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A rider received sage smoke from Corbie of Crow Creek, South Dakota, after arriving at Reconciliation Park for the Dakota Wokiksuye Memorial Ride Thursday December 26, 2013 in Mankato ,MN. Dakota Native Americans ride horses from South Dakota 330 miles to Mankato to commemorate the 1862 hanging of 38 braves in Mankato -- the largest mass execution in US History. After the riders come in at 10, they will burn sage, dance and pray and give speeches.

Jerry Holt, Dml - Star Tribune

Petition asks Obama to pardon Dakota 38

  • Associated Press
  • March 23, 2014 - 6:35 PM

MANKATO, Minn. — A Mankato City Council member is seeking a presidential pardon for the 38 Dakota men hanged in a mass execution at the end of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.

Jack Consadine submitted a petition to the White House after he learned about the history of the hangings, KTOE-AM reported (http://bit.ly/1dfzexq ). His petition seeks a posthumous pardon for the "Dakota 38," plus two Dakota men who were hanged later.

The hangings represent a dark chapter in history. Originally, 303 men were sentenced to be hanged after the war. President Abraham Lincoln was aware of injustices in the men's trials, and he wrote a letter to Minnesota Gov. Alexander Ramsey listing 39 men who should be hanged, including one who was later given a reprieve.

Some Native Americans believe Lincoln was wrong to order any of the hangings and that several of the men were innocent.

Consadine said he learned of the history and felt compelled to submit his petition.

"I based it primarily on the discrepancies in the trial. There were no defense attorneys. No defense was allowed. Also, the trials were only 3 to 5 minutes long. They were conducted in English, and the Dakota didn't understand the trial process," he said.

Consadine said the Dakota believed their land and homes were being stolen, and they were left to starve, so they went to war as they always had.

Some disagree that there should be a pardon, saying the Dakota's war tactics were brutal.

As of Sunday, there were less than 700 signatures on the petition. A petition needs 100,000 signatures to be considered by President Barack Obama.

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