“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Mankato in Blue Earth County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Dakota (Sioux) Memorial – 1862

Dakota (Sioux) Memorial Marker image. Click for full size.
December 2, 2008
1. Dakota (Sioux) Memorial Marker
Inscription. The last act of the Minnesota Dakota (Sioux) War took place here in Mankato on December 26, 1862 when thirty-eight Dakota Indians died in a mass execution on this site.

The Dakota War was a culmination of years of friction between Dakota and whites as settlement pushed into Indian hunting grounds. Government agents and missionaries hoped the Dakota could be taught to live as farmers and worship as Christians but Chief Big Eagle said many years later, “It seemed too sudden to make a change . . . If the Indians had tried to make the whites live like them, the whites would have resisted and it was the same with many Indians.” The Minnesota uprising was one of the nation’s most costly Indian wars, both in lives lost and property destroyed. It resulted in the near depletion of the frontier and the exile of the Dakota from Minnesota.

At the war’s conclusion several hundred Indians were tried by a five man territory commission and on November 5, 1862, 303 were sentenced to death. Henry B. Whipple, Episcopal Bishop of Minnesota met with President Abraham Lincoln on behalf of the Indians. After listening to the bishop and personally reviewing the trial records, Lincoln commuted the death sentence for all but thirty-eight prisoners.

At 10 am on December
Dakota (Sioux) Memorial Marker and Winter Warrior Statue image. Click for full size.
December 2, 2008
2. Dakota (Sioux) Memorial Marker and Winter Warrior Statue
The Warrior, at the site of the execution, faces Reconciliation Park, across the street from the library and on the bank of the Minnesota River.
26, 1862, the condemned men, chanting the Dakota death song, marched in single file to a scaffold guarded buy 1,400 troops in full battle dress. A crowd of citizens were on hand to witness the largest mass execution in United States history.
The first memorial reconciliation ceremony, sponsored by the Native Americans and Mankato community, was held on this site November 5, 1978, in an endeavor to move forward together as one people striving for social change and equality through education and understanding.
Erected 1978 by the Minnesota Historical Society and the Blue Earth County Historical Society.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Minnesota Historical Society marker series.
Location. 44° 10.078′ N, 94° 0.155′ W. Marker is in Mankato, Minnesota, in Blue Earth County. Marker is at the intersection of East Main Street and North Riverfront Drive on East Main Street. Click for map. It is at the Blue Earth County Public Library. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 E Main St, Mankato MN 56001, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Sinclair Lewis House
The Winter Warrior image. Click for full size.
December 2, 2008
3. The Winter Warrior
Tablet reads “Winter Warrior, by Tomas Meagher Miller. Year of Reconciliation. Dedicated Dec. 26, 1987.”
(approx. 0.3 miles away); Washington Park / Fourth Street Route Depot Grounds (approx. 0.3 miles away); Ho-Chunk / Winnebago (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Lorin & Lulu Cray Home (approx. 0.4 miles away); Hubbard House (approx. half a mile away); Civil War Monument (approx. 0.6 miles away); Lincoln Park (approx. 0.6 miles away); Highland Park (approx. 0.9 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Mankato.
Regarding Dakota (Sioux) Memorial – 1862. “The Winter Warrior,” sculpted out of a native Kasota Limestone found in the Mankato area by Tomas Miller, was created as a gift from the Mankato community to the Minnesota Dakota during 1987, the “Year of Reconciliation.” This gift was one of many efforts to begin a process of healing the wounds among the Minnesota Dakota and non-Indian people. It was unveiled on December 26, 1987, the 125th Anniversary of execution of 38 Dakota warriors, the largest mass execution in United States history. This statue is
The Winter Warrior image. Click for full size.
By Sheryl Dowlin, October 9, 2006
4. The Winter Warrior
located on the execution site next to the Mankato Public Library across the street from Reconciliation Park.
Also see . . .
1. The U.S.-Dakota (Sioux) Conflict: Reconciliation Communication 125 years later. Unpublished paper by Sheryl L. Dowlin, PhD, prepared for the Commission on Peace Communication Program: Intercultural Perceptions of Peace and Conflict Resolution, SCA, Boston, MA, November 1987. “The bloodiest Indian war in American history took place during the summer of 1862 along the Minnesota River in southern Minnesota. Approximately 500 whites and an undetermined number of Dakota (Sioux) Indians were killed. This brief six-week conflict ended with 38 Dakota being publicly hung in Mankato, MN., December 26, 1862, in the largest mass execution in American history. Conditions leading up to the 1862 conflict included a variety of enforced geographical and cultural changes that resulted in exile and the loss of the Dakota (Sioux) traditional way of life. Broken treaties (1805, 1851, 1858), late annuity payments and the refusal to extend credit or provide food and supplies to the starving Dakota preceded the outbreak. Conditions were further inflamed when a storekeeper Andrew J. Myrick, remarked brutally, ‘If they are hungry, let them eat grass’ (Carley, 1974, 6). Several days later, August 17, 1862, four Rice Creek Dakota Indians killed five settlers
Reconciliation Park image. Click for full size.
December 2, 2008
5. Reconciliation Park
Reconciliation Park is across the street from the Dakota (Sioux) Memorial. It was dedicated on September 19, 1997. It is at the site of the largest mass execution in U.S. history where 38 Dakota Indians were hanged by the government in 1862.
near Acton, MN. ‘The Action murders set into motion a series of events that were to have serious consequences for Minnesota and the nation.’ (Carley, 1976 9).” (Submitted on December 7, 2008, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.) 

