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

Removal of Dakota Survivors

Sam Brown_0

November 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 to the Dakota at this time be turned into direct blessing and healing words. Will You give gifts 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, 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? Will You forgive those who sowed the root offense of this conflict? 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 for whom You died and rose again. 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!

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm


4 thoughts on “Removal of Dakota Survivors

  1. Like you, I believe that God exists outside space and time. He is eternal. Like you, I believe that grievances of the past can extend into the present. Sin has long tentacles.

    But I differ w/ regard to asking forgiveness for the dead. To me, that smacks of efforts to “baptize” them which I consider unbiblical. We must each account for our actions before the throne of God. No one else can atone for our sins. Indulgences, if you recall, were a major trigger for the Protestant Revolution.

    There are, of course, topics on which Christians disagree. But there is another issue developing.

    Our nation is giving way to a revisionist view of history which re-labels the Christians and Jews who came here seeking religious freedom as mere colonizers. I fear the approach you take toward “praying through history” may inadvertently feed into that.



    • I agree and I do not ask forgiveness for the dead either. I DO acknowledge that we stand on the shoulders of their decisions, and so we representationally acknowledge sin in generations past. Nearly every Christian psychologist or counselor does this when they are discerning root motives, communication habits, etc. Freud said, “Tell me about your father” so he could better know the strengths and weaknesses of his clients. I pray for Minnesota because I know that my “family of origin” here in Minnesota is a mixed bag of blessing and curses.
      As far a my historiology, I can clearly tell you I am not a revisionist. Or triumphalist. Or Marxist. Or ( fill-in-the blank).I believe Christian faith is too often detached from their field of scholarship. I had to create my own historical analysis model, you can see some of it in the post” Why pray through history?” at the top of my blog. The basic idea is this, because G-d is present to all times (omnipresence), He can heal decades, centuries, or even eons of unforgiveness…if someone ever says ” Sorry Father!”
      Pretty basic idea.
      Time for another analogy?
      Life is like a fishtank that hasn’t been cleaned regularly. The fish inside swim in dirty water. The walls are covered in scum and bacteria. As long as there is food and enough oxygen in the water; they are happy.
      Yet, imagine how much more healthy and vibrant they would be if they had a clean aquarium?
      This is like the human race. The present generation doesn’t know what it’s like to live in clean, pure water. It swims everyday in the filth of the past. This is why I’m called to this happy task. I have the joy of providing example after example of how seeking His forgiveness frees us to partake of the present more fully, and to bless the future.
      Thanks for your thoughts!

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