On Saturday October 20th and Sunday October 21st, President Lincoln’s Cottage and the DC Native Community Round Dance Planning Committee partnered to present A Weekend of Reflection and Remembrance, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War. We had the privilege of screening Dakota 38, a documentary film focusing on the mass hanging of 38 Dakota warriors and a present day Native community’s journey of healing.
“Jim Miller, a Native spiritual leader and Vietnam veteran, found himself in a dream riding on horseback across the great plains of South Dakota. Just before he awoke, he arrived at a riverbank in Minnesota and saw 38 of his Dakota ancestors hanged. At the time, Jim knew nothing of the largest mass execution in United States history, ordered by Abraham Lincoln on December 26, 1862. Now, four years later, embracing the message of the dream, Jim and a group of riders retrace the 330-mile route of his dream on horseback from Lower Brule, South Dakota to Mankato, Minnesota to arrive at the hanging site on the anniversary of the execution. This is the story of their journey- the blizzards they endure, the Native and Non-Native communities that house and feed them along the way, and the dark history they are beginning to wipe away.”
Following the screening, Burrus Carnahan, Franky Jackson, Peter Lengkeek, J.B. Watson, and filmmaker Silas Hagerty lead a discussion regarding the film and Lincoln’s actions during the U.S. – Dakota War. It was evident that the film was an emotive experience for many in attendance, including members of the Native community who described the trip to the Cottage as part of the healing process in itself. I personally found it very powerful to view this film and listen to these stories in the very place that Lincoln made critical decisions during his Presidency.
For more information:
The film Dakota 38 and upcoming screenings, visit www.smoothfeather.org
Burrus Carnahan’s article Lincoln and the 1862 Minnesota Sioux Trials in the Summer 2012 edition of The Cottage Courier.
-Sahand Miraminy, Events and Programs Coordinator