2. The Dakota Conflict Trials. Essay by Douglas O. Linder. “On September 28, 1862, Colonel [Henry] Sibley appointed a five-member military commission to ‘try summarily’ Dakota and mixed-bloods for ‘murder and other outrages’ committed against Americans. Whether Sibley had authority to appoint such a commission is a matter of substantial dispute. The commission was convened immediately, meeting in La Bathe’s log kitchen near Camp Release. Sixteen trials were conducted the first day, convicting and sentencing to death ten prisoners and acquitting another six. Over the six weeks that followed, the military court would try a total of 393 cases, convicting 323 and sentencing 303 to death by hanging. Reverend Stephen Riggs, a man who spoke Dakota and was not unsympathetic to their plight, reportedly served as a virtual grand jury, gathering evidence and witnesses.” (Submitted on December 7, 2008.) 

3. The Dakota Conflict Remembered. Unpublished paper by Sheryl L. Dowlin, Ph.D., and Bruce Dowlin, B.A., prepared for the 35th Annual Northern
Amos Owen Prayer Plaque image. Click for full size.
By Sheryl Dowlin, October 9, 2006
6. Amos Owen Prayer Plaque
The Reconciliation Park plaque includes the “Prayer of Reconciliation” that the late Mr. Amos Owen (Dakota)—a spiritual leader to many—offered during the 1987 Minnesota Year of Reconciliation efforts between the Minnesota Dakota and non-Indian communities.
Great Plains History Conference September 28-30, 2000, Mankato, MN. “The ‘Year of Reconciliation’ concluded in Mankato with two special events. The first was a second memorial relay run which arrived in Mankato at the hour in which the 38 Dakota warriors had been executed 125 years earlier. Also dedicated that day on the same site was a limestone sculpture entitled ‘Winter Warrior,’ carved by a young local artist as his contribution to the Year of Reconciliation. It received generous support from the entire community as a gift from the people of Mankato to the Dakota nation. At its unveiling, Amos Owen and sculptor Tom Miller jointly pulled a red blanket from the sculpture to the applause of a large crowd including Twin Cities media. Despite the tragic setting, a feast and program in the local Armory brought a meaningful conclusion to the year’s formal activities.” (Submitted on December 7, 2008, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.) 
Additional comments.
1. Amos Owen’s 1987 Prayer of Reconciliation
(A plaque on a boulder in Mankato’s Reconciliation Park, across the street from this marker, honors the significant efforts of the Dakota towards reconciliation among all
Buffalo at Reconciliation Park image. Click for full size.
By Sheryl Dowlin, October 9, 2006
7. Buffalo at Reconciliation Park
Tomas Miller sculpted the buffalo from a 67-ton block of local Kasota limestone; it is surrounded by native flowers and prairie grasses. The buffalo symbolizes the spiritual survival of the Dakota People and honors the Dakota heritage of this area. The park is a place to reflect, meditate and remember.
people. It reads as follows.)
In honor of Amos Owen, Norman Crooks and Hereditary Chief Ernest Wabasha for their lasting efforts towards reconciliation among all people.

Grandfather, I come to you this day in my humble way to offer my prayers for the thirty-eight Dakota who perished in Mankato in the year of 1862.

To the West, I pray to the Horse Nation, and to the North, I pray to the Elk People.

To the East, I pray to the Buffalo Nation, and to the South, the Spirit People.

To the Heavens, I pray to the Great Spirit and to the Spotted Eagle.

And Below, I pray to Mother Earth to help us in this time of reconciliation.

Grandfather, I offer these prayers in my humble way.

To all my relations.

                           —Amos Owen

Reconciliation Park Founders: Hereditary Chief Ernest Vernell Wabasha • Mankato Mayor Stanley Christ • Louis G. “Bud” Lawrence, Co-chairman • James H. Buckley, Sr., Co-chairman • Jim Petersen • Bruce and Sheryl Dowlin • Perry Wood • Jeffrey Kagermeier, A.I.A. • Tomas M. Miller, Sculptor. (dedicated) September 21, 1997.
    — Submitted December 7, 2008.

Categories. Native Americans
Execution of the Thirty-Eight Sioux Indians At Mankato, Minnesota, December 26th, 1862 image. Click for full size.
From the Graphic Arts Collection of the American Antiquarian Society
8. Execution of the Thirty-Eight Sioux Indians At Mankato, Minnesota, December 26th, 1862
1883 chromolithograph published by the Milwaukee Lithography & Engraving Co.
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Sheryl and Bruce Dowlin of Boise, Idaho. This page has been viewed 9,734 times since then and 414 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Sheryl and Bruce Dowlin of Boise, Idaho.   8. submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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