Monday, December 17, 2012

Special Invitation to the Dakota Legacy Event Dec. 26

You are invited to support Dakota people in their observance of the 150th anniversary of the mass hanging of 38 Dakota men in Mankato, MN in 1862.

Dear Friend of the Saint Paul Interfaith Network (SPIN),

We are approaching a sad date in a history we all share but is only recently getting broad public attention. Dec. 26 marks the 150th year since the largest mass execution in U.S. history, the hanging of 38 Dakota men following the Dakota-U.S. War of 1862. To remember the event, a number of Dakota elders have organized a 330-mile horse ride, staring near Lower Brule, South Dakota and ending in Mankato, Minnesota where the hanging took place. Healing Minnesota Stories, an initiative of the St. Paul Interfaith Network (SPIN), is encouraging people from different faith communities to support this memorial ride.

To understand the effects of the tragic events of the war, we must first know its history. The war occurred against a backdrop of broken treaties and bad faith dealings with the Dakota people. The retribution following the war was particularly cruel. It included a brutal forced march of Dakota women and children, none of whom participated in the fighting, the exile of Dakota people from the state, and bounties on the heads of those who remained. As some Dakota began returning to the state in the years following, the abuse continued with the suppression of Dakota language, culture and religion.

Here are some ways you can support the ride and the Dakota people.

1.      Pray.  The impact of the war and the aftermath continue to reverberate in relations between European- and Indigenous Americans. It calls us to prayer and discernment to find ways to build bridges and right wrongs.
2.      Serve.  Healing Minnesota Stories is recruiting volunteers to help prepare and serve meals in support of the riders and the Dakota community. Volunteers are needed in Courtland, Minnesota on the evening of Dec. 24, and in Mankato the evening of Dec. 25 and midday Dec. 26. If you are able to help, please contact Werdina Leith at 651-468-8985.
3.      Attend.  The riders are expected to arrive in Mankato on Dec. 26 around 10 a.m., the time of the hanging. A ceremony of remembrance will take place at Land of Memories Park. Your ministry of presence is requested to witness and affirm their journey.
4.      Provide rides/carpool: For those who plan to attend and would be willing to share extra space in their car, or need a ride, we are organizing a carpool option. Contact Renee Pfenning at or 651-292-8760 by Dec. 21st.  (In order to arrive in Mankato on time, the car pool cars will depart the Twin Cities around 7 a.m.)
5.      Contribute.  Financial contributions will be used to support the ride and the ongoing work of Healing Minnesota Stories. Send contributions to “SPACC/SPIN” at 1671 Summit Ave., St. Paul 55105, and put Healing Minnesota Stories in memo line. Or, to contribute on-line  [click here], then click “Donate” and type “HMS” in the “Dedicate this gift to….” line.

Friday, November 16, 2012

2012 Dakota Commemorative March

"Manipi Hena Owasin Wicunkiksuyapi"
We Remember All Those Who Walked
2012 Dakota Commemorative March crossing the Mendota Bridge during the final mile to Fort Snelling. 
The photo shows the Dakota sacred land called Bdote (near the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers) which became the site where 1700 noncombatant women, children and elders were held for the 1862-1863 winter; The granite walls of Fort Snelling and the Minneapolis create the distant skyline.

Dakota Elders lead the ceremonial procession from the Mendota  bridge to the walls of Historic Fort Snelling, currently operated by the Minnesota Historical Center.

Passing by Fort Snelling on the left, the marchers descend the hill, entering Bdote -- the Dakota "Garden of Eden" – a location now called Fort Snelling State Park.    Hundreds of Dakota would be buried in unmarked graves inside and around the Concentration Camp stockade during the 1862-63 winter.  Those who survived the winter were boarded on paddle boats like cattle in May 1863; other Dakota were hunted like animals after government awarded $200 bounties were offered.  Following the directive of the US Congressional Indian Removal Act of 1863, the remaining "Sioux" became officially exiled from Minnesota. During this 150th anniversary year, many Dakota people are asking advocates to help encourage Congress to amend the Indian Removal Act.

For those who wish to learn more about this event, or donate to assist with expenses of this event, the upcoming 2012 Dakota 38+2 Memorial Ride or Mankato Run please visit  OR
(under construction)

Press links

Photos  are provided courtesy of Bloomington Rotary Daymakers.  Permission is granted with the blessing of Dakota Elders for you to share these photos and to reprint them for honorable, non-commercial publications.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Suppporting Dakota People

The faith community is encouraged to help support the Dakota people who are leading and participating in the November 7-13 Dakota Commemorative March and the Dakota 38 horse ride this December along with other commemorative or educational events.  Many events have already happened this summer which marked the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the US-Dakota Indian War of 1862.  Many more are scheduled this year (see page above).

