Dakota 38+2 Memorial Ride reaches destination; a dream ends
Over the past 17 years, Jim Miller’s dream became a mass movement.
MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Since 2005, the annual Dakota 38 + 2 Memorial Ride wrote its own history to reconcile with Mankato’s tragic history:
On Dec. 26, exactly 160 years ago, 38 Dakota men and two others were publicly executed in downtown Mankato.
To honor those who have passed, the memorial riders travel to raise awareness, and send prayers for others and for forgiveness.
“Every step of the horse’s hoof touching Mother Earth binds us to our ancestors... the ride gives a voice to the 38 plus 2 wrongfully murdered,” speaker Jimmy Hallum said.
Former staff carrier and Vietnam veteran Jim Miller founded the memorial ride after it came to him in a dream.
And over the past 17 years, Miller’s dream became a mass movement:
“Where it’s title is to forgive everyone and everything,” Dakota 38 + 2 memorial ride ayapha “voice” Todd Finney said. “He made a difference and we all have that chance to do that. Don’t be afraid to dream and don’t be afraid to pray into it or thoughts or good vibes. Because, if it’s done right, it turns into something like this.”
The group rode from the Land of Memories to Reconciliation Park, completing the *final memorial ride.
With the retirement of four senior staff members, including Miller, the annual memorial ride received its own retirement.
“My brother is retiring the staff through spiritual guidance,” speaker & Jim Miller’s sister Josette Peltier said. “The ancestors are happy with the sacrifice that many made.”
Despite the impact of winter weather and blizzard conditions over the past week, riders say they never delayed a moment to reach Reconciliation Park on time.
The journey took 16 days: traveling from Lower Brule, South Dakota, until they met their destination in Mankato:
A 330-mile trip on horseback.
“It was rough,” Finney said. “I mean, we had 60 mile-an-hour winds and a ground blizzard, but the horses wanted to go, the guys wanted to go. So, we used experienced riders with large trucks and we took it slow.”
Organizers say the next goal is to pass legislation for a national day of remembrance and to teach the next generation indigenous history and peace.
“And it’s my hope that as years go down, that my children’s children and your children’s children come to this place and remember it as a place of reconciliation where our history started to go in the right direction,” Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said.
“For [Miller,] that’s fulfilled, but there are other dreamers,” Finney said. “There are other dreams. This is just chapter one. So, we’re able to bring chapter one to a good close.”
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