Saturday, October 27, 2012

Diane Wilson visits South High

Diane Wilson visits South High

Diane Wilson's book, Spirit Car; Journey to a Dakota Past is the current Minneapolis One Read.  Minneapolis One Read promotes the entire city reading one book at the same time and discussing it together.  South High School in Minneapolis participates every year and this year the book is relevant to Minnesota history in that it tells the story of the mass hanging of Indians that occurred in Mankato, MN in 1862.  This year is the 150th anniversary of this devastating war called The Dakota Conflict or Little Crow's war.

On Thursday, October 25th, Diane Wilson visited our school to talk to students in the All Nations program as well as American History students and students in the Voices classes.  I was lucky enough to be in the audience.

Diane told the audience that her mother was Dakota (Native American) and her father was Scandinavian.  Her mother rarely told stories of her family but the one story she did tell was of her boarding school experience.  Diane wanted to learn more about her Dakota side of the family and so began by researching her family history tracing it back many generations.  She interviewed family members.  She did research and learned what happened to her people and why her mother didn't tell her story.  Diane Wilson is telling her mother's story and the history of her family in Spirit Car.

Diane spent time answering student questions and one student asked her about commodity food.  Diane answered by saying if you control someone's food, you can control the person.  If you know anything about commodity food it is full of starch, fat, salt and sugar.  This food is one of the reason's why Native Americans struggle with obesity and diabetes.  Diane has started a local farm and has camps for young people to learn sustainable farming and bring them back to their traditions

Diane spent time after her talk signing books and talking with students and staff.  Later in the day, she visited classrooms.  I can't wait to read Spirit Car and as we get closer to the 150th anniversary of the mass hanging of 38 Indians in Mankato, on December 26, 1862, it is important to take time to reflect and remember.  Spirit Car will help me remember.