Bear with me a moment as we transition from Iron Horses to the likewise lovable flesh and blood variety…

ImageThe Dakota 38+2 Ride is a memorial to the 40 Native Americans that were hanged in 1862 and hundreds of others that died of starvation when they were banished to the barren prairies of South Dakota. The Cliff’s Notes version is that the U.S. government, preoccupied with the civil war, got seriously behind on their contractual agreement to provide food, etc. to the Native Americans who had surrendered their lands to said government. Some of the young bucks decided to go to war over that delinquent debt, and given that their people were starving, one can hardly blame them. They lost that war, and 38 Native POWs were hanged in Mankato the day after Christmas in 1862 and 2 more later at Fort Snelling. Most of the tribe did not join in this ugly war, and in fact many protected white settlers, but they were all permanently ordered out of the state of Minnesota, taken prisoner, and exiled to the parched lands of western South Dakota and forgotten. Here’s the URL of the ride’s Facebook group:  . Few years back a few descendents of the survivors of that government sponsored death march decided to remember the victims and foster forgiveness with a ride from those barren plains of South Dakota back to Mankato. Forgiveness, after such government atrocities? Yup, some of the founders of the ride are Vietnam Vets and in recovery and know from tough experience that you can never really settle a century and a half old beef in “eye for an eye” fashion. Some of the young bucks of today have challenged that sober and serene wisdom of their elders, but they too will come to understand the power of forgiveness. One can see this progress in the audiences in events along the ride as white folks are increasingly outnumbering the natives, and many lilly white towns along the route feed and shelter the riders and horses each night.


The humble horse has a way of making peace, and only a true psychopath would harm a horse… Their calming effect is one of the reasons police prefer them when dealing with angry crowds.  A horse teaches cooperation too… Here riders switch horses midway through today’s near 30 mile ride, they switched horses again on the main street of my hometown a bit later. Take good care of your horse, and your horse will take care of you. Same with your vehicle, the environment, and our friends and maybe even enemies.

That’s Horse Power…