DSU to honor the 150th anniversary of the Dakota 38

Dakota State University President, Dr. David Borofsky, invites the public to attend a community dinner honoring the 150th anniversary of the Dakota 38, on Friday, Dec. 14th, at 6:30 p.m. on the DSU campus in the Trojan Center Underground. A short program is scheduled, and Gene Hexom, the Madison mayor, will be in attendance.

The Dakota 38 ride started in the spring of 2005 after Jim Miller, a Native spiritual leader and Vietnam veteran, dreamt of riding on horseback across the plains of S.D. At the end of the dream, he arrived at a riverbank in Minn. and saw 38 of his Dakota ancestors. At the time, Jim knew nothing of the largest mass execution in U.S. history ordered by President Abraham Lincoln. 

In 2008, embracing the message of the dream, Jim and a group of riders retraced the route of his dream on horseback from Lower Brule, S.D. to Mankato, Minn., to arrive at the hanging site on the anniversary of the execution. The ride has been an annual event ever since.

The fate of the Dakota 38 came as the Dakota War concluded. On Dec. 26, 1862, in Mankato, Minn., 38 Dakota men, shackled together, were marched in single file to a scaffold guarded by 1,400 U.S. troops. As they were being led to the gallows, they sang a Dakota prayer; thanking the creator for everything they'd been given. The pull of a single lever ended the lives of 38 Dakota men. Indian culture remained suppressed for over a hundred years and their spiritual ceremonies were illegal up until 1978.

During the President’s community dinner, the Gordon Weston Post Color Guard from Flandreau, S.D. will post the Eagle Staff that was placed in their care and represents the Dakota 38. The Eagle Staff was presented to the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe by the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and represents the struggle of the Indian people to survive. The Eagle Staff is now carried by the Gordon Weston Post Color Guard at all pow-wows and cultural functions.

The 2012 Dakota 38 ride is scheduled to arrive in Madison on Friday, Dec. 14th. After a scheduled breakfast at River of Life Church at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, the riders will continue on their journey of healing.

Last Updated: 12/12/12