Minnesota school drops name of 1st governor amid complaints

Published 5:02 pm Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

MENDOTA HEIGHTS — A Twin Cities-area high school will no longer be named after Minnesota’s first governor, following complaints by community members and alumni about his treatment of the state’s Dakota people.

The West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan Area School Board voted Monday evening to drop Henry Sibley’s name from the school.

Sibley, who commanded troops in the U.S.-Dakota War, established the military commission that in 1862 sentenced 303 Dakota men to death. Thirty-eight of them were victims of a mass hanging.

Email newsletter signup

Board member Stephanie Levine, who moved approval of the resolution to rename the school, said she has been uncomfortable with the name for several years.

“I want to be clear that a name change in no way erases history, and students should continue to learn about the complex legacy of Henry Sibley and the Native inhabitants on whose land we now live,” Levine said. “His legacy should be studied and remembered, but not honored with the name of our high school.”