It’s a beautiful song that they were singing

Mr. Taylor talks about the hanging of 38 Dakota men in the aftermath of the U.S.-Dakota War.

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But being brought up in a Catholic school, they pounded it into my head I gotta read the Bible all the time. One of the things I said over there 3 or 4 years ago was, when they were led to the gallows, I always figured it as that street coming down the hill just east, I guess from where that park is. I always think they’re marching them down there and, you know, kids and everybody is spitting on them, hitting them with stones and trees and all that. And it reminds me when they’re going to kill Jesus, according to the white man’s terms in the Bible. Kids were doing it, everybody was doing it; they were spitting on there, they were hitting Jesus and all that. That’s exactly the same- I said that. And then I prayed and then I sang, I sang some songs that came to me that the white man said they were praying their death song. But you know, it’s a beautiful song that they were singing that: Okantanka, God, I’m going home, I’m going home. That’s what that song means. And here they’re trying to say that we’re singing our death song. See, you know, they assume that.

Oral History- Interview | Narrator Albert Taylor Interviewer Deborah Locke in Dakota Tipi First Nation Manitoba, Canada | Friday, January 20, 2012

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. It’s a beautiful song that they were singing June 13, 2024.

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