20th Century, Environment, History, Intercession, Jesus, law, Minnesota, Native Americans

Superior National Forest

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February 13, 1909

President Theodore Roosevelt establishes Superior National Forest. Exploitative practices are restricted in these areas, thereby preserving the beauty of lakes and trees for future generations. Six weeks later, Ontario’s government responds in kind by creating the adjacent Quetico Provincial Forest Reserve.*

Again, how fitting it is to be awed by such natural beauty as I watch this event with you: the creation of Superior National Forest. My first thought, dear Lord, is to acknowledge that our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. I’ve seen the North Shore, explored the Gunflint Trail, and the Boundary Waters many times, but cannot imagine how much greater the awe of those who saw it at the end of the 19th century. How humbling it must have been to walk as a grasshopper among the pine, fir and spruce forests!
I can smell the crisp scent of Your evergreen forest Lord, even as I write this. Will You forgive us for over-harvesting your forests in Minnesota? This we have done, this I acknowledge to you.
Next, I thank You for moving the heart of President Roosevelt to preserve such areas, and to be mindful of future generations. That said, I also acknowledge that sometimes self-interest drives our attempts to be nature’s caretaker. It is good to be your steward of nature! I just want to remember to You that we are also subject to impure motives even when doing good.
So I ask You, did Roosevelt establish this forest with a pure heart? Was he looking to enhance his legacy? Were there commercial interests that he was motivated to favor or disfavor? Perhaps he was motivated to increase Federal authority over state lands? If so, how did he gain the legal rights if they were not implicitly stated in the Constitution?
His actions allude to his belief that our state’s authority had failed this parcel of land. Did Minnesota trust the logging or mining industries too much? Did the President trust our state’s rights too little? Only You know the heart Lord.
In your mercy, hear my prayer. Will You forgive us our impure motives even while we do good whether past, present, or future? Will You forgive our prideful hearts? We honestly act, at times, as if we will save Your lands. We act as if we will improve Your creation, but often, at our best, we simply do no harm.
Our government established Federal authority to protect and preserve this land. Did we also seek Your celestial authority to protect and preserve it, or were we too busy making commerce? We often rule the land. We stake our claims declaring ourselves it’s savior, but in the end, we simply rule over other men. Will You forgive how we have fought over the title to Your land? Will You grant us humility of heart in Your state known as Minnesota? Will You give us the necessary self-control in land issues that we remain in balance with nature and each other? Will You preserve our hearts from the greed of over-harvesting, or the fear that locks the same lands up subjecting them to the ravages of under-harvesting?
Will You forgive our short memories? We forget that Natives managed Your forests here long before the Department of Natural Resources, or a Bureau of Land Management. They did so well that the first European explorers and settlers were dazzled by its bounty. Remember these tribal stewards Lord Jesus!**
As a final thought, dear Father, I do not suggest we as humans necessarily err in our “doing good”. After all, we are made in Your image, therefore capable of brilliance, ingenuity, and true greatness. I simply want to bow to You, to record and remember, that such brilliance, ingenuity, and greatness often builds a monument to our name. Will You make us a people humble and realistic in our land management successes?

*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! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

** Read the relationship of American Indians to the land, and the differing views of historians on the subject. This excellent article by William Cronin and Richard White for the American Heritage Society shows the breadth of variety of Native American responses to environmental change and conservation of land and species. http://www.americanheritage.com/content/indians-land

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20th Century, Culture, History, Minnesota, music, Native Americans, Prayer, women

Densmore Begins Recording Indian Music

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1907
Red Wing native Frances Densmore embarks on a life-long study of Indian music and culture. From a single recording of a performance by Kitchimakwa (“Great Bear”) at White Earth, she eventually collects thousands of songs of the Ojibwe, Dakota, and 10 other tribes. By the time of her death in 1957, Densmore will have also written 22 books and over 100 articles on Indian life.*

What a fascinating woman, Lord! I love the paradox that Ms. Densmore studied piano, organ, and harmony at Oberlin, and found joy in music of the people. Perhaps she is a testimony of her school’s philosophy?
Father, I’m grateful that by chance she read a book, that led her to her first experience with Indian music, that led into a passion.** I’m grateful that she took delight in listening, which is an inherent quality of great recording engineers, musicians, and producers. One adds a personal statement while listening to other players.
Will You bless Frances and her generations with her love of music and culture? Will You bless all the tribes she recorded with appreciation for her remarkable gift? Will You bless the all non-Native Minnesotans with ears to hear the importance of their voice in our common history?
As Plato said, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” May we listen to the music of each culture of this state, and so be enlivened! Amen!

