Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.
One of the efforts I try to make is to visit historic sites I encounter during our travels. On my way to a fishing lake I saw the sign for Fort Snelling. I knew nothing about this fort but decided to check it out.
I was initially put off by the $12 entrance fee but decided to take the plunge. I entered the information video just in time to watch the credits roll. The sign said every 30 minutes which meant I had another 15 to wait. I opted to move on to the exhibits in the visitors center.
Fort Snelling was one of the oldest settlements in the state of Minnesota. The fort is over 180 years old. The fort tower is the oldest structure in the state and the commandants house is the oldest house in the state. The fort was active until after World War II. Fort Snelling served as a powerful force in the wilderness and as a covert intelligence training center in the 20th century.
Fort Snelling also has another side. It housed slaves from 1820-1840 while slavery was illegal in the territory and detained Dredd and Harriet Scott while they awaited trial in the 1850’s. It served as a concentration camp for the Dakota after the Dakota War in 1862 and and an internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II. These events were depicted along with the story of the positive ways the fort transformed the territory and the nation.
My visit to Fort Snelling was both informative and provocative. It made me think about what has transpired and how that could alter our actions in the future.
THOUGHTS: The past is the past and while all facts are subject to interpretation, the events of the past can’t be ignored. We need to own our past . . . all of our past. We need to remember the past to ensure we do better in the future.