2021 marks the 20th year that Jordan has been providing a rest stop for the annual Dec. 26 Dakota Remembrance Run.

I first heard about the tragic 1862 events, the Dakota War, the mass hanging in Mankato and the Run in 2001. I met Pastor Fern Cloud who lived in Jordan at the time and now is a pastor at Yellow Medicine Upper Sioux Reservation. I asked how someone could help be a blessing to the Dakota people. She said it would sure be nice to have a warm place to stop along the route from Fort Snelling to Mankato. So, in 2002 we had our first rest stop in Jordan.

Over the years, with many volunteers, we have freely served hot soup, coffee, sandwiches and more to hundreds of runners and their families — from babies to 80-plus-year-old Emmett Eastman.

The 80-mile run starts at 12:15 a.m. on Dec. 26th each year at a campfire at Fort Snelling. Runners cross the Mendota Bridge then run along Highway 13 through Burnsville and Savage, on to Highway 101 through Shakopee, then on to Highway 169 through Jordan on the way to Mankato’s Land of Memories Park.

The dream for the run started when Native leader Willard Malebear had recurring dreams in the mid-1980s. He saw himself and a white man running to Mankato. His dreams started a process of reconciliation between the Native Dakota people and the government and people of Minnesota so much so that 1987 was declared the “Year of Reconciliation” in Minnesota with the Native First Nation People which made Minnesota the first state to do so.

The rest stop in Jordan will be open for the runners and their families at The Hub of Jordan, 231 Broadway Street, on Sunday, Dec. 26 from 3-7 a.m. This year the rest stop in Jordan will honor the memory of Emmett Eastman and Jason Houle, who both died this past year.

We very much welcome volunteer helpers to serve and show love to the runners. Every step is a prayer — a prayer of reconciliation of healing!

Bob Schmitz is a long-time Dakota Remembrance Run volunteer who organizes the Jordan rest stop.

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