Our View: Take time to understand the Dakota War

If you have any interest in history — and perhaps even if you think you don't — then you won't want to miss the Minnesota History Center's new exhibit, "The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862."

The exhibit opened June 30, and as Minnesota marks the 150th anniversary of this tragic conflict, we have tremendous opportunity to better fully understand the circumstances that caused it and the toll that it took on the Dakota nation, settlers, soldiers and everyone whose lives were forever changed by the six weeks of conflict.

When the last shots had been fired, as many as 600 white civilians and soldiers had been killed, as had an unknown number of Dakota — including 38 who were hanged in Mankato on Dec. 16, 1862, in the largest mass execution in U.S. history. What was left of the Dakota nation was forcibly expelled from Minnesota.

It was the ugliest chapter in our state's history, but we can't hide from it.

In the upcoming weeks, the Post-Bulletin will mark this somber anniversary with plenty of feature stories and columns about the war. We expect to learn a lot ourselves in the process, and we hope our readers do, too.


But we'd also encourage you to check out the history center's exhibit in St. Paul, and to visit some of the historic sites in the Minnesota River Valley that have their own unique stories to tell about the war.

Mayo's stellar ranking

Mayo Clinic's medical excellence is so well-documented that it's easy to take for granted the latest ranking from U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals Honor Roll for 2012-2013.

Mayo consistently ranks near the top of most hospital surveys, but a closer look at the U.S. News & World Report's survey demonstrates how special Mayo is. Listed third overall, Mayo was rated at the nation's best hospital to be treated for diabetes and endrocrinology, gastroenerology and gynocology. It was rated No. 2 nationally in cardiology and heart surgery, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics and pulmonology.

Mayo also was lauded for being a "most connected" hospital, ranking first in "meaningful use" of electronic medical records ready for e-prescribing, transferring medical records and offering quality data to patients.

While most media focused with Massachusetts General Hospital of Boston ending Johns Hopkins Hospital of Baltimore's 21-year reign at the top of the rankings, we couldn't help but notice how close the cumulative point totals were. Mayo's ranking might be the equivalent of a bronze-medal finish, but the silver and the gold are well within reach.

Xcel excels in clean energy

A delegation from Xcel Energy met with the Post-Bulletin Editorial Board this week to discuss a variety of issues.


The topics ranged from peak demand during this summer's heat wave, the natural gas boom in North Dakota and Montana to the status of nuclear waste storage at Prairie Island.

But one subject brought up by Xcel, which serves 44 cities in southeastern Minnesota, stood out. More than 40 percent of the sources of Xcel's power are emission-free. Xcel is the nation's leader in wind energy, but the company is diversified to draw emission-free energy also from solar, hydro, biomass and nuclear sources.

Xcel is well-positioned to adapt to the rapidly changing energy market and is well head of the state mandate for the state's largest utility to reach 30 percent renewable sources by 2020.

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