Episcopal bishop Henry Whipple comes to Minnesota to “civilize” the Indians, but he also protests their mistreatment by the government.
When more than 300 Dakota are sentenced to death after the war of 1862, Whipple convinces President Lincoln to cut the number to 38.*
Great Holy Spirit, thank you for Bishop Whipple and his heart to know and minister to Indians. There are so many trigger points between Native Americans and our society that seem apparent to us now: ethnocentrism, casinos, property rights, and hunting rights to name a few. Perhaps these same flash points may not have been so obvious then?
For example, the Bishop wants to “civilize” the Indians. Only You know what this meant to Whipple. He could have meant to Anglicize the Indians by teaching them about his culture, and underscoring the importance of a written language and education. He could have meant that we are civilized when we meet Jesus, and cease our rebellion against Him, ourselves, and others. He could have meant to turn them into good Anglo-American citizens.
Whatever his motive Lord, I simply am aware of these judgments and counter-judgments that cloud the relationship between Your Native peoples and the rest of Minnesotas’ inhabitants. Will You forgive ALL Minnesotans’ our judgments? Will You hack any bitter roots that were planted by Henry Whipple, the Episcopal church, or other believers in 1859? Will You create a new relationship between Dakota and Your bride, the Church?
Thank you for the mercy that was extended to the Dakotas by President Lincoln due to Whipple’s intervention. He stuck his neck out to save Native necks! May we continue to honor the lives You have given us, and even love the lives of those who oppose us! We are so far from Your tolerance and forebearance! We so easily forget that we once were rebels and enemies of Your kingdom of kindness, but You loved us while we were still sinners. May we imitate Your mercy and justice in the state of Minnesota! May You cause us and uphold us to be just! Will You “civilize” our hearts, and intervene for us in our deepest sorrows?
*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out!