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Welcome to the Book Club Guide for Reclaiming Mni Sota

Welcome to the Book Club Guide for Reclaiming Mni Sota

Are you ready to be immersed in a story that will not only captivate your imagination but also enrich your understanding of American history? Colin Mustful’s novel, Reclaiming Mni Sota, is an essential read for any book club seeking a story that intertwines the past with the present, challenging us to reflect on the complexities of our nation’s history.

As an author and historian, Mustful brings to life the heart-wrenching events of the U.S. – Dakota War of 1862 through vivid characters and a narrative that spans two perspectives. This isn’t just another historical novel; it’s a journey that asks us to consider the untold stories and the ‘what-ifs’ of history. By choosing Reclaiming Mni Sota for your book club, you’re not just picking a book—you’re embracing an opportunity to explore deep moral questions and engage in meaningful discussions about culture, identity, and the legacy of the past.

Mustful’s dedication to authenticity shines through his work, as he navigates the delicate task of representing Native voices with respect and sensitivity. His dual narratives offer a balanced view of a tumultuous time, making this novel a powerful tool for empathy and understanding.

So, gather your fellow readers, open your minds, and prepare to be transported to a time of conflict and change. Reclaiming Mni Sota promises to be a book club selection that sparks conversation, fosters insight, and remains with you long after the final page is turned.

About the Novel

Two cultures met in Minnesota—one striving to maintain its homeland and traditions, another trying to create a life of freedom, prosperity, and abundance.  

Samuel Copeland was just a teenager in 1859 when he and his family left Vermont for the promise of a new life in Minnesota. But life is harder and more dangerous than he expected. Devastated by the loss of his father at the hands of Indians and seeking to protect his brother, Samuel joins the Union army believing he’d be safe on the frontier. WaabiskiMakwa was still a boy in 1850 when his father perished at Sandy Lake because of the negligence of U.S. government officials. Seeing his way of life crumbling around him, WaabiskiMakwa leaves his home to mourn his father and seek a new way, one that includes his lost-love, Agnes. Seeking their own solutions, neither Waabi or Samuel could see the collision course their paths had been set upon by a world in conflict. War was in their future and it was inevitable. But when war breaks out, and their cultures collide, so do their individual paths. Though they can’t stop the war, maybe they can help each other. 

Fueled by years of mistreatment and seeing the opportunity provided by the War with the South, Dakota spokesman Little Crow and Ojibwe leader Bagone-giizhig, join forces in an effort to reclaim their Native lands. Spurred by early victories over Fort Ridgley and New Ulm, the Dakota-Ojibwe Alliance heads north to Fort Snelling, the beacon of American strength in the region. Once thought impenetrable, the fort and its small group of volunteer militia fights to hang on when a new enemy arrives from the West. 

In Reclaiming Mni Sota, the true and lasting results of history are challenged. Acting as individuals, striving to protect ourselves and our families, it’s impossible to understand our role and impact in the much larger march of time. The United States is an abundant, beautiful land filled with wealth and opportunity, but its history is scarred by inequity and loss. What if the defeated became the victors? What would that mean for the world today and how would that illuminate the wrongs of the past? 

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