Gathering of Colors: History, Culture and Dedication

Kim Watkins, News Editor

In the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War, countless indigenous peoples lost their lives due to starvation, inclement weather, the war and the hanging of 38+2 Dakota men. This was a war that raged on throughout Minn. while the Civil War continued in the East.
The Southwest Minnesota State University Oyate Club presented the Gathering of Colors, an event held in honor of the lives that were lost in the conflict of 1862. This event was held Wednesday, Nov. 28 and was open to the public.
The Oyate Club members explained the importance of the event, describing that it was to honor the many people that died and to celebrate Native American History Month. Thanks were given to Access, Opportunity & Success (AOS) and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion as well as Michele Knife Sterner, John Sterner, Jay Lee and Sheldon Peters Wolfchild, who all received an Oyate Club blanket.
Don Robertson, director of International Student Services, introduced Sheldon Peters Wolfchild, who presented a documentary on the 1862 conflict.
The history of this conflict is shown in a three part series by 38 Plus 2 Productions called “Star Dreamers.” The first part, “The Indian System”, was shown at the event and explained the causes that led to the 1862 War.
Following the film, a discussion panel was held with Sheldon Wolfchild, who explained the importance of the documentary and the ability to forgive.
A traditional dance and drumming performance followed, by members of the Lucio Family and the Red Tree Singers, respectively. The performances included a traditional dance, a jingle-dress dance, a fancy shawl dance, a women’s traditional dance and ended with a round dance that included attendees of the event.
To end the event, Michele Knife Sterner presented 40 handmade and painted horses that will be used for a dedication for the 38+2. This dedication is to honor, respect and remember those who lost their lives 150 years ago in the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.
Fry bread and wajape, a berry soup/pudding, were offered throughout the event, while Oyate Club members sold t-shirts and blankets.
Those interested can purchase an Oyate Club t-shirt for $20 or a blanket for $25. Additionally, donations of canned goods and other nonperishable items can be donated to the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Indian Reservations in South Dakota, in the red boxes displayed around campus. All donations will be delivered by the Oyate Club in March.