Translators Unravel 150-year-old Dakota Letters

For the past 10 years, Dakota elder Clifford Canku has been poring over letters written by Dakota men who were imprisoned after the Dakota Conflict of 1862. Canku is one of a few academics working to translate letters from the written Dakota language; eventually upwards of 50 of them will be published in a book. The stories of life in the prison and the uncertain times have proven revelatory. “People died,” says Canku. “They were in prison. They experienced genocide. And when you talk about these things you are going to get opposition saying, no, these things didn’t happen. But they did happen.”

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Story: Minnesota Public Radio, “150-year-old letters give voice to Dakota prisoners”

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