*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! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

**Explore more about Densmore at MPR feature “Song Catcher”. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/199702/01_smiths_densmore/docs/index.shtml

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20th Century, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, sports

Charles (Chief) Bender Makes Major League Debut

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Chief Bender

sabr.org

Apr 20, 1903
Charles Albert Bender, an Ojibway Indian, plays his first major league baseball game for the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team. Known as “Chief” Bender, the Brainerd pitcher helps the A’s win five pennants, sets a World Series strike-out record, and in 1953 becomes the first Minnesotan inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. His career record is 212 wins and 127 losses.*

Thank You for the life of Charles Albert Bender, his contributions to the Athletics, and the inspiration he gave to Minnesotans. Thank You for ensuring his well-being in childhood. As scholar Melissa Meyer writes, “during the early years of Charley’s childhood White Earth was destitute. At White Earth, the family lived in a log house on a small farm. The Benders had to be self-sufficient and they were not the only ones. Things were so meager that as a young boy Charley supposedly went to work, taking a job as a farmhand for a dollar a week.”**

Thank You for his perseverance in the face of ethnic prejudice. He did not allow slights, contempt, and assumptions made by his detractors to drag him down!
“Though proud of his American Indian heritage, Bender resented the bigotry and the moniker he and nearly every other Indian ballplayer of the time received. ‘I do not want my name to be presented to the public as an Indian, but as a pitcher,’ he told Sporting Life in 1905.”***

Lord, forgive our assessments of another based on an kind of external measure. We have failed to see past our prejudices. We have failed to see Your gifts within those of a group deemed “unacceptable”. We write our brothers and sisters off before we even know them a little!?

There could be many causes for prejudice, and I do not pretend to know what the root causes were for discrimination for Ojibway people. I do not know what fears, in particular, there may be towards Ojibway men. I will only try to acknowledge to You things that are common roots of judgement.

Lord, forgive us our stereotypes, past, present, and future of Native American men. Forgive our misbeliefs that may place us higher or lower, inferior or superior! We love and embrace our heritage, our cultural DNA, but we, like Bender, do not want to be limited by it. Will You free Minnesotans of our judgments of the Ojibway nation, and all first nations of our state? Conversely, will You free the Ojibway from their counter-judgments of all non-native nations and peoples that have, are, or will reside here?

Lord, will You forgive us our vanity that comes through expertise? Often, we seem to be the most blind in the areas we excel. Perhaps it is because we invest so much in our areas of strength that we become less aware of our need of relationship with others, or Your Eternal Mind. Bender probably was the most hurt by the prejudice of those on his own team. Lord, we have betrayed those on our own team. Will You show us a new way? Will You give us your unshakable security, so that we do not need the accolades of our peers? Will You give us humility if they do not worship us or our achievements properly?

*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! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**The White Earth Tragedy: Ethnicity and Dispossession at a Minnesota Anishinaabe Reservation, 1889-1920 by Melissa L. Meyer (University of Nebraska Press, 1994)
***Swift, Tom.”Chief Bender.”Society for American Baseball Research.2013.Web.14Aug.2013. http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/03

****Need to see the Chief’s statistics? http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bendech01.shtml

 

 

 

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19th Century, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, Politics, State Government

Lind Becomes Governor

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Jan 2, 1899 to Jan 7, 1901
John Lind takes office as the state’s 14th governor on January 2, 1899.

Lind, an outspoken political maverick, campaigned zealously for adoption of a more equitable tax burden, enlightened concern for the sick and poor, and direct elections of state officials. Although most of his efforts to change society failed, Lind paved the way for subsequent reform and Minnesota’s transition from an agrarian to an industrial society.*

Thank you for the struggles of John Lind. Thank you for all Minnesotans’ who have bucked at the limitations of the two-party system. Thanks for his heart that was tender to others that wrestled with the giants of their time, and usually lost.

