Dakota 38+2 Memorial Ride honors ancestors 159 years after mass execution

Sunday’s ceremony consisted of prayers, speeches and songs.
Dakota 38+2 Memorial Ride arrives in Mankato, Minn.
Dakota 38+2 Memorial Ride arrives in Mankato, Minn.(KEYC News Now)
Published: Dec. 26, 2021 at 7:45 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - On Dec. 26, 1862, 38 Dakota men were hanged in front of more than 4,000 spectators.

They were sent to the gallows under order of President Abraham Lincoln following the U.S.-Dakota War.

It was the largest mass execution in the nation’s history, and it happened in downtown Mankato.

Sunday marked 159 years since the hanging.

People came together to honor the 38 as well as two others executed in 1865.

It was all part of the annual Dakota 38 + 2 Memorial Ride.

Mason Red Wing, the ride’s horseman said, “38 of my leaders, my ancestors, were hung on this day, and we’re gonna commemorate that.”

The journey started in Lower Brule, South Dakota on Dec. 9th.

Horseback riders traveled 330 miles, braving cold temperatures and icy conditions, before arriving at the site of the hangings-- now called Reconciliation Park.

Ride leader Todd Finney stated, “We ride from Crow Creek, the reservation that we were exiled to initially by Abraham Lincoln. Then we pray to forgive everyone everything, from Crow Creek to Mankato, to arrive on the day and the time that the hanging took place.”

A remembrance ceremony is held each year on the anniversary of the mass execution.

Sunday’s ceremony consisted of prayers, speeches and songs.

The names of all 40 men were read aloud.

Several are ancestors of the ride’s participants who are determined to keep their legacy alive and history uncovered.

“My great-great-great grandfather was hung. It’s all about family, and it’s all about just praying in a good way to try and bring peace among everyone,” Finney explained.

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