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Editorial: The time for reconciliation is now here

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It has been more than 150 years since the U.S.-Dakota War broke out in the Minnesota River Valley.

The war started on Aug. 17, 1862, when four young Dakota men murdered five white settlers near Acton Township in Meeker County. It ended on Sept. 26, 1862, when the Dakota Peace Party surrendered white hostages at Camp Release at Montevideo.

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In between, more than 600 settlers and soldiers in Minnesota were killed during the war and its aftermath. The vast majority of the Minnesota settlers killed were unarmed civilians.

About 75-100 Dakota soldiers were killed during the war. The ftermath was cruel for Dakota as well. In December 1862, 38 Dakota men were hanged for their participation in the war. Within a year of the war's end, one quarter of the Dakota who surrendered had died and the remainder were exiled from Minnesota.

The aftermath continued into 1863 for both sides. In June 30, 1863, four members of the Dustin family were killed in Wright County by Dakota men. Four days later, Dakota leader Taoyateduta, also known as Chief Little Crow, was killed in southern Meeker County.

Minnesotans will gather at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Fort Ridgely Cemetery to honor the settlers and soldiers killed during the war.

Minnesotans gathered in Hutchinson in July to honor Chief Little Crow and other Dakota killed in the war.

The purpose of both events is to carry the message of reconciliation forward in order to wipe away the tears of the past.

After 150 years, the time for reconciliation is here.

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