Nov 7, 1862
Minnesota governor Alexander Ramsey declares that “the Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the state.” Dakota women, children, and older men are marched from the Lower Sioux Agency to Fort Snelling. Along the route they are attacked by mobs of angry settlers. Witness Samuel Brown recalled that the streets of Henderson, Minnesota, were “crowded with an angry and excited populace, cursing, shouting, and crying. Men, women, and children armed with guns, knives, clubs, and stones rushed upon the Indians.”*
Most of us haven’t experienced “street justice”! We cannot relate to being attacked simply for existing, and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. For those of us who have, the anxiety, panic, and sheer terror of being pursued by a mob are hard to erase.
Jesus, will You forgive the city of Henderson, and all those who participated in these actions on members of the Lower Bands of Dakota? May the hatred and fear projected from this town towards them be turned into direct blessing and healing words. Will You give gifts of mercy to all Dakota Bands to forgive this bitter chapter?
Will You cover the offenses of the Dakota towards Henderson, and all the lands where their conflict took place? Will You forgive the Dakota their attacks on innocents, non-combatants, and their property? Will You forgive the Dakota their counter-projection of hate and fear onto their neighbors? Will You forgive those who sowed the seeds of this reaction, as well as its root offense? Will You teach us to resolve its gross offenses, even deaths, in a life-giving way?
Kind Judge, in this act we have denied, and even attempted to usurp Your justice. We, in common, have acted as agent provocateurs against Your laws and order. We have submitted ourselves to injustice, and participated in base laws governed by revenge-filled hearts.
May the nation of Minnesota here represented, Dakotan, American, Euro-Minnesotan begin the path of blessing: from November 7th, 1862 through to the present. May we receive from You riot-proof hearts; whether against You or our fellow man. May you shield us from the misbelief that we can act as judge, jury, and executioner.
May we practice repentance before You first, and create habits of restoration towards our brothers and sisters. Jesus, we love so poorly and incompletely because we do not grasp Your selfless love. Have pity on us whether Native Minnesotan, or Adoptive Minnesotan!
*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!