MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Sibley Park is a well-known recreation ground in the area of Mankato.
The park offers playgrounds, a petting farm, flowers, grassy areas to sit and historical sites.
Sibley Park is named after Henry H. Sibley, a fur trader and leader of battles in the Sioux Uprising and Minnesota’s first governor. He also played a role in the 1862 mass hanging in Mankato.
Megan Schnitker says it’s a part of history that is not being talked about.
“Can we have the history included of the general, all the dirty and nasty things that he did. He used a language barrier to help in the Dakota 38 hanging. He used a language barrier to acquire land that was given to Indigenous people that were here by treaty,” Megan Schnitker said.
A couple of years ago a group of visitors had a protest in response to the Dakota 38 ride. The group referred to Sibley Park as hang man’s park.
This protest was one of the main motivators for Schnitker to bring new inclusion to the park’s name.
“What is Sibley Park named after and who is that. So, the conversation started with the Mahkato Wacipi committee. They decided that it is not their mission. The Indigenous People’s Day committee, which I am a chair of, said we’ll think about it. That is a big controversial thing right now and so is the renaming of things,” explained Schnitker.
Schnitker wants to highlight that she is focused on the education around Sibley Park and not the renaming of it.
“Current history is in the eyes of the victor and it’s missing huge chunks of history. I want all history to be included, I want our history to be included. I don’t want things to be renamed, I want other history and names to be included. This area had a name for this place well before settlers. If anything I would like that name to be brought back and added to the Sibley Park name,” Schnitker explained.
Schnitker says Glenn Wasicuna is under high consideration for the name inclusion at what is currently only named Sibley Park.
“He has been a huge part of MSU and the American Indian Studies Department as far as bringing back the Dakota language to the area. Teaching many generations Dakota language which he has a spirit name, Dakota name and I would advocate for the park to be named after him while he is still here.”