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After 330 miles on horseback, Dakota arrive in MN city to remember mass execution


Hundreds of people gathered in Mankato Saturday morning to remember 38 Dakota men who were hanged exactly 153 years ago.

Every year on the anniversary of the hangings – the largest mass execution in U.S. history – people gather to honor Dakota people who lost their lives, forgive Americans for the persecutions, and move forward.

Some traveled 330 miles on horseback on a journey that started weeks ago – the 38+2 Memorial Ride started Dec. 10 at Lower Brule Indian Reservation in central South Dakota.

Others just showed up for the memorial service in Reconciliation Park, according to the Mankato Free Press.

For more pictures, check out the Star Tribune's photo gallery.

History of the ride

The memorial ride and service honors Dakota men and women who were either hanged or forced into concentration camps in the 19th century.

Col. Henry Sibley tracked down 303 men accused of killing or assaulting civilians during the Dakota War and sentenced them to be hanged. After reviewing the evidence, President Abraham Lincoln reduced that number to 38 men.

They were hanged in Mankato on Dec. 26, 1862.

The "+2" in 38+2 Memorial Ride refers to two Sioux leaders who were executed at Fort Snelling, KEYC says. 

The names of those killed are written on a monument at Reconciliation Park. The monument was dedicated in 2012 to bring "forgiveness and understanding," according to the Mankato Free Press. 

To learn more, you can watch this documentary.

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300-mile ride commemorating largest mass execution in U.S. history ends in Mankato

The annual memorial ride ends in Mankato, at the site of the mass execution of 38 Dakota men.

Wood purportedly from U.S.-Dakota War gallows won't be displayed

The Blue Earth County Historical Society has decided against displaying a piece of timber believed to be part of the gallows used to hang 38 tribal members during the U.S.-Dakota War. That hanging in Mankato was the largest mass execution in U.S. history. The historical society is marking the 150th anniversary of the war. Its director says the group is not trying to hide the timber, it just doesn't have the capacity to display it.