The statue “Winter Warrior” was inspired by the “Year of Reconciliation”1987 was proclaimed the “Year of Reconciliation” by Governor Rudy Perpich. It was a statewide attempt to foster healing and education between non-Dakota and Dakota people. The statue was unveiled on December 26, 1987 near the site of the 1862 hanging of 38 Dakota Indians. The statue was carved by Tom Miller and weighs two tons and stands six feet tall.
On September 19, 1997, reconciliation Park was dedicated. The park is the site of the largest mass execution in U.S. history where 38 Dakota Indians were hanged by the government. This was the result of trials during the U.S.-Dakota Conflict of 1862. Tom Miller sculpted the bison from a 67-ton block of local Kasota limestone; it is surrounded by native flowers and prairie grasses. The buffalo symbolizes the spiritual survival of the Dakota People and honors the Dakota heritage of this area. The park is a site to reflect, meditate and remember. “A reconciliation for all people.” Dakota Elder Amos Owen, 1997.
In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the U.S.-Dakota Conflict, this memorial lists the names of the 38 Dakota Warriors who were hanged on December 26, 1862. Included in this memorial is a prayer written by Eli Taylor and a poem by Katherine Hughes. The theme of the memorial is “Forgive Everyone Everything.” The monument was inspired by the vision of Vernell Wabasha, an elder of the Dakota nation.