Dakota Indian horseback riders and support teams gather each year in South Dakota for an annual 325 mile memorial journey to southern Minnesota. Their ride will end in Mankato on Dec. 26, the 150th anniversary of the largest mass execution in U.S. history. On that day in 1862, 38 Dakota men were hanged from a single gallows platform in downtown Mankato in retribution for the US-Dakota war. The horseback ride will grow as it moves east, with more groups joining in. President Abraham Lincoln ordered the hanging and later, two chief’s following their uprising against the U.S. government after the U.S. failed to honor land treaties, delayed federal payments to starving tribes and local white settlers rejected tribes’ offers to buy food on credit. After the war, the Dakotas were expelled to South Dakota and Nebraska, and their reservations in Minnesota abolished. Jim Miller, a Vietnam veteran and descendant of the Dakotas, started the ride in 2005, to bring the Dakota people together. The ride is to raise awareness to the significance impact of the mass hanging, and to bring reconciliation among all people of the region so that they may move forward in a positive way and experience the beauty in the history and their culture.
Scott Mc Kiernan, Founder & CEO, ZUMA Press