The Spirit Lake massacre/incident in March of 1857 was a dark moment in Midwestern history–incited by indigenous resistance to their loss of homeland, culture, and people. A number of white settlers in northwest Iowa’s lakes region were killed. Four female survivors were taken by lnkpaduta and his band of Dakota Sioux. Tracked by militias and military, they took their captives north into Minnesota, then west into what is now South Dakota. Come May 1857, two of the captives had lost their lives. And two survived, including young Abigail Gardner, who went on to write an autobiography of her grim experience. Eventually the two survivors were rescued by friendly Dakotas thanks to Minnesota Indian agent Charles Flandrau. lnkpaduta and his struggling people also survived, escaping westward onto the Great Plains and its more resistant indigenous culture.
Iowa’s white population:
In 1850: 192,214
ln 1860: 674,913
The massacre begins in NW Iowa and ventures into nearby states, including South Dakota, the pipestone area of Minnesota, and finally concluding in St. Paul, MN at a reception with the Minnesota Governor.
ARTIST GARY KELLEY grew up mostly in Algona, Iowa, … a town that historically had its own experience with lnkpaduta’s Dakotas, but survived. He earned a degree in art from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, where his studio is today. His career as a graphic designer rapidly evolved into one of illustration, painting, drawing, and visual storytelling.
Elected to the New York Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame, Gary has won thirty medals from their annual juried exhibitions. He has illustrated over thirty picture books for readers of all ages, including in 2014, The Harlem Hellfighters, one of The New York Times finalists for Picture Book of the Year. Moon of the Snowblind is his first true graphic novel.
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