The treaties of Traverse des Sioux and Mendota go to the U.S. Senate to be ratified, but become entangled in the battle over the balance of power between the slave and free states. Southern senators hope the Dakota will refuse because of a key change in wording: in reference to reservation lands, the Senate replaces “in perpetuity” with “at the discretion of the President.” Before final ratification, the Dakota must agree to changes in the treaty. Minnesota territorial governor Alexander Ramsey is charged with attaining the necessary signatures to finalize the treaties, which he accomplishes through a combination of negotiation, withholding of goods and food, and the threat of military force. The Dakota are left with little choice and begin moving to the new lands along the Minnesota River in 1853.*
Lord, today may we acknowledge the sins and major points of separation of this treaty before You, the Merciful, yet Just Judge of the Universe?
-Ramsey’s willingness to withhold goods and food.
-Ramsey’s threat of military force.
-The US Senate’s willingness to betray the trust of the Dakota through rewording of the treaty.
-Any counter-judgments made by the Dakota.
Jesus, we all betray. We make betrayal worse by responding to offense with unforgiveness. We often make our own prisons when we harden our hearts. I acknowledge these things to You, pronounce forgiveness based on the promise of Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
May all parties be moved to show remorse, ask forgiveness, and be restored into right relationship!
*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 .