Dakota Art Challenges

• New: The restoration of the Minnesota Capitol has also restored one of its original purposes: to showcase art. Go to:  https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2017/08/restoration-minnesota-capitol-has-also-restored-one-its-original-purposes-sh?utm_source=MinnPost-RSS&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+minnpost+%28MinnPost.com+-+Minnesota+News+and+Analysis%29

• New: As you may know, there is a survey now on the Art Subcommittee Website. http://mn.gov/admin/capitol-restoration/about/preservation-commission/art/

Be heard: Take the 'Art in the Minnesota State Capitol' survey now! Here is the direct link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/capitol-art

• New: There is a Minnesota State Capitol subcommittee formed to evaluate art in the State Capitol. Several paintings, inluding Gag’s “Attack on New Ulm," are being targeted for removal. There are public meetings scheduled where they are looking to see what the public wants to see in the Capitol. You may want to attend.

The question is: What sort of art would you want to see in the Capitol that would represent your ancestors before the Dakota War, during the Dakota War, and after?

There are some revisionist historians behind this who want to rewrite history. See the below Art Subcomittee website for the schedule on these meetings:


Also check the “Public Input Meetings" tab which shows the meeting locations and where the public can voice opinions. 

If you cannot attend a meeting, there is an address for people to send comments; ask that your comments be distributed to the subcommittee members. Public input is welcome. The email address is: capitol.art@state.mn.us

• New: John LaBatte has posted this essay on his blog which was prompted by recent comments made about artwork in the State Capitol Building. He discussed the Art Subcommittee,  warrior attire, and the painting “Attack on New Ulm” by Anton Gag,  providing 29 first-person accounts of how Dakota warriors were dressed in battle and going to battle. They did fight shirtless. The committee needs to do their homework before deciding on removing this painting. https://dakotawar1862.wordpress.com/2015/11/10/war-general-warrior-attire/#more-661

• New: Noted historian/editor Don Heinrich Tolzmann sent this letter to the Arts Commission regarding their decision to review art at the Minnesota State Capitol grounds.

RE: The Dakota War Panorama, by John Stevens

Dear Committee Members,

By way of comparison with the art under review, it would be advisable to also examine the Dakota War Panorama by John Stevens, which was completed shortly after the Dakota War, and put in display by 1865.

 This panorama was based on eyewitness accounts from Lavina Eastlick whose family had been part of the Lake Shetek massacre. Stevens' paintings, although not as professionally done as others, come as close as possible to being documents of actual events based on eyewitness accounts. They will be of interest for scenes of these events, including the attire of those involved.

 Copies of his paintings can be found in: War for the Plains, by the Editors of Tme-Life Books(Alexandria, Virginia: Time-Life Books, 1994), pp. 49-52.

 Also, see the following article on the Stevens Panorama: Bertha L. Heilbron, “Documentary Panorama,” Minnesota History Magazine. Vol. 30: 1 (1949): 14-23.


 Regarding Lavina Eastlick and John Stevens, see: Curtis A. Dahlin, Calamity at Lake Shetek: The Death of a Settlement. (Roseville, Minnesota, 2015), p. 82.


Don Heinrich Tolzmann, Ph.D.

Family and Friends of Dakota Uprising Victims: http://www.dakotavictims1862.com