Reconciliation Park, Mankato, MN

DSCN1665Mankato, MN, has the unfortunate distinction of being the site of the largest mass execution in US history. On Dec. 26, 1862, at the end of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, 38 Dakota Sioux Indians were publicly hanged by the US Army for their attack on white settlers in New Ulm, MN.

Originally, 303 men were sentenced to hang by President Lincoln himself, although he later pardoned a great majority.  While this is indeed a dark chapter in Minnesota and America’s history, Mankato has not forgotten about it or swept it under the rug.  Reconciliation Park was dedicated in 1997. It features a large concrete buffalo, a rock, and sign.  Yeah, that really makes up for it.  *sarcasm*

However, in 2012, on the 150-year anniversary of the execution, Mankato hosted a Memorial and Dedication, with around 500 Native American and white people both calling for healing and forgiveness. Also during this ceremony, a large buckskin-looking script was erected with the names of the “Dakota 38,” as they are known. It’s a nice addition to the memorial site.

dakota-38Image Source:  Mankato City News

Across the street at the Blue Earth County Library, which is the actual site of the execution,  there is also an Indian statue titled “Winter Warrior” in memory as well.  It’s not like all of this absolves us of the past, but it is a part of our history and a step in the right direction.

Reconciliation Park is located near downtown Mankato right by the Minnesota River. While in the area, make sure to stop by and see the last remaining Happy Chef,  swing over to New Ulm to check out the Schell’s Brewery, or the underrated Rapidan Dam and Store.

24 thoughts on “Reconciliation Park, Mankato, MN

  1. I’m reading “38 Nooses” by Scott W. Berg. I have been following the history of this period on Google earth maps. Its just hard to take in. All that space and land now highways and buildings and asphalt. And the human tragedy of Dakotas and settlers. Just so sad and disturbing. Somehow I think it would be a greater comfort if the original site of execution and surrounding spectator areas where saved as a national park/monument of sorts. Does the highway really have to go right through that area?

    • Sounds like a good read. And I agree, the highway basically goes right on top of this site, and all there is for a memorial is a tiny park with a few rocks and a buffalo.

        • Many Americans have no idea of the genocide practiced here in the United States while cringing at the mention of the Holocaust by the Nazis et al. Education is key.

          • Actually it was 101 to be hanged. And all but 38 were pardoned and yes the park is a good start. And the actual site is where the library is.

  2. What the people of Germany did to the jewish people is no different then what we did to the Indian nations. Yet we are not forced to remind the world of what we did in America.

    • What we inflicted on Native Americans across all Americas, by the US, Spanish, French, British and other sitting governments makes the Jewish Halicost seem miniscule by comparison.

      • It is miniscule by comparison. Jews aren’t still imprisoned today. They’ve been granted a second chance in life. My ancestors never were. This monument is more insulting than anything. I grew up in Mankato. NOBODY knew what the statue was there for.

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  6. The platform should be rebuilt with depiction of the truth set on it. The vision of the act should be shown properly also to remember the thousands of those who cheered as well. Which gets more to the point of how and why of this. Show people how their own fears and ignorance are manipulated to be coerced into even celebrating against their very nature. It would serve as to use critical thinking, such as that supposedly done by Abe Lincoln himself as the local authorities sought extinction of the tribe to rid them of any resistance of taking over tribal lands without compensating the life of souix nation. Which of course is now a barren wasteland for all practical purposes. You look out in the country side and think was it worth it? Like there wasn’t room enough for those that respect the land to exist here?

  7. These atrocities definately occurred..
    Native American people , Jewish people, black people all want their own group to be represented ! By their own culture!!
    Not a lying government !!

    THIS IS WHO CULLS MAN AND DISGUARDS THE UNFAVORABLE BY ANY MEANS AT HAND !!
    THE GOVERNMENT! POLITICIANS!
    GREEDY LYING MURDERING GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES!

    THEY ARE NOT FOR ANYONES INTEREST, ACCEP THEIR OWN!
    WE ARE SURE TO FOLLOW IN THE SAME STEPS AS THESE PEOPLE DID, AND SO WILL OUR DECENDANTS !
    UNTIL THE SYSTEM OF GENOCIDE GREED, CORRUPTION AND MISINFORMATION IS DISMANTLED, BY THE VERY MEN IT CULLS !

  8. Seriously, Folks?????
    The American Indian lagged far behind Europeans in technolgical and scientific advancement. It was indeed the Manifest Destiny of those courageous Europeans (French, British and Spanish) who settled this land to advance West, bringing with them civilization. Had our history no unfolded as it had, does anyone really believe that 2017 would find the various Indian tribes still riding about on ponies and hunting buffalo with bows???? Really???? Sooner or later, some other, more advanvced, country would have invaded and conquored. I’m only sorry that the United States negotiated treaties instead of prosecuting a war to absolute and incondition surrender. Now, we have the legally ludicrous ficntion of “sovereign nations” within a nation; not sovereign at all — none of these Indian Nations would last a week if we left them to fight the war on terror alone, or provide for their own defense against, say, North Korea.

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  10. The executions were brutal. At the same time many settlers were scalped n killed who were also innocent.
    This whole ancient victim mentality is ridiculous. When will the Europeans and British get Reparations from the invading hordes of Roman Soldiers? All of mankind has suffered and been taken as slaves at some point. Nevertheless everyone pretends like history began circa 1500 so they can badmouth Europeans. Honestly, you all look like fools. The tribes in Mexico were sacrificing humans alive by cut out their hearts with razor sharp rocks while being tied down… So despite the anti euro propaganda… Where is the monument to all those victims? Everyone should face the facts. All humans are savage beasts. They will run you over on your way to work so they can get a free cup of coffee.

    • You’re forgetting how far the Natives were pushed, before the Apache tribe fought back. That’s right. One tribe started killing the White man, for the atrocities they were committing. But somehow, some of you can depict all Natives as Axe wielding savages that scalp people for joy. Funny part is, up until the point of the invasion, they were never cannabilistic, or murderers. Their land was stolen. Their people were killed. They dis what had to be done to show that they weren’t giving up without a fight.

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