Final Dakota 38+2 Prayer Ride prompted by spiritual leader

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Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 7:15 AM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A dark historical moment is being remembered as a group of horses and riders are making their way through the snow. The trek from South Dakota to Minnesota is over 300 miles.

The Dakota 38 + 2 ride continues in its 17th year. It all started with a dream of Jim Miller of Porcupine, South Dakota, to ride to the site of the hanging of 38 Dakota men and later two more.

“We’re remembering the ancestors or honoring them,” said spiritual advisor and cook Josette Peltier. “It’s bringing hope and everything that we need to survive.”

The execution stemmed from the uprising in the Dakota War of 1862

According to the Crow Creek Tribe, 303 Dakota warriors were captured and brought to Mankato, Minnesota, facing trial. President Lincoln commuted many of their sentences, which reduced the number to 38. On December 26th, 1862, The Dakota men were simultaneously hanged.

Wilfred Keeble prays as he rides. “The ride carries reconciliation and healing,” said Keeble.

Founder Jim Miller’s hope remains, despite health issues that kept him at home this year.

“My brother wants everyone to get along,” said Keeble.

Some ride and others support the riders.

“He chose, asked me to be a spiritual advisor, so that’s what I am,” said Peltier.

She also makes sure everyone has food.

“For me, it’s getting up at four o’clock in the morning to make sure coffee is on,” said Keeble.

After the hangings, the rest of the tribe was relocated to the Crow Creek Reservation, Dakota Territory. It was a hard life for many back then and continues for some today due to a lack of opportunities and generational trauma.

“I believe in my heart that we were all created equal. What happened? What happened?” said Keeble.

This is the final time the ride will take place at the spiritual prompting of the founder.

“The spirits acknowledge the sacrifice the horse and rider make,” said Keeble.

The final mile is envisioned. “It don’t matter to me what size crowded it is or who’s there,” said Keeble. “We’re there to pay respects to 38 eight plus two and all the rest of them that suffered at that time.”

The group plans to arrive in Mankato on December 24th and have a ceremony at the hanging site on the anniversary date, December 26th.

“Find that compassion and that love and kindness and be good to one another in color should matter,” said Peltier.