Historic Fort Snelling Essential Stories

For immediate release

Release dated: 
January 31, 2018
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Marketing and Communications, 651­259­3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org
Lory Sutton, Marketing and Communications, 651­259­3140, lory.sutton@mnhs.org

Historic Fort Snelling Essential Stories

The revitalized Historic Fort Snelling will present a broader, more expansive interpretive focus that explores larger themes of our national historic narrative that are still relevant today: the yearning for freedom and the defense of freedom; the protection of human rights; and the recognition of sovereignty and the struggle for power. These essential stories include:

  • 10,000 years of history - The human history of the Fort Snelling area goes back at least 10,000 years, into the end of the last ice age.
  • Trade - The rivers created a watery highway for trade that played a major part in the site’s history from prehistoric times, through the fur trade era, to today.
  • The Dakota - To the Dakota, the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers is known as Bdote. It is a sacred place, and for some, it is a place of creation. Later, the fort was the site of a concentration camp for 1,600 Dakota following the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.
  • U.S. military - The fort represents a site of U.S. military expansion into American Indian lands west of the Mississippi, including Dakota and Ojibwe homelands. Here, soldiers mustered throughout the 19th and 20th centuries to engage in national and global conflicts.
  • Slavery - Dred and Harriet Scott were among the enslaved people who used their residence at Fort Snelling to champion their fight for freedom in the 1850s.
  • Buffalo soldiers - During the 1880s, the fort was garrisoned by the 25th U.S. Infantry, an African American regiment often referred to as the "Buffalo Soldiers." This regiment fought in the Indian Wars west of the Mississippi.
  • Military intelligence - During World War II, Japanese Americans, many whose families had been forcibly relocated from the West Coast, trained at Fort Snelling to gather intelligence that helped end the war. Many made Minnesota home.
  • Veterans - The fort has served as a place of homecoming, service and healing for hundreds of thousands of American veterans, from the first hospital in Minnesota created inside the fort walls in 1820 to today’s VA and  National Cemetery.

Find out more about the project at www.mnhs.org/HFS2020 and join the discussion at #HFS2020.