Mass Execution

Mass Execution, from the Metamorphosis series, 2011

While working at the Mayo Clinic, I decided to investigate one particular site of the wars between Native Americans and the US Army. The Sioux Uprising (also known as the Dakota War of 1862, and Little Crow’s War) took place during the last few months of 1862. During these battles, over 1,000 Sioux were captured and imprisoned in Minnesota jails. On December 26, 1862, 38 Sioux men were simultaneously executed. This was and remains the largest mass execution in US history. The gallows that were built to hang all of these men simultaneously, was the largest gallows ever built in US history.

In 1980 it was very difficult to locate the site of this execution. I had to rely on historical documents. There were no road signs to find this location, there was no historical marker. All that I could find was grass growing in the lawn, in front of a farm house, near Mankato, Minnesota. This is the black and white photograph that I took:

This photograph was transformed, metamorphosed, into Mass Execution. The image of the serpent rising from the blood soaked earth was intentional.

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