Through this site, we hope to help streamline non-Dakota positive intentions into a more effective and culturally appropriate manner by sharing information as it is provided to the Healing Minnesota Stories group.

What is the 2012 Dakota Commemorative March?
Dakota participants will have an opening morning prayer on November 7, 2012 at the Lower Sioux Agency Historical Site on Highway 2 near Morton Minnesota.  After leaving the site, the group will walk east with wooden stakes and prayer ties along a route to Fort Snelling, Minnesota.   Along the way, approximately each mile, the Dakota group will offer prayers and tobacco after a stake is respectfully hammered into the ground and the name of one of the families that was on the "Minnesota Trail of Tears" in 1862 is read aloud.  This is not a parade or a protest -- it is a prayer walk.

Map: Commemorative March Route

Each stake records the name of one of the families who marched in 1862, many of whom have descendants participating on the 2012 march.   This spiritual prayer walk winds across the Minnesota. Similar to the historic march, the group will travel approximately 20 miles a day.  On Tuesday November 13 the marchers will  a sacred place called Bdote (pronounced Bdoh-tay), meaning the meeting place or the confluence of the Minnesota River and the Mississippi River and is the equivalent of the Dakota's Garden of Eden.  In 1862, Fort Snelling overlooked Bdote. which became the site of the  concentration camp setting below the bluff.


All remaining stakes from the march are placed at Bdote on Tuesday November 13, the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Dakota's ancestors to the Dakota concentration camp.

More details coming soon: See the page above "Support the Marchers."

Opportunities for Dialogue

Wokiksuye K'a Woyounihan
(Remembering and Honoring)

A series of community presentation and conversations. Dakota people will be present to share their stories, experiences and history of their people in the years since the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. 
Although each program is designed to stand alone, attending the full series will allow for a broader variety of perspectives,voices and stories.

For people within our religious communities & community at large including American Indian people

1. To witness and hear these personal stories and experiences by Dakota decedents from The U.S. - Dakota War of 1862 to present day
2. To engage in structured &facilitated dialogue about what was hear and what is experienced today
3. To experienced deepened understanding between American Indians & others in the community who are not American Indian
4. To create a climate of respect and possibilities for new stories, act of justice and healing.

Sponsored by Saint Paul Interfaith Network
(SPIN)St. Paul Area Council of Churches/Department of Indian Work
St. Paul Public Schools Indian Education Program

Wesley Center for Service, Spirituality and Social Justice of Hamline University

Funding is provided in part by:
Bush Foundation
Rotary 5950/5960 clubs
Local congregations, individuals and community organizations.

Look for growing list of sponsoring congregations and organizations

Four Mondays in 2012 (October 15, October 22, October 29, November 5)

Doors open 6:30 PM; Program 7:00-9:15 p.m.

*Hamline University ST PAUL CAMPUS
Anderson University Center  (October 15 only)

774 Snelling Avenue (NE corner of Snelling and Englewood, next to Sorin)

* American Indian Magnet School (October 22, October 29, November 5)
1075 E. 3rd St., Saint Paul, MN 55106 - north of Mounds Blvd.  


October 15:
Documentary Film "Dakota 38"

Click for Movie Trailer

Jim Miller, Lakota Spiritual Leader and partner, Alberta Iron Cloud
Watch the documentary of modern Dakota who ride on horseback 330 miles to the site of the hanging of the 38 Dakota which took place in Mankato, Minnesota in December 1862.  After the movie, discussion is led by the founders of the commemorative ride.

October 22: Dakota Voices I
Art Owen,
Historian and Spiritual Leader, Mdewakanton
JB Weston, Tribal historian, Flandreau Santee Tribe historic Preservation Office
Moderator: Michelle Thompson-Tuttle, Executive  Director American Indian Family Council

October 29: Dakota Voices II
Sydney Beane
, Educator/activist, Mdewakantan Dakota/Flandreau Santee Sioux
Gabrielle Strong, Descendant of Dakota 38, enrolled member of Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate
Moderator: Sharon Romano, Oginee Equay, White Earth Indian Reservation; Executive Director or Department of Indian Work, St Paul Area Council of Churches

November 5: Future Voices
5 American Indian students tell their stories and hopes
Moderator: David Cournoyer, member Rosevud Sioux Tribe. 

American Indian Drum Group: Red Loge Singers with Head Singer Kerry Benton