Recently, I came across Our Ohio Story, a web serial by Kate McCord that tells an American story through a patchwork of sequential chapters, character sketches, and cultural reflections. It’s so engaging. It’s a wonderful way to use fiction to teach and get people really thinking about history.
Recently, I finished a full revision of my current writing project—a full-length, alternative history novel (103,263 words to be exact). When published it will be my fifth novel. Each one, as any author could tell you, has been a tremendous challenge that has required years of patient hard work.
Separated by the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers, the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin have a well-established, recognizable boundary. But the borders of each state, and the boundary that separates them, was not always certain.
In her book Appropriate, Paisley Rekdal shows us that we must confront cultural appropriation, not as a moral judge or caretaker, but as an open-minded participant both in the world we live in and the one we are striving to achieve.
Wowinape, the son of Dakota leader Little Crow, was captured by U.S. forces in late August of 1863. He was then put on trial before a military commission headed by Henry Hastings Sibley.
In this audio excerpt from the novel Resisting Removal: The Sandy Lake Tragedy of 1850, Indian Agent John Watrous meets face to face with Benjamin Armstrong at Crow Wing, Minnesota, shortly after all of the Ojibwe’s annuities have been destroyed by a fire.
On August 27, 1832, the Sauk leader Black Hawk (Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak) surrendered to the U.S. 6th Infantry at Prairie du Chien, ending several months of fighting in what is now called the Black Hawk War. The war was a consequence of the U.S. government’s Indian removal policies that continually forced Native peoples from their homes to places further west.
While some, like Sully and Sibley, declared the 1863-1864 punitive expeditions a success that punished the Sioux for their role in the Dakota War and protected the Minnesota settlements, others saw it as an expensive endeavor that unnecessarily punished innocent people.
I recently had a great conversation with Oanh Jordan, founder of Tiny Triumph Co. and the host of Tea Talks. Check it out to learn more about my experience as a writer, publisher, and founder of my own press History Through Fiction. Click here to watch on Instagram.
Looking back, it has become clear that Sibley’s punitive expedition was sparked by chaos and panic following the U.S. – Dakota War and fueled by the pervasive racist ideology of the time.