In 1972, through the efforts of Amos and Bud, a
pow wow was held in Mankato. During the opening ceremony of the pow wow, Amos was asked to offer a prayer for the
dancers, the singers, and all the visitors. As Amos prayed with his pipe in the center of the dance arena, thirty-eight
eagles appeared overhead. It was an awesome site, one that those present that day will never forget.
That same year, the City of Mankato removed a plaque
that memorialized the execution of the thirty-eight Dakota from the site of that event.
Again through the efforts of Amos and Bud (and
many others), 1987 was declared the Year of Reconciliation in the State of Minnesota. It was time. One hundred
and twenty-five years had passed. Some would say that it was long overdue. Many events were held throughout the
year to bring the communities closer. Here are a few of these events:
A 100 mile memorial run from Fort Snelling in Minneapolis, the site of the imprisonment
of the Dakota after the conflict, to Mankato. Runners ran relays of about two miles carrying an eagle feather staff
with thirty-eight feathers. The run began at midnight, after ceremonies to purify and heal had been done, and ended
a little over 10 hours later. At the end of the run, more ceremonies were performed to heal and purify the participants.
A traditional feast completed the ceremonies.
A statue of a Dakota elder was dedicated outside the Mankato Public Library. (see photo)
An "Education Day" was started in conjunction with the pow wow. Every third
grade student from the Mankato school district is bought to the pow wow grounds, Land of Memories Park, to learn
from Native Americans about their traditions and history. It was, and still is, a wonderful day for Native Americans
and students alike.
The Blue Earth County Museum discovered that it had preserved some of the timbers used
for the gallows on that day in 1862. After some discussion about what to do with these reminders of that day, they
were disposed of, with appropriate ceremony and tears.
In 1992, the site, of this mass execution, was
purchased, by the City of Mankato and named Reconciliation Park, in honor of Amos Owen and his efforts to bring
the communities closer together. There is no mention of the event that happened there in 1862. The very large,
white stone statue of a Buffalo was dedicated on the site in 1997.
The Mankato pow wow has become an annual event
with people gathering in Mankato from many states and Canada. The memorial run has become an annual event. The
"Education Day" at the pow wow continues to this day.
This year, once again, friends and
relatives will gather on December 26th to remember and honor the thirty-eight. Waonsida.