Fort Snelling State Park, St. Paul, Minnesota—September 2016 44° 53’ 01”N 93° 10’ 57” Elevation 760 feet
The Traveling cairn nests in a 7-foot diameter hollow tree that may be over 200 years old and a witness to some of the darkest events in American history.
The U.S. Army’s Fort Snelling was established in the early 1800s at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers as a fur trading and military post in land occupied by the Dakota and Ojibwa people. People of African descent were enslaved by fur traders and military officers stationed at the fort. Dread and Harriet Scott were the property of Dr. John Emerson, stationed at the fort from 1836–1840. When Dr. Emerson was transferred to Florida for the Second Seminole Indian War, Mrs. Emerson moved with the Scotts to St. Louis where they sued for their freedom and lost. During the Dakota-US War of 1862, 1,600 Dakota were held prisoner under harsh conditions through the winter. Many people died before they were taken to the Crow Creek Reservation in the spring.