Sculptures in works for 'Dakota 38' warriors


Last updated 7/27/2013 at 2:03pm

The names of all 38 warriors hanged on December 26, 1862, are written on a 12-foot-high monument that was recently dedicated in Mankato’s “Reconciliation Park,” a small area of markers and sculptures devoted to remembering America’s largest mass execution, which is believed to have taken place somewhere in the immediate vicinity.

MANKATO, MN—The challenge is on to match names and photos with each one of the Dakota 38, plus the two who were hanged later.

When Larry Redwing, enrolled Santee, was a little boy, he lay with his head in his grandmother’s lap. While she ran her fingers through his hair, she told Larry about her own grandmother, who was made to watch the hanging of her husband while the townspeople cheered and yelled.

The starving Santee had finally revolted against their oppressors and attacked the city and the Dakota 38 were sentenced to death by President Abraham Lincoln. “They say Lincoln was a good man, but he wasn’t,” she said softly, remembering her family’s sad history in Mankato, Minnesota, on a cold December 26, 1862.

Larry had long known the story told by his grandmother of her grandfather’s death. He had also seen photos of the Dakota 38, but the victims of the hanging were never identified. It wasn’t until a friend came upon a book called “Plains Warrior” by Albert Morris, that he found names to some of the photos. Finally, Redwing was able to put a face to the name, and he saw his great-great-great grandfather for the first time.

Larry’s brother, Ronald Redwing, who works at the University of Wisconsin in Platteville, had several conversations about the photo until they decided it might be nice if they had a bust made from the photo. They contacted Austin Glendenning, a sculptor from the university, to make one. Ronald and Larry were so thrilled with the likeness, “We showed it to the Chairman and then the Tribal Council. “The Chairman asked if we could do all 38, so I made up a proposal for the tribe,” Red Wing said.

The bust was made of clay which is fired with a bronze finish. “It was so big, life-size. On the spot the Tribal Council and Chairman wanted all Dakota 38 plus the two who were brought back from Canada and hung later,” Larry said.

Artist Austin agreed to create the busts at a very minimal cost. Red Wing reported that there is only one problem, “We only have 19 pictures.” The small group is dedicated to tracking down family members of the Dakota 38, plus two. Redwing hopes the families will step forward and hopefully, will have photos or drawings of their lost relatives. In case they don’t, Red Wing said, “We all carry traits of them, so then what we are looking for are the male grandchildren of the ones whose names are listed below.”

Below are the names of those whose photos have not been found. Larry Red Wing is still trying to track down photos so that the Dakota 38 can be honored. The finished sculptures will be housed in the new Ohiya Casino and Resort on Highway 12 on the Santee Sioux Reservation.

If you have photos or drawings of any of those listed below, please contact Larry Redwing at 402 219 3814, or send drawings.

Oyate Taqwa (The Coming People)

A Mde Ca (Broken to Pieces)

Wy at a wawa (His people)

Na pe sni (One Who Does Not Flee)

Pazza Kuta Wani (One Who Walks Prepared to Shoot)

Ho I’tanin ku (Voice that Appears Coming)

Can Ka had (Near the Wood)

Ptan Du ta (Red Otter)

He In’kpa (Tip of the Horn)

Hin Han’sunko yag mani (One Who Walks with Owl Tail)

Wa hi hna Hepi da (Third Male Child)

A I gaga (To Grow Upon)

Ce tan’ Hunka (Parent Hawk)

Had’hin hde (To Make a Rattling Noise Suddenly)

Mahu we hi (He Comes for Me)

—Christina Rose is a staff writer for Native Sun News.

©2013 Native Sun News


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