February 24, 2013

2013 Social Justice Symposium

This year’s 2013 Social Justice Symposium, April 1-5, is named in honor of the 150th Anniversary of The Dakota War of 1862. The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 is a significant event in the history and development of the state of Minnesota and in the long and complex history of the Dakota people and the United States. The Dakota War of 1862 still leaves deep consequences today. Hundreds of people died on both sides of the conflict which eventually led to the largest mass execution in U.S. history when 38 Dakota were hanged in Mankato, MN. By commemorating this event, the Hedgeman Center for Student Diversity and Initiatives, hopes to inspire students and the university community to become more aware of historical and contemporary social justice issues and to take action to address injustice wherever it is found.

The keynote speaker for the 2013 Social Justice Symposium will be Waziyatawin (University of Victoria), a leading Dakota writer, educator and activist from the Pezihutazizi Otunwe (Yellow Medicine Village) in southwestern Minnesota. The keynote address will take place on Tuesday, April 2, from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm in Anderson Center Room 112. 

The keynote is entitled, “Questions of Innocence and Righteousness: Social Justice in the Aftermath of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.” Commemorative events, as well as conceptions of justice, continue to be shaped by competing and contested narratives regarding the innocence of both Dakota people and White settlers, and the righteousness of Dakota warfare in the context of the 1862 war. This presentation will explore the complexities of these issues in the Minnesota colonial context and address their implications for achieving social justice today.

In addition to Waziyatawin's keynote address, there will events throughout the week of April 1-5 on a variety of diversity and social justice issues, including a commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a hunger banquet, queer issues in communities of color, comedian Eliot Chang presenting the Asian Heritage Month address, and a social justice spoken word event.

For more information about the symposium, please email the Hedgeman Center for Student Diversity Initiatives and Programs or call (651)523-2423.