Why this struggle? The people knew Minnesota had riches: excellent dairy pastures, productive farmland, timber, iron ore and minerals, thousands of lakes, and a waterway that crossed half a continent. What was there to complain about? Commodities are valuable if they can reach the markets that have need for such resources. What if the “middlemen” ate them alive with storage fees, transportation costs, and sales commissions? Or what if the laws of one’s business were written by giants for giants?

Lord, I don’t know many details of these Lind years, but I see this conflict as a worthy subject to acknowledge to You. Will you forgive our judgements of the land hunger of the giants of timber, iron, farmland speculators, and railroads that began on January 2, 1899 and still prevail? Will You also forgive the land hunger of Minnesotans’ that displaced the Anishinaabe (Chippewa, Objibwe)?

Anishinaabe Reservations
The seven Anishinaabe reservations include: Grand Portage located in the northeast corner of the state; Bois Forte located in extreme northern Minnesota; Red Lake located in extreme northern Minnesota west of Bois Forte; White Earth located in northwestern Minnesota; Leech Lake located in the north central portion of the state; Fond du Lac located in northeast Minnesota west of the city of Duluth; and Mille Lacs located in the central part of the state, south and east of Brainerd.
All seven Anishinaabe reservations in Minnesota were originally established by treaty and are considered separate and distinct nations by the United States government. In some cases, the tribe retained additional lands through an Executive Order of the President. Six of the seven reservations were allotted at the time of the passage of the General Allotment Act. The Red Lake Reservation is the only closed reservation in Minnesota, which means that the reservation was never allotted and the land continues to be held in common by all tribal members. Each Indian tribe began its relationship with the U.S. government as a sovereign power recognized as such in treaty and legislation. The Treaty of 1863 officially recognized Red Lake as separate and distinct with the signing of the Old Crossing Treaty of 1863. In this treaty, the Red Lake Nation ceded more than 11 million acres of the richest agricultural land in Minnesota in exchange for monetary compensation and a stipulation that the “President of the United States direct a certain sum of money to be applied to agricultural education and to such other beneficial purposes calculated to promote the prosperity and happiness of the Red Lake Indian.” The agreements of 1889 and the Agreement of 1904, Red Lake ceded another 2,256,152 acres and the Band was guaranteed that all benefits under existing treaties would not change. http://www.indianaffairs.state.mn.us/tribes.html

Will You forgive our claim to Your land also known as Minnesota? Will You forgive our claim to Your intellectual property: air, water, plants, minerals, animals, weather, day, night, and people? You have given enough for all! You let us play with Your building blocks! Let us be worthy builders!

Father, help us deal with our pain that drives our anger. You have said in Ecclesiastes that there is:
“A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; “

We often see anger as only negative, or as the expression of an emotion that separates us. Yet, it is the expression of anger that often lets others know that our boundaries have been crossed. There is an anger that is mad at separation.

Will You bless Governor Lind for expressing this kind of anger; the anger at injustice? Lind was known for having a temper. According to an article on the front page of the Moose Lake (Minnesota) Star on January 17, 1901: “Ex-governor John Lind after having freed himself from the duties of governor last Thursday walked down to the Dispatch office in St. Paul and administered to Editor Black a well-deserved licking. For a one armed man John Lind can make some telling blows once in a while.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lind_(politician)

*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! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

 

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19th Century, education, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, State Government

Indian Schools 1893

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Indian children are forced to attend government schools. Children in communities without local schools are sent away to boarding schools. White educators hope still that separating children from their families will make it easier to teach them to reject Indian ways.

