December 26, 2011

Annual ride for Mankato 38

Minnesota’s Darkest Memory: The Hanging of the 38

By Nick ColemanNOTE: 2012 will mark the 150th anniversary of the most terrible event in Minnesota’s history: The war between the Dakota Sioux tribes and the new state government that followed the war with a merciless campaign of retribution and racism. My plan is to spend significant time over the coming year remembering and exploring this history and its effects on our state, then and now.

Today, the 149th anniversary of the mass execution that concluded the war, I am re-posting the piece I published Dec. 26, 2010.

Dec. 26, 1862: The execution of the 38 Dakota warriors at Mankato: Revenge and rage drove the flawed legal proceedings behind the kangaroo-court convictions of 303 Indians who surrendered after the U.S.- Dakota war of that autumn. Only President Lincoln’s aversion to mass punishment limited the hangman’s toll to 38. But the stain of those official killings, followed by the official banishment of the Dakota Sioux from their home (banishment or extermination was the state’s policy) left a mark of shame on Minnesota that has colored all the years since, and which has made it almost impossible to even talk about the events of 1862. Now, proposals have been made to extend a posthumous “pardon” to one of the hanged. Pardoning one man doesn’t even come close to an official recognition of the wrongs done to the Dakota, or to comprehending the scale of an avoidable tragedy that claimed hundreds of lives on all sides of the racial divide that was the cradle of Minnesota’s birth.
Dakota Indians Ride for Their Ancestors almost 150 Years Later

By Mallory Peebles149 years ago today 38 Dakota Indians were hung in Mankato.

It's a dark day in history but a group of American Indians are hoping to change that with a tradition that's about forgiveness.

The 330-mile ride started in South Dakota and ends here in Mankato...the site of the largest mass execution in America's history.

Miller says, "In the dream I see 38 of my ancestors being hung. The dream and I know that it came from the creator so I acted on it."
Comment:  For more on Mankato, see Dakota Music Tour and Pardon the Mankato 38?

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