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150th anniversary of executions marked

Dec. 26, 2012 at 9:00 PM

MANKATO, Minn., Dec. 26 (UPI) -- A tribal leader spoke of healing Wednesday at a ceremony in Mankato, Minn., to mark the 150th anniversary of the execution of 38 Dakota men.

A monument to the men hanged in Mankato on Dec. 26, 1862, was unveiled, The Free Press of Mankato reported. About 60 of those at the ceremony participated in a 16-day ride on horseback from South Dakota, while others ran from Fort Snelling, about 60 miles to the northeast, where Dakota prisoners were held after the U.S.-Dakota war.

The largest execution in U.S. history was carried out after the end of the war. President Abraham Lincoln reprieved most of the 265 tribal fighters originally condemned to death, although many of them died in a prison camp in Davenport, Iowa.

"Today, being here to witness a great gathering, we have peace in our hearts -- a new beginning of healing," Arvol Looking Horse said.

His words were echoed by Mankato Mayor Eric Anderson, who proclaimed a year of "forgiveness and understanding."

The monument lists the names of the Dakota who were executed along with a poem and a prayer. Stone benches to be installed this summer will bear the words "forgive everyone everything."

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