Orchestra launched the Dakota Music Tour in Minnesota, a musical response to the events of 1862. The four-concert tour opened on May 22 in Mankato and continued with performances on reservations in Morton and Granite Falls. It concludes on June 4 in Winona at the Eighth Annual Great Dakota Gathering and Homecoming in Unity Park, a remarkable annual event supported by the Winona community that brings together Dakota members from a wide diaspora for a day of music and other festivities.
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