The New London City Council has decided *not* to move forward at this time on a resolution to change the name of Sibley State Park. Former Park Naturalist Kelsey Olson wants the name changed because Henry Hastings Sibley, Minnesota’s first governor, was guilty of genocide by trying to rid the state of its native Dakota population. Olson says she’d like to see the park, in northwest Kandiyohi County, be named after its natural beauty:
“Sibley State Park is over 100 years and I think it’s time that it has a name that I said really honors the peaceful serene and celebrated park that it is.”
Jacob Kliedon from New London opposes the name change:
“I think what they should do is teach maybe a little bit more about the history you know why it’s named that and history of the Mr. Sibley himself just so people know. You can’t change history.”
Olson and Kliedon’s opposing petitions can be found on change.org.
Sibley spent many years working with The Dakota as a fur trader. He was a hunting companion of Chief Little Crow, was an interpreter, and even had a child with a Dakota woman. But when the U.S.- Dakota War of 1862 broke out, Sibley was given the task of putting down the rebellion, and eventually oversaw the trials of accused Dakota participants which led to the mass hanging of nearly 40 Dakota in December of 1862.