Today, after a 300-mile ride from Crow Creek, South Dakota, 60 people -- some of whom are ancestors of 38 Dakota men who were hanged on December 26, 1862 by order of President Abraham Lincoln -- reached Reconciliation Park in Mankato, Minnesota, to hold a ceremony on the 150th anniversary of the largest mass hanging execution in US history.
I first learned about this dark piece of history a couple of days ago, Christmas Eve. I decided to watch the film made about the first ride -- Dakota 38. I was so uplifted by the story of this healing journey that I wrote about it on my In Hawk Space blog and shared it on Facebook as my 2012 Christmas greeting.
In that post, I focused on just a few thoughts that the film stirred up. Today my process with the film and the event continues to unfold. Discussion in the last teleconference call of a psychoanalytic class I'm taking this semester turned to the intergenerational trauma that all people living in North America share. I have been interested in this subject for awhile, but the idea has taken on near-passion status for me in the last year or so. It's a wonderful triple intersection of my practice of psychoanalysis, my volunteer work as a justice activist, and my interest as a spiritual student in the idea of raising Cain.
It was clear to me from the film that these Native Americans, from their own experience of oppression, know that we are all traumatized, and that the way through it is to reconnect with our own pasts and work together to find new ground so that we, both as individuals and a human family, do not keep paying the trauma forward.
I'll be sharing more on this notion of intergenerational transmission of trauma in future posts.
For more coverage of the ceremony in Mankato today see also:
Dakota Indians mark hangings of 1862 with trek on horseback (Yahoo News, 12/26/12)
150th anniversary of the Dakota 38 hanging -- Photo Gallery (Mankato Free Press, 12/26/12)