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.

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