Dakota 38: Inspired by Lakota Spiritual Leader Jim Miller

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Christian Carde
Gina Baldoni-Rus
ENGL1310-004
December 8, 2014
Dakota 38 ( Bonus)
I have seen the Dakota 38 documentary three times now. Each time it is stirred something in me that has no words, but much emotion. The film was inspired by Lakota spiritual leader Jim Miller, who in the spring of 2005 had a dream in which he rode 330 miles on horseback. He eventually came to a riverbank in Mankato, Minn, where he saw 38 of his own ancestors hanged. He soon discovered that he had dreamed of the actual largest mass hanging in the United States, ordered by President Lincoln in 1862. The Dakota Wokiksuye Memorial Ride first undertaken December 10-26, 2008 and held at the same time each year since. As the Dakota 38 riders make their way to Mankato, Minnesota to honor and remember the 38 men who lost their lives on December 26, 1862 in the largest mass execution ever seen in the United States, you may be wondering how you can honor them from wherever you are.

Watching the documentary film Dakota 38 is one way to do that. The film follows the riders on their 330-mile journey from Lower Brule, South Dakota to Mankato where the riders will arrive on December 26, 2012. Dakota 38 is a film with imagery and important spiritual teachings. Central to this imagery is the horse. Lengkeek’s great-great grandfather, Walks With Owl Tail was one of the 38 who was executed in Mankato after the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, the order was signed by President Abraham Lincoln. The ride was started after Jim Miller had a vision of the 38 Dakota men being hanged in 2005. Miller, a recovered alcoholic and Vietnam veteran dismissed the vision at first.

Dakota belief says that the horse represents the sacred six directions, without which healing is impossible. The front legs are west and north; the back legs, east and south. The head and ears point to the heavens, and the tail anchors all to the earth. A year after the execution of the 38, Sitting Bull rode on horseback to see the...