Photo by Rebecca Zenefski '10 / By Rebecca Studios.
Communication Studies faculty Margret McCue-Enser has been published in the Pioneer Press opinion section. "From the razing of 'Scaffold,' an opportunity to build," co-written with former Pioneer Press news columnist Nick Coleman, addresses the recent controversy surrounding the Walker Art Center. The museum drew heavy criticism for its installation of "Scaffold," an art piece by L.A.-based artist Sam Durant that was intended to raise awareness about capital punishment and cultural violence enacted by the United States. Part of the inspiration for "Scaffold," however, came from the "Dakota 38," the Mankato hanging of 38 Dakota Indians that occurred in 1862 and one of the largest mass executions in United States history — a genocidal misdeed McCue-Enser and Coleman describe as "a wound that has never completely healed."
McCue-Enser is an associate professor in the Communication Studies department at St. Kate's. She teaches a Global Search for Justice course, "Voices of Dissent," which focuses on the Dakota people and the U.S.–Dakota War of 1862.
"The column came out of the work I had already done as part of teaching this class," McCue-Enser said. "I feel that what Nick and I said in the column reflects the idea of seeing an issue from multiple perspectives, thinking very intentionally about justice, and holding institutions accountable."
"Looking at our history through Dakota eyes, we can perhaps see how the construction of 'Scaffold' reopened a wound that has never completely healed. If we are all willing to have a tough conversation, to engage with the history and the lives that carry the burden today, we will have a fuller understanding of this state and what it means to everyone in it — particularly those who feel the weight of it in their hearts."
— Margret McCue-Enser and Nick Coleman, "From the razing of 'Scaffold,' an opportunity to build"