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UM News
April 24, 2013


The University of Montana American Indian Student Services will host a screening of the award-winning documentary “Dakota 38” and a post-film discussion from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, April 26, in The Payne Family Native American Center.

The documentary follows a group of American Indians as they retrace a journey across the windswept plains of South Dakota and Minnesota to commemorate the largest mass execution in U.S. history: the hanging of 38 Native leaders of the U.S. Dakota War of 1862 on Dec. 26, 1862.

In May 2005, Dakota spiritual leader Jim Miller had a dream of riding across the great South Dakota plains to Minnesota and witnessed 38 of his ancestors being hanged. In December 2008, Miller and a group of riders decided to retrace that journey on horseback and arrive in Mankato, Minn., on the anniversary of the execution.

Silas Hagerty and members of Smooth Feather Productions filmed the story of this 330-mile ride, the blizzards they endured, the communities that welcomed them and the healing and reconciliation that took place along the way from Lower Brule, S.D.

The free public event will open with a ceremony by the Flathead Nation Drum Group, led by Alec Quequesah, and a prayer leader’s welcome. At 8:30 p.m., American Indian Institute Director Eric Noyes will moderate a discussion with Peter Lengkeek, a Dakota leader and former “Dakota 38” staff carrier and veteran; Hagerty, cinematographer and founder of Smooth Feather Productions; and Miller and his wife, Alberta Iron Cloud.

The event is sponsored by The Payne Family Native American Center, The American Indian Institute, Marcia Hogan and Karl Englund of Missoula, the U.S. Forest Service Intermountain and Northern Regions Tribal Relations Program, and Mel Pervais.

For more information call Forest Service Intermountain and Northern Regions Tribal Relations Program Coordinator Cheryl Vanderburg at 406-329-3348 or email





Contact: Fredricka Hunter, director, UM American Indian Student Services, 406-243-6352,; Cheryl Vanderburg, coordinator, U.S. Forest Service Intermountain and Northern Regions Tribal Relations Program, 406-329-3348,