The United States negotiates treaties with the Ojibwe and the Dakota for the wedge of land between the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers—land that will later become part of Minnesota. Ratification of the treaties opens the land for settlement by non-Indians. The Ojibwe will receive payments in money, goods, and provisions for 20 years; they also reserve the right to hunt, fish, and gather wild rice within the ceded area. The Dakota do not reserve their hunting or fishing rights, but their annuities are to be perpetual. Indian Agent Lawrence Taliaferro boasts that he made the better bargain for the Dakota.*
Lord, this wedge of land is quite valuable real estate in the present. It contains parts of St. Paul, Oakdale, Stillwater, Lake Elmo, Woodbury, Cottage Grove, and Hastings which are all fast growing parts of the metro area. This is surely a challenge for our present-day lawmakers; how do you give hunting rights in a suburban develop ment?
We need Your wisdom for all such cases. First, we need to accurately understand the meanings of past treaties which is no simple matter. Next, how does one interpret the spirit of this meaning into a present-day context that preserves the spirit and the heart of the treaty? Will You enable our government to honor these treaties in the present and future, as well as make restitution as specific and meaningful as possible?
By Your mercy, will You free all parties in the past of dissension and bitter assessments: the U.S. government and its agents , the Dakota, and the Ojibwa? Will You make us free from the fruit of this event in the present, and create the proper honor and respect between all parties?
*Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm . The current URL is www.dipity.com/Minnesota/History/Minnesota-History/ and only works if typed, not pasted, in browser. It is worth the effort!