Dakota 38+2 Prayer Horse
Previously on display:
We the People
August 2017 | Minnesota Museum of American Art
St. Paul, MN | August 17th – October 29th, 2017.

Currently on display: 
Aazhoomon Art Exhibit
December 2017 | Miikanan Gallery of Watermark Art Center
Bemidji, MN | December 2nd, 2017 – January 31st, 2018.

The piece I created was in some ways a response to the Walker Art Center recreating the gallows (that was to be a playground for kids) used to execute 38 Dakota warriors in 1862, which in turned caused the exile of the Dakota people from our homes in Minnesota.

Instead of installing gallows in a Sculpture Garden and calling it a “Scaffold” for children to play on next to a mini golf course, Dakota people remember and honor the past in an entirely different manner.

To Dakota people, dreams continue to be a noble way to receive sacred knowledge: Jim Miller, a Lakota/Dakota spiritual leader had a dream of riding a horse across South Dakota to a riverbank in Minnesota. There he witnessed 38 of his Dakota ancestors hanged on orders of Abraham Lincoln in 1862, in what was the largest mass execution in United States history and thus began the exile of Dakota people from their homeland.

In Spring of 2005, Miller’s horse ride dream became a reality as the first annual “Dakota 38+2 Wokiksuye Memorial Ride”. Ending at the site of the mass hangings in Reconciliation Park of Mankato, MN, the ride began 330-miles away at the Lower Brule Indian Reservation of South Dakota. Through the blizzards of the frigid December winter, Natives and non-Natives rode over the course of 2-weeks in a journey of healing and forgiveness.

I had the opportunity to meet and listen to the Memorial riders during their travels a couple of years ago and from their stories, I learned firsthand the importance of the Horse Nation as the carrier of the people’s prayers, history and memories. The Horse Nation continues to provide strength to many of the riders who had the horse enter their lives and create a meaningful spiritual change in them.

Along with the prayers of the Memorial ride, children are also the Dakota’s hope for the future. Using a message from the actual protest of the “Scaffold”, this piece illustrates the complete inappropriateness to turn genocide into a playground.
Even though it is a disgrace for the gallows to ever have been reconstructed on Dakota land, it is a sign of positive change when the Native and non-Indigenous voices of the Twin Cities join together to successfully protest for a future that respectfully remembers the past.

You can read a bit more about the Memorial Ride here.

Pidamaya (thanks) for viewing!
Dakota 38+2 Prayer Horse
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Dakota 38+2 Prayer Horse

Native American art telling our history.
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