Living Justice Press



In the Footsteps of Our Ancestors
The Dakota Commemorative Marches of the 21st Century

Edited by Waziyatawin Angela Wilson, Ph.D.

Softcover, 324 pp.
Indexed, with 8-page special color photoessay, and black and white photos
and maps throughout
Publication 2006
ISBN 0972188622



In the Footsteps of Our Ancestors
is a collection of essays and photos that tell the story of the Dakota Death March of November 1862. In the aftermath of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, roughly 1,700 Dakota women, children, and elders were forcibly marched from the Lower Sioux Agency in southern Minnesota to a concentration camp at Fort Snelling. Those who survived this march and the subsequent hard winter were eventually removed from their homeland.

In 2002 and 2004, descendants of the original marchers, their relatives, and allies walked the route of the this death march to remember and honor their ancestors and the sacrifices they made. They will continue to walk every two years until 2012. Their stories of the original march, along with their experiences on the marches of this century, convey the deep pain and trauma of historical harms. They also point to the healing of these harms and the revitalization of the Dakota people.

In the words of Dr. Waziyatawin Angela Wilson, "This work...stands as a narrative that reclaims our right to tell our stories in our own ways and for our own purposes....It is designed with Dakota empowerment in mind, as a valuation of Dakota voices, perspectives, worldview, and historical and contemporary experiences....The imagery, perspectives, and stories of the past impact the present in profound ways, and this message is conveyed in every contribution to this volume."

Reviews and Comments

"May this book stand as a testament to the atrocities visited on the Dakota of Minnesota, not for posterity, but as an opportunity for us to finally tell our story. May this book be recognized as a part of the healing process that restorative justice champions and as bringing some understanding to the atrocities still inflicted on Dakota people, for only with understanding can healing come."

- Harley Eagle, Dakota, Co-director of anti-racism programs for the Mennonite Central Committee, Canada

"Waziyatawin Angela Wilson, one of the foremost scholars in Native American history, has made yet another invaluable contribution to the field of Native studies. This work challenges the boundaries of scholarship and community accountability by situating Native history as a site for decolonization and coalition politics. In the Footsteps of Our Ancestors demonstrates that it is possible to engage Native communities and allies in the process of historical remembering that challenges U.S. colonial frameworks and promotes healing and justice for Native nations."

- Andrea Smith, Cherokee; University of Michigan; Co-founder, Boarding School Healing Project









"There is nothing quite like this book and it merits both our support and our attention. . . . [I]t is important for the Dakota people as part of their story told in their own words; it is important for the descendants of the immigrants like me who need to hear these words so that we can . . . explore how we might find common cause for a more hopeful future."

- Howard J. Vogel, Professor of Law, Hamline University, St. Paul, Minnesota


Tribal College Journal, Spring 2008: Reviewed by Antonette McDonald


CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries

A publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries; a division of the American Library Association

October 2007, Vol 45, No. 02


Minnesota History, Spring 2007, reviewed by Collette A. Hyman


American Indian Culture and Research Journal

Reviewed by Leonard R. Bruguier (Tahunska Tanka), Benemerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla


St. Paul Pioneer Press, 9/12/06, reviewed by Mary Ann Grossman













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