This exciting and free presentation will dive into the complicated history of Fort Snelling at Bdote and the Minnesota Historical Society’s work to reinterpret and revitalize one of Minnesota’s most important historical places.
For millennia, the area where the Minnesota River joins the Mississippi has been a crossroads, a place of strategic power. But its history is deeply complicated. Many Dakota people consider the area, known as Bdote, to be both a sacred place of origin and a site of genocide. Many other people think of Fort Snelling, the limestone fortress built by US soldiers at Bdote in the 1820s, as the “birthplace of Minnesota,” an icon of patriotism and pioneer spirit. That symbolism, too, is complicated: over the decades, many army officers held enslaved African Americans at the Fort. The fort itself is also a powerful reminder that most Minnesotans today are descendants of immigrants, living on Dakota land. Come learn about the history of Fort Snelling at Bdote and the Minnesota Historical Society’s work to reinterpret and revitalize one of Minnesota’s most important historical places.
Peter J. DeCarlo is a historian and author of Fort Snelling at Bdote and Loyalty Within Racism: The Segregated Sixteenth Battalion of the Minnesota Home Guard During World War I. He holds an MA in American history and his research interests include colonialism, borderlands, Native American studies, and public memory. His current research focuses on the Columbus Memorial located on the Minnesota State Capitol grounds. He works at the Minnesota Historical Society as a research historian.