Dakota ride to Mankato starts Saturday

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The riders in 2008 MPR photo

A horseback ride commemorating the mass execution of 38 Dakota warriors following the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 is set to start this Saturday in South Dakota.

The group of predominantly Native American riders will cross into Minnesota a week or so later. They’re scheduled to arrive in Pipestone on Dec. 17.

Darwin Strong, the Minnesota coordinator of the ride, says the annual event will end with a Dec. 26 ceremony in Mankato, at the site of the hangings.

“People need to know and understand that the blood of those 38 plus two men, still runs today, their ancestry is still here today,” says Strong.

Strong’s ‘plus two’ comment refers to Dakota chiefs Little Six and Medicine Bottle, who were executed in 1865 for their roles in the war which was fought in and near the Minnesota River valley.

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