Land of Memories storm

A man works to salvage a large tent at Land of Memories Park erected as part of the powwow after a storm came through early Friday. A 4-year-old girl inside a tent in the nearby campground with her family was killed when a branch fell on her.

The Free Press

MANKATO — A 4-year-old girl was killed early Friday morning when a tree branch fell on a tent she was camping in at Land of Memories Park.

Police received a call at 2:30 a.m. and began life-saving measures on the girl. She was taken to the Mayo Clinic Health System hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

The girl was Nytalia Ashes, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, said powwow Chairman Dave Brave Heart.

Land of Memories is the site of the annual powwow, which began Friday and runs through Sunday. The girl and her family were at Land of Memories to attend the event, Brave Heart said.

Other family member occupants in the tent were not injured.

“She was planning to dance in her new jingle dress today,” Brave Heart said. “They’re pretty traumatized. It’s a difficult time for all of us.”

Another branch fell on a second tent as well. An adult male was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, said Mankato Director of Public Safety Amy Vokal during a briefing Friday.

Parks department workers were at Land of Memories on Friday morning cleaning up debris and checking for any additional hazards from trees.

Prior to the start of the powwow’s annual Education Day, Brave Heart addressed the gathered sixth grade students and their teachers and chaperones.

“It’s kind of a cloud over our powwow right now,” he said, “but we’re going to try to make it OK with ceremony and prayer.”

The Mankato region did not receive the high winds seen elsewhere in the state in the overnight storm, but branches and limbs were down around the area.

Parts of the Twin Cities, particularly the southern suburbs, had trees down and wind damage with wind gusts of more than 60 mph.

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