NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Tuesday July 25th 2017

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Letter to the Editor: Tell History in full context; A Single Story is dishonest, disrespectful, and sometimes a monstrous mistake

BY LAURA WATERMAN WITTSTOCK

It is the artist’s responsibility to understand the society in which he/she lives and to create art that moves society forward. Apparently this artist thought building a scaffold to reveal the horror of mass hangings would shock and wake people up about the scaffolds of the future unless society comes to its senses. What the artist achieved was a grotesque placeholder of a time in history when white settlers brought along fried chicken and other snacks to watch 38 human beings being hanged en masse. We have had many such events in England, for example. The tower and square where beheadings took place are merely tourist attractions today. The blood has long dried.

But 1862 is a year that is unsettled yet today. Dakota land was invaded, impinged upon, and even treaty land got no payment. The Dakota were at the point of starvation.

Building a scaffold in a courtyard that holds other art rips open the wounds made to the Dakota people. A quiet burning is the only remedy to this monstrous mistake.

We have yet to learn the lessons of 1862. We have yet to become Minnesotans. No time better than now to begin.

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