Dakota elders meet to discuss sculpture’s fate

Published 10:32 pm Monday, June 26, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS — Dakota elders have met privately in Sisseton, South Dakota, to talk about what to do with wood from a dismantled sculpture at the Walter Art Center in Minneapolis that was met with protests from Native Americans.

The art center removed the gallows-like sculpture called “Scaffold” because of opposition from those who said it brought back painful memories of the mass hanging of 38 Dakota men in 1862. Artist Sam Durant said the sculpture was intended to raise awareness about capital punishment and America’s violent past. But, protesters said it was insensitive and trivialized a dark chapter in Minnesota and Dakota history.

The wood remains in storage. Mediator Stephanie Hope Smith said the meeting Sunday did not set any time or process on how the wood should be handled.

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