“I believe in immersing the Indians in our civilization, and when we get them under, holding them there until they are thoroughly soaked.”
-Richard Henry Pratt, head of the Carlisle Institute

“I must read from books instead of from Nature. I must learn of the birds and the animals and the trees from books instead of from daily contact with them. This was what the white man said I should do, and I could do nothing but obey. Again I would forget the language of my people and speak in the tongue of the school.”
-Way-quah-gishig was six years old when he was sent away to a boarding school in South Dakota and given the name John Rogers. During the next six years, he and his sisters were not able to see or write their family.*

Help me observe this event with you Holy Spirit. I invite Your reflections, insights, and direction as I write. Will You lead me in prayer?
As I wait, the question arose of requiring immersion education for Native American students. If immersion education was simply offered rather than required, wouldn’t that have been more consistent with our Constitutional principals, and with Your word? As Washington once said, “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” If a student is placed in a servant-master relationship, where is the room for the joy of discovery? Can curiosity be born in an atmosphere of mandatory compliance?

Lord, will You forgive the offense of required immersion to the Native people of Minnesota? Will You forgive the offense of wanting to mold others into our image? Will You forgive this zeal to change others by force, rather than persuasion and real relationship? Will You forgive the impatience of this event? We separated children from their families instead of meeting them family to family?
Conversely, will You free Native Minnesotans’ from the temptation to hold onto this offense? American Indians were natural “homeschoolers” or “unschoolers”** during this era, will You forgive them their judgments’ against the State-defined modes of education? Will You remove this curse, and bring a blessing in its place? May we unlearn force, and learn to offer freedom of education to each other in this state! IHS

*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! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**Learn more about homeschooling and unschooling? http://www.homeschool.com/new/difstyles.asp#unschooling

***Peruse a brief history of U.S. government policies regarding the education of Native children? http://www.edweek.org/ew/projects/2013/native-american-education/history-of-american-indian-education.html

 

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19th Century, Agriculture, Business, government, History, Intercession, Israel, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, railroad, State Government

Nelson Becomes Governor

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Jan 4, 1893 to Jan 31, 1895
Norwegian immigrant Knute Nelson becomes the state’s 12th governor in 1893, the first Scandinavian to hold the office. A fighter for farmers’ interests against the railroads and grain merchants, he resigned in 1895 to run successfully for the United States Senate, where he remained until 1923.*

Thank You for the life of Knute Nelson and his leadership in Minnesota. He became a prominent leader roughly 25 years after becoming a citizen. Negative attitudes about Scandinavians were tempered by his success.
Looking back at his career, the area of greatest contention were probably those issues concerning railroad interests. On one hand, the rails offered new markets to farmers and also supplied them with manufactured goods from the east. This relationship fueled western land development, and modernized communities along the way.

However, like all new technology, railroads were often the vehicle of economic bondage for immigrant settlers, and greedy for Native Americans’ land. Farmers became dependent on the rails to bring grain to market, but having a product with limited shelf life, were subject to the manipulations of the market and shipping costs charged by the railroad companies.
But how did the railways effect the Native Minnesotans? It is understandable that a sitting Governor wants to further the economic growth and standard of living in his state, but at what cost? These questions point to his writing of the Act cited below:

“The Nelson Act of 1889 was a United States federal law intended to relocate all the Anishinaabe people in Minnesota to the White Earth Indian Reservation in the western part of the state, and to expropriate the vacated reservations for sale to European Americans. [1]
Approved by Congress on January 14, 1889, the Nelson Act was the equivalent for reservations in Minnesota to the Dawes Act of 1887, which had mandated allotting communal Indian lands to individual households in the Indian Territory, and selling the surplus. The goal of the Nelson Act was to consolidate Native Americans within the state of Minnesota on a western reservation, and, secondly, to encourage allotment of communal lands to individual households in order to encourage subsistence farming and assimilation. It reflected continuing tensions between whites and American Indians in the state. Especially after the Dakota Conflict of 1862, many Minnesota white residents were eager to consolidate the reservations, reduce the amount of land controlled by Indians and make the surplus available for sale and settlement by European Americans.
Minnesota congressmen Knute Nelson pushed for the allotment of Ojibway lands in Northern Minnesota and sale of “surplus” to non-Natives. He and others intended to force the Ojibway to relinquish most of their reservation lands. The intention was to relocate the peoples to the westernmost White Earth Reservation. All would receive individual allotments, with the remainder to be available for sale to European Americans. These actions were illegal and violated the treaties which the US had made with the tribes, but the government proceeded anyway. The Red Lake Band of the Ojibway were able to keep the southern portion of their Reservation.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Act_of_1889

Father, this story brings to mind the desire of King Ahab for his neighbor’s vineyard.

