Morton: Dakota 38 + 2

Peter Lengkeek
Peter and his horse Kota get ready for the next leg of their trip.
MPR photo/Marc Sanchez

This is the sixth year for the Dakota 38 + 2 memorial ride, which commemorates hanged Dakota warriors on December 26, 1862. Descendants of those lost in the Dakota Conflict mounted their horses in Lower Brule, SD on December 10th and ride nearly 350 miles to Mankato.

They arrive on December 26th, the anniversary of the hanging. Peter Lengkeek has ridden every year and says it's easy to feel the anger and sorrow of his ancestors. He prays throughout the ride, which helps him find peace of mind.

In addition to the remembering the past, the trip helps unite different bands of Dakota, some of which might have had internal squabbles in the past.

Lengeek also uses the trip to pray for his people back home. He says they have suffered "historic trauma... grief, depression, and sorrow that is genetically imprinted in [them]" during the Dakota Conflict. He and others on the ride are trying to rekindle an interest in Dakota culture. They're especially interested in the youth, and judging from the riders in the group, half of which were under 30, it looks like he has a great audience.

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