Hillstrom Museum of Art Commemorates Dakota Mass Execution of 1862

Posted on December 17th, 2012 by

Gwen Westerman, Mitakuye Owas (All My Relations), 2012, quilt, 100% commercial cotton embellished with glass beads and Swarovksi crystals, 65 ½ x 65 ½ inches.

Gwen Westerman, Mitakuye Owas (All My Relations), 2012, quilt, 100% commercial cotton embellished with glass beads and Swarovksi crystals, 65 ½ x 65 ½ inches.

The Hillstrom Museum of Art at Gustavus Adolphus College will unveil the exhibition Hena Uŋkiksuyapi: In Commemoration of the Dakota Mass Execution of 1862 on Monday, Dec. 17 during an opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m. The exhibition will remain on view at the Museum through Feb. 8, 2013. Hena Uŋkiksuyapi, Dakota for “we remember those,” features artworks by Dakota and other Native American artists presented in commemoration of the mass execution on December 26, 1862 of 38 Dakota following the end of the Dakota-U.S. War of 1862.

The exhibition includes works by artists Janice Albro, Joseph J. Allen, Gordon Coons, Jerry Fogg, Erin Griffin, Jacob Pratt, Mona Smith, Robert Two Bulls, and Gwen Westerman (exhibition co-curator).

Hena Uŋkiksuyapi was organized by the Hillstrom Museum of Art with the assistance of co-curator and participating artist Gwen Westerman.  Dr. Westerman is an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota Oyate and is a scholar on the faculty of Minnesota State University, Mankato, serving as professor of English and Humanities there. She is co-author, with Bruce White, of the 2012 book Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota, which examines the history of the Dakota people and their deep cultural connection with what is now Minnesota. Dr. Westerman wrote an essay for the exhibition about what it means to commemorate the events of December 26, 1862.

A series of programs have been planned in conjunction with Hena Uŋkiksuyapi, including screenings of the recent film Dakota 38 (7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, Treaty Site History Center, St. Peter); a round table discussion with artists and other members of the Dakota community, moderated by Dakota Elder Dr. Chris Mato Nunpa, with a Musical Prelude in the form of a performance by a group of Dakota Elders of the Dakota hymn Lac Qui Parle, presented after an Historical Discussion of the hymn by Dakota Elder Reverend Sidney Byrd; and a lecture by Kevin Gover, Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian (3:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, Alumni Hall, Gustavus Adolphus College).

Programming is presented as a collaborative effort of the Hillstrom Museum of Art with the College of Arts and Humanities of Minnesota State University, Mankato, the Nicollet County Historical Society, and the Building Bridges Conference Committee and the Diversity Center of Gustavus Adolphus College; Kevin Gover’s lecture is supported by funds from the Lefler Lecture Fund.

As an historical adjunct to Hena Uŋkiksuyapi, a panel exhibition will be shown in an adjacent space. Titled Commemorating Controversy: The Dakota-U.S. War of 1862, it was created by Dr. Elizabeth Baer, Professor of English at Gustavus Adolphus College, and Ben Leonard, Director of the Nicollet County Historical Society with students during a 2012 Gustavus January Term class of the same name.

All events are free and open to the public. Regular Museum hours are weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and weekends, 1 to 5 p.m.  Please note that the Museum will be closed during the semester break when College classes are not in session, from December 20, 2012 through January 6, 2013.  Please visit the Museum’s website at gustavus.edu/finearts/hillstrom for further information.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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