The oppression and slaughter of human beings by white American society does not only come from hatred; greed and potential impediment to economic growth also feed the frenzy to kill and destroy people of color and spirits that grow from the soil or move the surface that is our earth. It is therefore proper we inform the Minnesota public to honor those forty Dakota tribal citizens who were executed by hanging in Minnesota in 1862 and 1865 by order of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson with the support of the citizens of Minnesota.
As a sign of respect, forty Dakota-English, red lettered metal signs were exhibited originally in 1990 in the earth in the business zone of what was called the Grain Belt.
This is a proud historical districts of the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota that houses the grain and flour mills, canals, and facilities to ship out fruits to “American progress..”
It was the potential disruption of American commerce that cost Dakota people their lives. The Native tribes of the Upper Midwest were not allowed the sovereignty and dignity to provide for their own economic livelihood through hunting and gathering. The Native land base of this region, as in all America, was not given the right to exist intact in a prominent way and was automatically superseded by white invading immigrants and their hunger to cultivate and consume more of this earth.
As the forty signs are now offered in the Nash Gallery symbolically along the water called the Mississippi, which remains a highway for American business, we seek not only to extract profit from our surroundings. We also wish to honor life-giving force of the waters that have truly preserved all of us from the beginning, and to offer respect to the tortured spirits of 1862 and 1865 that may have sought refuge and renewal through the original purity that is water.