1 Kings 21:1-16
New International Version (NIV)
Naboth’s Vineyard
1 Some time later there was an incident involving a vineyard belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. The vineyard was in Jezreel, close to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. 2 Ahab said to Naboth, “Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden, since it is close to my palace. In exchange I will give you a better vineyard or, if you prefer, I will pay you whatever it is worth.”
3 But Naboth replied, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors.”
4 So Ahab went home, sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezreelite had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my ancestors.” He lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat.
5 His wife Jezebel came in and asked him, “Why are you so sullen? Why won’t you eat?”
6 He answered her, “Because I said to Naboth the Jezreelite, ‘Sell me your vineyard; or if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard in its place.’ But he said, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’”
7 Jezebel his wife said, “Is this how you act as king over Israel? Get up and eat! Cheer up. I’ll get you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”
8 So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, placed his seal on them, and sent them to the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city with him. 9 In those letters she wrote:
“Proclaim a day of fasting and seat Naboth in a prominent place among the people. 10 But seat two scoundrels opposite him and have them bring charges that he has cursed both God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.”
11 So the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city did as Jezebel directed in the letters she had written to them. 12 They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth in a prominent place among the people. 13 Then two scoundrels came and sat opposite him and brought charges against Naboth before the people, saying, “Naboth has cursed both God and the king.” So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death. 14 Then they sent word to Jezebel: “Naboth has been stoned to death.”
15 As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, “Get up and take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite that he refused to sell you. He is no longer alive, but dead.” 16 When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up and went down to take possession of Naboth’s vineyard.

These verses tell of an authority figure who is complicit in the annexation of his neighbor’s land. The part that stands out to me are the words of verse 3; “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors.” Naboth did not want to sell away an inheritance.
Lord, there are many nuances that I do not know about this Act. I don’t know the Governor’s heart, his motivations, or the pressures on him. I simply see an action that is typically the breeding ground of bitterness and contention.
Will You forgive the injustice of this Act towards Native Minnesotans, their inheritance, property, and generations’? Will you release them from any binding counter-judgments that may hold them captive from receiving an inheritance from You? Will You reverse any curses on the lands specifically mentioned in this Act, and restore a right relationship between all Native Minnesotans and government?
Will You teach this state to have neither a tyranny of the majority or the minority? Will You enable us to neither feel the shame of asking for the help of our state, nor shame those who have graciously helped? Will You teach us about boundaries, property, lands, and inheritance?
Will You give honor to the just actions of Knute Nelson, his heritage, and generations? Will You forgive us in our judgments of the humanity and motive conflicts within our own natures’? Will You give us internal peace, contentment, and satisfaction in our hearts so we do not want another’s possession?

*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! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

** For more depth on Governor Knute Nelson see the “Biographical Directory of the United States Congress”. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=n000040

***More on property rights of the ancient Middle East. https://tifwe.org/resource/ownership-and-property-in-the-old-testament-economy/

 

 

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19th Century, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans

Farmers Flee Ojibwe

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1891
Fearing an Indian uprising, throngs of people flee the Red River Valley. The sheriff of Kittson County requests rifles, the roads jam, and panic ensues. The gathering of Ojibwe turns out to be a peaceful annual ceremony.*

Lord this seems like a very human reaction: fearing the unknown neighbor. I acknowledge this fear, of this moment, as sin. This judgment of the Ojibwe celebration appears quite rash, and based on incomplete information. Will You forgive us our judgments then and bring blessing to all descendants of those who panicked or were simply preparing a party; a pow-wow? Will You rebuild to the trust, neighbor to neighbor in Kittson county?

Also, forgive us in the present! We often suspect those of a differing upbringing, thereby not giving them the benefit of the doubt we do to those who are more familiar. We make assumptions based on incomplete facts that unnecessarily alienate us from each other. Christ have mercy! Will You give us the grace to know each other in Minnesota?

*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! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

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