On this day in 1862 38 Dakota men were hanged in Mankato, MN. in what is still the largest mass execution in United States history. Two Sioux leaders escaped, only to be captured two years later in Canada, where they were drugged, and smuggled back in to the US to be executed as well. Three days from now, December 29th, we will remember the massacre which took place at Wounded Knee in 1890. A slaughter which took the lives of almost 300 men, women, and children seeking refuge from the bitter cold, as they marched towards the Pine Ridge Reservation.
In Minnesota, and the rest of the country, the wounds of each of these days are still felt, the plight of Native peoples in America being one of the biggest and least discussed embarrassments in our short time as a nation.
Each of these memorials etches a black mark onto the history of the United States, but the continuing willful inaction of the US government and its people to address our country’s past and continued misdeeds casts a shadow darker and more ominous than any one days killing could amount to.