Dawn Quigley


Dawn Quigley, Ph.D. and citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe, ND, is an assistant professor at a Midwest university Education Department. She taught English and reading for 18+ years in the K-12 schools along with being an Indian Education program co-director. In addition to her debut coming-of-age Young Adult novel, Apple in the Middle (NDSU Press), “Joey Reads the Sky” in Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids, the chapter book series Jo Jo Makoons: The Used to Be Best Friend (book #1); Jo Jo Makoons: Fancy Pants (#2), Red Bird Danced (forthcoming novel-in-verse), and Native American Heroes (Scholastic Books). Dawn has over 30 published articles, essays and poems. She lives in Minnesota with her family. Source

Blue Earth Banks

Mankato, MN, my hometown, is the site of the largest mass execution ever on US soil: a platform, 38 men hung, jeers and sneers of the masses. This is the aftermath of the US Dakota War. Growing up I remember a small plaque, referring to this historical event, lay hidden among the library shadows. Now, a public library sits on this site next to the Minnesota River—a waterway encased in blue clay shores. These are the voices I heard: the 38 Dakota. I hope we always remember the stories and lives of the Original People.


Their memory, do not let it lie fallow

On the blue earth banks

Which caught the 38 tears

As they spilled, shedding death amid jeers.

Mother absorbed them,

Heard them,

Entwined them in the River Minnesota.

Oh, Mankato. My Mankato, what have you done?

The shades of flesh are not





Honor and dishonor,

Truth and deceptions,

Peace and fury.

So, Mother, continue your burial.

Swallow the 38 into your blue earthen clay,

Molding a fount to hold the tears:

Washing out the words sioux uprising and dakota conflict.


Mother, clasp the vibrations

Of their last voices rising to sing,

I am here!

From the water’s edge,

Let all remember and hear your funeral dirge in the currents of the River Minnesota.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Intersectionality & Culture


Poems of Place

Literary Devices:


conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie


a short quotation or saying at the beginning of a book or chapter, intended to suggest its theme


the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered