Mahkato Wacipi


“We Honor the 38”


The Mahkato Wacipi came from a vision.  This wacipi started with efforts to reunify the Native American people and the White man. The division between these peoples stems from the Dakotah Uprising of 1862 in which promised food and blankets to the Dakotah did not arrive. Unable to get any credit from local merchants the Dakotah were left to starve.  A famous quote from the day was “Let them eat grass!”  At this stage any spark would have started a fire.  That spark came when two young men ran across some eggs in Acton, MN.  A white farm family claimed the eggs and would not give them up.  Fighting broke out and the two young men ended up killing the farmer and his wife.

After this the two young men ran back to their village and told the elders what had occurred; the elders knew that war was imminent.  Little Crow reluctantly took the responsibility of defending the Dakotah nation.  Many bloody battles occurred and in the end the Dakotah surrendered at Camp Release.  After the surrender the Dakotah were shipped on ox-carts to Mankato where they were then marched to a prison camp at Fort Snelling. Over one-third of the Dakotah population died at that camp in the winter of 1862.  After the winter ended the remaining men were shipped to a prison in Des Moines, Iowa.  The women, children and elderly were shipped on cattle boats to Nebraska where they were confined to the reservation.

This wacipi wishes that people from all nations can forgive those who have trespassed against them.  As was once told to me by one of our U.S. Army warriors when speaking about the uprising of 1862, “It was war, and horrible things happen in war, but we need to forgive. This is why I dance.”



Disc 1


1. Mahkato – Mazakute specifically wrote this song in the early 1990s for the 38 who were hung in Mankato on December 26, 1862.  “We come back to Mahkato because the 38 are there, this I remember.”


2. Flag Song – This is the Dakotah & Lakotah version of the anthem of their people. “I Love the President’s Land & I love the President’s Flag.  Take courage it will stand until the end of the world.”


3. Vietnam Veterans’ Song – This is an old song that originally came out of North Dakota. “Vietnam; that war was hard.  Your friend is still over there.”


4. Veterans’ Honoring Song  – Written and performed by Mazakute.  “This road he has now gone down to scout; is this war?”


5. Two Intertribal Veteran Songs – Performed by the Prairie Island Singers.  “Many lands he has walked.”


6. Thank You Song – This is an honoring song sung by George Squirlcoat and the Prairie Island Singers that is sometimes known as a Sundance song.


7. Ina, Ate – Written by George Squirlcoat in 1982 for the Buffalo Lake Singers.  The Prairie Island Singers sing it here. “Across this land our Indian ways are really hard.  Mom & Dad told me I am Lakotah, so I am strong.”


Disk 2


1. Grand Entry Day 2 – An old traditional song sung by George Squirlcoat and the Prairie Island Singers.  “All you dancers, yell & whoop because there is one life to live.”


2. Amos Crooks’s Honor Song – This is a birthday song for Amos Crooks, sung by George Squirlcoat and the Prairie Island Singers.


3. Penny Song – This is an honor song for Emit Eastman.  It is also called a ‘Giving Away a Horse Song’ or ‘High Honor Song.’  Mazakute sings this song for us.


4. Shall Dance – This song is sung for us by Prairie Island Singers along with Mazakute. 



5. Men’s Song –George Squirlcoat and the Prairie Island Singers along with Mazakute sing this song for us.



6. Song for the People – Translations given by Jerry Dearly.  “Even when they are soldiers and are dead they still fight.  They won that war and then they came back.”


7. Flag Song & Final Retreat – An old traditional song from the early 1900s.  This song honors all veterans of all times.


From the Club President; Leonard Wabasha



August 17th, 1862. The beginning of what would be considered by many the start of the great Indian wars. It was in Acton, Minnesota that a small group of Dakotah men found some eggs, argued about their rightful ownership, and so led to what we know as the 1862 Conflict. To some it was but a mere skirmish, to me and to many of my people it was the culmination of years of lies and deceit, of oppression and thievery by top-ranking government officials and well known and respected traders and entrepreneurs.

Hundreds lost their lives and some lost only their homes. My people lost their way of life and for the most part, their culture.  We were sent scattered across the continent and into Canada for the lucky ones that could make it there. Into desolate prison-like reservations for the rest of us, where we would continue a miserable way of life. Having what was left of our culture slowly stripped from us while we were taught the white man’s way of life. To me it was a form of genocide.

December 26th 1862, at ten in the morning 38 Dakotah warriors had their lives taken by public hanging, for committing crimes of war, as if war were not a crime in itself. My people, those warriors, only did things that were done to their families — a lesson taught to them by the white man — and they were punished for it. 


Today, one-hundred and thirty-nine years later, in the year 2001, we still remember these thirty-eight men. Today we remember them; they are our heroes, our martyrs, our relatives. So we honor their existence in our history by holding an annual traditional Powwow in their names and memories.  It’s not about making money, nor is about who’s who.  It is about respect, honor, and perseverance; to be who we are, to be Dakotah and to continue living in a good way; to share our lives and perpetuate our culture, to make new friends and shake hands with old friends. We do this in memory of those men and two that were stolen from safety in Canada. So listen to this CD with their images in your head and think how it must have been for them back then and you too will see and feel what it is to be a Dakotah.

The third weekend of September each year we gather at the bend in the river to remember, so please come and join us. Come and shake hands, be a friend, be a Koda.

I would like to take a little space here to thank everyone who has supported me throughout the past several years with my involvement in this event and in my life: my parents, Ernest and Vernell Wabasha, without their guidance and wisdom in my life I would be nothing. To my brother Bill Taylor and his family, thanks for coming into my life and helping me; I will not have any bad things to ever say about you, you have my heart and loyalty. To Dano for getting things together and persevering through it all, hang in there. My Pikuni brother Vern, you know what you did and have always been there to listen and help me. My Dakotah/Crow brother Richard, always there when I needed you. Denise Milda, Kunsi waste’, you are something else. My uncle Rod, you perhaps are the single most important person I have in my life, you helped me get on this road and it has always been a good one. I love you. Thanks to Jerry Dearly for being a relative and sounding board, you are more than a friend. To Maza-kute for providing a good heartbeat and in honoring the 38 in your song; the Gordon Weston Post, Fred, Barney, my other brother Leonard, and the Boys for all your help at the Wacipi and for the coffee.  Also to my finest brother, (who is very “Cho”), Colin Wesaw, I will always have a spot for you at my council as I will for all those here I have mentioned. I love and respect you all; and to Laura Flamenco for the lessons you have recently taught me through your power, strength and beauty.

And finally to my daughter Winona whose life and love are everything to me. (Dad Loves You, Winona) Without you in my life I would not have the strength to face a new day, all I do is for you. The creator has blessed me with you and I Thank Him. Pidamayaye-do..







Cover Art: Babe Whipple

Host Drums: Maza-kute, Prairie Island Singers, and Lower Sioux Drum

MC:  Jerry Dearly

The 38 names: Bain Wilson


Arena Director: Danny Seboy

Translators: Jerry Dearly & Bain Wilson

CD Producer: Daniel Zielske

CD Recording & Mastering Team: Two Fish Studios

CD Liner Photos: Jon Denzene & Daniel Zielske

Executive Producer: Philip Blackburn












I would like to thank Amos & Rose Crooks and their family for their generous donation to the Mdewakanton Pow-wow Association that made the recording of this CD project possible.


Jerry Dearly gave these song translations and information to me.  I thank him for his generous spirit and guidance, and the knowledge that he has given us.


I want to give an extra special thanks to the following people who gave their time, effort, and wisdom to help make this project possible:

Amos & Rose Crooks and family, Amos & Ion Owen and family, George Squirlcoat, Bain Wilson, Maza-kute, Prairie Island Drum, Lower Sioux Drum, Jerry Dearly, Dick Fisher, Keith R., Bud Lawrence, Eli Taylor & family, Bill Taylor, Leonard Wabasha, Colin Wesau, Earnie & Vernel Wabasha, Babe Whipple, Jim Bateman, the Casper family, and all of the members past and present of the Mdewakanton Pow-wow Association.


All proceeds from the sales of this CD go to the Mdewankanton Pow-wow Association so that they may keep this Wacipi going for many years to come. I would also like to thank the Blue Earth County Historical Society for their generous donation that allowed us to give this CD to libraries, schools, colleges and other public places of learning throughout this great land.  As I have learned in my life's journey, we are all family, so I give this CD "To All My Relatives, Mitakuye-oyas’in."


"I was once told that there are many ways to the center, and many stories as how things were and how they are going to be.  In the end they all are true.  We must know in our heart that all things do come back to our Creator.  Who is to judge which path you take." — Anonymous


There were many things that I have learned while I made this CD, some I can speak about, others are known only to my heart.  I hope that I have not offended anyone in the making of this CD.  My intention is only to preserve the memories, hopes and dreams of our beloved elders. 


                                                       Daniel P. Zielske


April, 2001