Event Title

The Birch Coulee Battlefield: Examining Changing Native Representation in the U.S. – Dakota Conflict

Location

CSU 202

Start Date

11-4-2017 11:05 AM

End Date

11-4-2017 12:05 PM

Student's Major

American Indian Studies

Student's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Mentor's Name

Chelsea Mead

Mentor's Department

American Indian Studies

Mentor's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Description

In the museum setting, Native history has too often been misrepresented or elided in favor of a more watered-down Eurocentric narrative. Museum representation has the ability to shape or reinforce the views of its visitors, thus making the subject matter and the manner in which it is presented of utmost importance. This research traces the ways in which the U.S.-Dakota Conflict has been memorialized throughout history through its manifestation in the Birch Coulee Battlefield historical site. My approach was first, to provide a Dakota-centric historical context for the U.S.-Dakota Conflict through historical and contemporary texts; second, to trace the ownership and use of the Birch Coulee battlefield site through county records and historical documents; and finally, to visit the site itself to examine the way this history is presented to the public. Through these methods, I was also able to loosely trace the public's changing sentiments towards the Dakota people, which is closely tied to the way the U.S.- Dakota Conflict was represented throughout the site's history. Finally I end with a critique of the current Birch Coulee Battlefield historical site and offer suggestions for how it can improve its representation of the Dakota people.

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Apr 11th, 11:05 AM Apr 11th, 12:05 PM

The Birch Coulee Battlefield: Examining Changing Native Representation in the U.S. – Dakota Conflict

CSU 202

In the museum setting, Native history has too often been misrepresented or elided in favor of a more watered-down Eurocentric narrative. Museum representation has the ability to shape or reinforce the views of its visitors, thus making the subject matter and the manner in which it is presented of utmost importance. This research traces the ways in which the U.S.-Dakota Conflict has been memorialized throughout history through its manifestation in the Birch Coulee Battlefield historical site. My approach was first, to provide a Dakota-centric historical context for the U.S.-Dakota Conflict through historical and contemporary texts; second, to trace the ownership and use of the Birch Coulee battlefield site through county records and historical documents; and finally, to visit the site itself to examine the way this history is presented to the public. Through these methods, I was also able to loosely trace the public's changing sentiments towards the Dakota people, which is closely tied to the way the U.S.- Dakota Conflict was represented throughout the site's history. Finally I end with a critique of the current Birch Coulee Battlefield historical site and offer suggestions for how it can improve its representation of the Dakota people.

Recommended Citation

Ryhkus, Bethany. "The Birch Coulee Battlefield: Examining Changing Native Representation in the U.S. – Dakota Conflict." Undergraduate Research Symposium, Mankato, MN, April 11, 2017.
http://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/urs/2017/oral-session-07/1