19th Century, History, Indian, Intercession, Minnesota, Native Americans, State Government, war

Bishop Whipple

Rev. Henry Whipple

Rev. Henry Whipple


“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!



7 thoughts on “Bishop Whipple

  1. We should also pray for the hundreds of white settlers who were brutally murdered by the Sioux (some nailed to their doors) while their men were away fighting the Civil War. The war you speak of started with this massacre of innocents. History can be very complex. I really appreciate your efforts to pray about it.

    • Thanks for the comment! I didn’t know about those atrocities, but am not surprised. Revenge knows no color. Forgive my incomplete research? I’m just one guy trying to use an historical timeline as a point of meditation, and to practice a mindset of forgiveness.
      If you read through my blogs, I truly try to keep in mind that long-standing conflicts in history usually are the result of offense and counter offense cycles. Often, as much damage is done by righteous anger as by the original offense. What I mean is that it takes a tremendous toll on an individual, tribe, or nation to maintain an offense. A friend of mine was part of the Protestant/Catholic reconciliation in Northern Ireland from the Sixties through the Eighties. He found that one generation, though truly wronged and owed restitution, had to forgive to break the cycle. this is my heart too. Thank you for responding! By all means feel free to share and teach me. I only know SOME of the story.

      • I think it’s great what your doing and I agree with all you said but sometimes when the accent seems to be on only white atrocities it keeps a stereotype going (not your fault). The timeline should have mentioned what started the war which was the Indian massacre of whites (not so that everyone would hate Indians but to present a fair history). It seems a few young braves dared each other to kill a white man (if memory serves). When the older men of the tribe found out what they did they decided it would be a good idea to go on the offensive. Needless to say, there was already mistrust on both sides and I think the US government may have been late (as usual) sending annuities.

        You’re 100% right in saying that forgiveness (not reparations or paybacks) changes things. My issue with the current way we look at Indians is that we stereotype them a s noble and superior when as a Christian I see us all as equally flawed. Only when everyone humbles themselves can change happen.


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