The day after Christmas, Dec. 26, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln ordered the largest execution in United States history — the hanging of 38 Dakota (Sioux) men. At the heart of this is the genocide and land theft of the tribal nations by the white settler-colonialists.
“Today, all the people of the region continue to be affected by this traumatic event. We take the youth on the ride, so that they may connect with their culture in a more physical way. By being apart of the ride they are connecting themselves with their ancestors and their horse relatives. It is through the ride that they are able to see the beauty in the history and their culture.” SUNKTANKA
The Dakota 38 Plus 2 Memorial Ride is a ride that honors the 38 Dakota men who were hung in Mankato in December of 1862. The ride began from the vision of a Dakota elder and warrior. In this vision riders would ride from Crow Creek, SD to Mankato, MN. Ever since then the ride has continued to happen annually from the beginning year December 2005 to present collecting supporters and new riders along the way.Winona Goodthunder
My name is Winona Goodthunder. My Dakota name is Wambde Ho Waste Win, Eagle Woman with a Good Voice. I have ridden in this ride since 2006, the second year. I was in eighth grade when I started. As the years have gone by the riders that we’ve met every year have become a part of a new kind of family. We are all different even though we are all somehow related. Those of us who are from the Lower Sioux region are used to different types of living than those who come from Canada, Nebraska, South Dakota, and other parts of the world. The differences that we have are forgotten when we come to this ride. We get up early in the morning to get our horses ready together. We ride all day together, and we eat together at night. It is then that our differences merge and we teach each other. The thing that seems to bind us the most is the fact that we can laugh. Humor may not be what is expected on a memorial ride, but it is encouraged for it is stressed that this ride is for forgiveness. Although our group goes only for the last four days it is enough to establish that sense of family amongst each other. It is from these riders that I’ve learned most about my culture. I have read books, but they cannot foster the feeling that one gets when they are living in an experience such as the ride.
In the spring of 2005, Jim Miller, a Native spiritual leader and Vietnam veteran, found himself in a dream riding on horseback across the great plains of South Dakota. Just before he awoke, he arrived at a riverbank in Minnesota and saw 38 of his Dakota ancestors hanged. At the time, Jim knew nothing of the largest mass execution in United States history, ordered by Abraham Lincoln on December 26, 1862. “When you have dreams, you know when they come from the creator… As any recovered alcoholic, I made believe that I didn’t get it. I tried to put it out of my mind, yet it’s one of those dreams that bothers you night and day.”Smooth Feather
Now, four years later, embracing the message of the dream, Jim and a group of riders retrace the 330-mile route of his dream on horseback from Lower Brule, South Dakota to Mankato, Minnesota to arrive at the hanging site on the anniversary of the execution. “We can’t blame the wasichus anymore. We’re doing it to ourselves. We’re selling drugs. We’re killing our own people. That’s what this ride is about, is healing.” This is the story of their journey- the blizzards they endure, the Native and Non-Native communities that house and feed them along the way, and the dark history they are beginning to wipe away.
This film was created in line with Native healing practices. In honoring this ceremony, we are screening and distributing “Dakota 38″ as a gift rather than for sale. This film was inspired by one individual’s dream and is not promoting any organization or affiliated with any political or religious groups. It was simply created to encourage healing and reconciliation.
My friends Foxy and Alton Onefeather live near Lower Brule, where the ride begins.
Detailed stories and resources are available for this history, sometimes referred to as the Dakota War of 1862 here: http://www.usdakotawar.org/
I have watched this video, “Dakota 38”, many times. My friend and former roommate from Scattergood Friends School, Lee Tesdell, teaches in Mankato, and has spoken about this history with me.
The photography and, especially the story, are just excellent and very moving. I’ve been learning how trauma is passed from generation to generation. The events shown in the film “Dakota 38” occurred in 1862. “Today, all the people of the region continue to be affected by this traumatic event.” SUNKTANKA
Please note the video is age-restricted and only available on YouTube. Search for Dakota 38.
Composers Jay McKay and Jay Parrotta spent three years fusing sound and visuals into a cinematic experience that takes the viewer onto the Northern Plains and through a relentless pounding blizzard. Sound has the ability to transport, and the mix of chants, drums and melody is spellbinding.
Forgive Everyone Everything
FORGIVE EVERYONE EVERYTHING is inscribed on a bench in Reconciliation Park, Mankato, Minnesota, where the ride ends. The photo of the memorial shows a list of the names of the 38 Dakota men who were all hanged at the same time in what is now Mankato, Minnesota. A raised wooden platform, with 38 nooses along the sides, was constructed. It is said nearly 4,000 people witnessed this, the largest execution in U.S. history, on December 26, 1862. As to who needs to be forgiven, there are many answers to that. At the heart of this is the genocide and land theft of the tribal nations by the white settler-colonialists. More specifically this history came about as the Dakota were forced into smaller and smaller areas of land, to the point they could not sustain themselves.
NAMES OF THE EXECUTED INDIANS.
#1 was to be TA-TAY-ME-MA but he was reprieved because of his age and questions related to his innocence
- Plan-doo-ta, (Red Otter.)
- Wy-a-tah-ta-wa, (His People.)
- Hin-hau-shoon-ko-yag-ma-ne, (One who walks clothed in an Owl’s Tail.)
- Ma-za-bom-doo, (Iron Blower.)
- Wak-pa-doo-ta, (Red Leaf.)
- Wa-he-hua, _.
- Sua-ma-ne, (Tinkling Walker.)
- Ta-tay-me-ma, (Round Wind) — respited.
- Rda-in-yan-ka, (Rattling Runner.)
- Doo-wau-sa, (The Singer.)
- Ha-pau, (Second child of a son.)
- Shoon-ka-ska, (White Dog.)
- Toon-kau-e-cha-tag-ma-ne, (One who walks by his Grandfather.)
- E-tay-doo-tay, (Red Face.)
- Am-da-cha, (Broken to Pieces.)
- Hay-pe-pau, (Third child of a son.)
- Mah-pe-o-ke-na-jui, (Who stands on the Clouds.)
- Harry Milord, (Half Breed.)
- Chas-kay-dau, (First born of a son.)
- Baptiste Campbell, _.
- Ta-ta-ka-gay, (Wind Maker.)
- Hay-pin-kpa, (The Tips of the Horn.)
- Hypolite Auge, (Half-breed.)
- Ka-pay-shue, (One who does not Flee.)
- Wa-kau-tau-ka, (Great Spirit.)
- Toon-kau-ko-yag-e-na-jui, (One who stands clothed with his Grandfather.)
- Wa-ka-ta-e-na-jui, (One who stands on the earth.)
- Pa-za-koo-tay-ma-ne, (One who walks prepared to shoot.)
- Ta-tay-hde-dau, (Wind comes home.)
- Wa-she-choon, (Frenchman.)
- A-c-cha-ga, (To grow upon.)
- Ho-tan-in-koo, (Voice that appears coming.)
- Khay-tan-hoon-ka, (The Parent Hawk.)
- Chau-ka-hda, (Near the Wood.)
- Hda-hin-hday, (To make a rattling voice.)
- O-ya-tay-a-kee, (The Coming People.)
- Ma-hoo-way-ma, (He comes for me.)
- Wa-kin-yan-wa, (Little Thunder.)