It happened on December 26, 1862. The hanging of 38 from the Dakota people after a war with the United States. This sad history is commemorated every year with a ride to remember those who died that day.

I must admit that I was not aware of this battle/conflict/war until I saw this video today shared on YouTube.

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That led me to an article from Indian Country Today which chronicled what led to December 26, 1862. It tells the story of the US/Dakota war of 1862 where offenders from that conflict who's execution was ordered by President Abraham Lincoln. As they tell it, originally President Lincoln wanted only those who had been confirmed to rape to be killed. Eventually that expanded to 38 Native Americans.

The US/Dakota War website shares the oral histories of what happened in Minnesota in that conflict.

Why mourn those who were executed for war crimes? The Indian Country Today story implies that several innocent people who were mistaken for others were among those executed. The US/Dakota War website also mentions the sparse evidence used to convict those who were killed on December 26, 1862. They shared Abraham Lincoln's words to the US Senate in regards to why this execution was carried out:

Anxious to not act with so much clemency as to encourage another outbreak on one hand, nor with so much severity as to be real cruelty on the other, I ordered a careful examination of the records of the trials to be made, in view of first ordering the execution of such as had been proved guilty of violating females.

While only 2 were convicted of rape, 38 were executed and that's what this ride commemorates. No matter what side of the conflict you believe was on the side of right, this is a sad ride remembering a sad time in the history of America.

There's even more backstory to this event on the official Fort Snelling website which is worth diving into to better understand what happened.

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