It was only a few weeks ago that I sat in front of my screen preparing to share with you the story of Jane Smith Williamson, one of the most significant of the “Dakota Soul Sisters.” At that time, I had applied for a Research Fellowship at the Minnesota Historical Society – a fellowship focused on sharing Jane’s letters with the goal of reaching a better understanding of how the Dakota mission schools and school teachers interacted with the Federal Government/treaty funded schools in the years prior to 1862. I never dreamed I’d be one of just four individuals to receive this particular fellowship which is in its initial year of funding under Minnesota’s Legacy Fund program.
I begin my residency at the Minnesota History Center Gale Family Library on June 4. The result of my research will be an article about the Dakota missions, based on Jane’s letters. It will be published on the History Center’s MNOpedia site and possibly as an article in Minnesota History. Because of this unexpected opportunity, I have to hold off on telling Jane’s story on the Soul Sisters site so that anything I do publish for the fellowship will be original material. I apologize that you’ll just have to wait to hear Jane’s amazing story.
I plan to continue Soul Sisters though and am considering sharing the somewhat sad, but meaningful story of Mary Napayshne, a Dakota girl who grew up at Kaposia and who was one of Jane Williamson’s students.