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Rep. Dean Urdahl: Norwegian Immigrants & the U.S. Dakota War of 1862

  • Norway House 913 East Franklin Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55404 USA (map)
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Dean Urdahl speaks about Min­nesota’s ‘war within a war’ in the Minnesota River Valley during the autumn of 1862. It has been over 150 years since the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, a disastrous time in Minnesota history. The war had a profound impact in shaping Minnesota as we know it today. (MNHS)

A former history teacher, and Civil War guru and writer of historical fiction, Dean Urdahl has authored a series of novels – Uprising, RetributionPursuit, Conspiracy!, Three Paths to Glory and Remains of Glory – detailing events of the 1860s. Urdahl's family helped settle Litchfield Township in 1856, two years before Minnesota became the 32nd state. The U.S.-Dakota Conflict started across the lake from Urdahl's home; his great-great-grandfather buried the conflict's first five victims.

Dean taught American history for 35 years at New London-Spicer schools and is serving his eighth term in the Minnesota House, representing an area west of the Twin Cities encompassing all of Meeker County and portions of Wright and McLeod. Urdahl, who chairs the House Capital Investment Committee, served as Minnesota’s commissioner to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and was instrumental in forming the Minnesota Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.

A descendant of Norwegian pioneers, Dean resides with his wife and editor, Karen, on a hobby farm near Litchfield. He also has written The Collar and the Gun, the story of Fr. John Kaiser; Touching bases with our Memories, a history of the Minnesota Twins; and Lives Lived Large: Minnesotans in the Public Eye. In his spare time, Urdahl enjoys reading, playing softball and basketball and occasionally participating in Civil War re-enactments.

Free to the public. No RSVP required.

image: The US Dakota War Battlefield - wikimedia commons.