Noose used in largest mass execution in US history will be returned to a Dakota tribe in Minnesota

May 29, 2024, 10:08 AM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A noose that was used in the largest mass execution in U.S. history will be returned to a Dakota tribe, the Minnesota Historical Society announced.

The society plans to repatriate what is known as the Mankato Hanging Rope to the Prairie Island Indian Community after the 30-day notice period required under federal law. It was used to hang Wicanhpi Wastedanpi — in English, Good Little Stars — also known as Chaske. He was one of 38 Dakota men executed in Mankato following the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. It has been in the society’s collection since 1869, but out of sensitivity to the Dakota people, it is not on public display.

“This is a harmful and painful object that does not reflect the mission and the values of MNHS today,” the society said in a statement Tuesday.

The society said all 11 of the other federally recognized Dakota tribal nations have expressed support for the Prairie Island community’s claim, which was made under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The federal law sets up a process for museums and federal agencies to return certain Native American cultural items, including funerary and sacred objects, to tribes and direct decedents of the people they belonged to.

Prairie Island tribal government officials expressed gratitude for the decision to return the noose.

“What happened to 38 of our relatives will never be forgotten,” Noah White, the tribe’s historic preservation officer, said in a statement. “The repatriation of this item stolen from Wastedanpi’s grave is important to all Dakota people. It serves as a vivid reminder of what happened to our relatives.” It also allows “the process of healing within our Dakota communities to continue.”

The 38 Dakota men were hanged Dec. 26, 1862, under orders from former President Abraham Lincoln. They were among 303 people initially sentenced to death in military trials that historians have described as a farce, with some taking as little as five minutes. In addition, the Native American men were denied counsel and did not understand the proceedings. Lincoln later pardoned most of them. Historians believe Wicanhpi Wastedanpi himself likely was executed by mistake.

In a donation letter that is still in the society’s collection, Capt. J.K. Arnold wrote that he took the noose from Wicanhpi Wastedanpi’s grave and hid it so that it wouldn’t be sent to Washington with the other nooses used in the hangings.

The six-week U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 exploded in southwestern Minnesota after decades of tensions between settlers and Dakota people and unkept treaty promises by government officials, according to the society. Many of the Dakota confined to a small reservation were starving when a group of Dakota men attacked some white settlers.

By the time it was over, more than 600 settlers were dead, including women and children. The society says that the number of Dakota casualties is unrecorded but that fewer than 1,000 Dakota, out of a population of more than 7,000, participated in the uprising. Many who survived were forcibly removed from Minnesota.

National News

Associated Press

Wildfire north of Los Angeles spreads as authorities issue evacuation orders

GORMAN, Calif. (AP) — Authorities issued evacuation orders Saturday as a wildfire in Los Angeles County spread thousands of acres close to a major highway and threatened nearby structures, officials said. The blaze that is being called the Post Fire burned more than 3,600 acres (5.6 square miles or 14.5 square kilometers) near the Interstate […]

2 hours ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Shooting at splash pad in Detroit suburb leaves ‘numerous wounded victims,’ authorities say

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Multiple people were wounded Saturday in a shooting at a splash pad in the Detroit suburb of Rochester Hills, authorities said. Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard told reporters that “it sounds like we have nine, maybe 10 victims with gunshot wounds, victims of varying kinds of injuries.” Authorities said they […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs returns key to New York City in response to video of him attacking singer Cassie

NEW YORK (AP) — Sean “ Diddy ” Combs has returned his key to New York City after a request from Mayor Eric Adams in response to the release of a video showing the music mogul attacking R&B singer Cassie, officials said Saturday. The mayor’s office said Combs returned the key after Adams sent letters […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Victim identified in Southern California homicide case, 41 years after her remains were found

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A victim whose skull was found by children in a Southern California city in 1983 has been identified 41 years after her remains were first discovered, authorities said. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department identified the victim Friday as Maritza Glean Grimmett, a Panamanian native who moved to the U.S. in […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Missouri abortion ban wasn’t about lawmakers imposing religious beliefs, judge says

A judge in Missouri says lawmakers who passed a restrictive abortion ban weren’t trying to impose their religious beliefs on everyone in the state, rejecting a case filed by more than a dozen Christian, Jewish and Unitarian Universalist leaders who support abortion rights. The groups sought a permanent injunction last year barring Missouri from enforcing […]

7 hours ago

Noose used in largest mass execution in US history will be returned to a Dakota tribe in Minnesota