19th Century, Architecture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, State Government

Capitol Construction 1898

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Alexander Ramsey, the 83-year-old first territorial governor of Minnesota, lays the cornerstone of the new state capitol. The building is completed after eight years of construction and a cost of $4.5 million. It is occupied in 1905.

The building has been designed by local-architect-made-good Cass Gilbert, who also laid out the U of M campus and will draw up tall buildings in New York City.*

Capitol buildings are symbols. They are designed for utility, but also to exude the authority and permanence of the state, the government, and the people they represent. Gilbert saw us as inheritor’s of Greek and Roman forms of representational government, and designed a capitol that reflected those influences.

It is easy to imagine that the farmers and loggers looked up and wondered, “What does all that marble have to do with lumber? The rotunda looks like a grain silo, but nothing is in it!?!” ‘Permanence’ to Gilbert may have looked like ‘opulence’ to citizens of the North Star state. Most were still recovering from the Panic of 1893.

“The Panic of 1893 was a serious economic depression in the United States that began in 1893.[1] Similar to the Panic of 1873, it was marked by the collapse of railroad overbuilding and shaky railroad financing, resulting in a series of bank failures. Compounding market overbuilding and the railroad bubble was a run on the gold supply. The Panic of ’93 was the worst economic depression the United States had ever experienced at the time.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panic_of_1893

In any regard, Lord, will You honor the heart of the architect Gilbert? Will You bless those Minnesotans’ who follow in his passion for designing our buildings and structures? Will You bless the workmen who provided their excellent labor and skill to create such a building?

Lord, will You forgive any judgments of the cost of the building during a time of economic struggle? Will You forgive the politicians’ their excesses and pride in their workplace? Like the silo analogy, will You fill the rotunda with Your substance and vision, and not just a grandiose view?

*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!

**Delve into the life of Cass Gilbert. http://www.cassgilbertsociety.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Bounties and Punitive Expeditions

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“The State reward for dead Indians has been increased to $200 for every red-skin sent to Purgatory.” The Daily Republic, Winona, MN, September 24, 1863

The state of Minnesota places bounties—ranging from $25 to $200—on the scalps of Dakota people. Nathan Lamson receives $500 from the state for killing Taoyateduta (Little Crow).

Governor Alexander Ramsey orders punitive expeditions into Dakota Territory to hunt down the Dakota people. Two forces totaling more than 7,000 soldiers are formed under generals John Pope and Alfred Sully. When the Dakota hear of approaching soldiers they flee their camps, leaving valuable supplies. Most of the fleeing Dakota are women and children. Many die from starvation and exposure over the winter.*

Jesus, I’m embarrassed and ashamed that my state had bounties on scalps, but I’m a product of the 20th century where we only take off the heads of our political opponents verbally or figuratively. It made me curious as to why and who began the practice in the first place. This is a brief snippet of what I found.
“Scalping–cutting off the scalp of a dead enemy as proof of his demise– was common practice throughout North America before colonists got here. It is described in Indian oral histories, and preserved scalps were found at archaeological sites. Colonists learned to scalp enemies from the Indians. (The European custom was to cut off people’s heads for proof/trophies, originally, but scalps are easier to transport and preserve, so the colonists quickly switched to the Indian method.) Once they picked up the technique, the English did a tremendous amount of scalping, both of natives and of rival Frenchmen.” http://www.native-languages.org/iaq12.htm

Will You forgive Alexander Ramsey, John Pope, Alfred Sully and their expedition into Dakota territory, (now North Dakota and South Dakota) to pursue the Dakota’s out of Minnesota? Release us from the bondage of this inheritance. Will You forgive the understandable bitterness that has entered the hearts of the Dakota people, as You forgive those among their tribes who taught Minnesotans this practice? Will You give them the grace to remove this hook of the enemy from their hearts? I want to live to see Your blessing of the Dakota people! May we honor You, instead, by keeping trophies of conflicts resolved peaceably, and build displays of unmerited favor shown among all families of nations that make up this place.

*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!

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19th Century, Civics, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, State Government

Ramsey Becomes Governor Jan 2, 1860 to Jul 10, 1863  

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Alexander Ramsey takes office as the state’s second governor. He was the only man to be both appointed as governor of the territory and then elected as governor of the state.

Ramsey was re-elected in 1861. In January 1863 he was elected by the state legislature to the U.S. Senate. He resigned the governorship at the end of June 1863, after the legislative session was over.

His administration was marked by sound economic management-particularly of the state’s school lands-and by two crises: the Civil War and the Dakota Uprising. Ramsey was in Washington, D.C., in 1861 at the time the Civil War began, and as governor offered the first volunteer regiment for the Union Army.*

Jesus thank you for Alexander Ramsey. Thank you for the leadership through two of the most trying events our state has faced; The Dakota Uprising, and the Civil War. Holy Spirit, I invite You to move and direct my thoughts and prayers. That said, today I feel You are taking me on a tangent.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

DAKOTA UPRISING

Master, what can one add that hasn’t been said about the Dakota Uprising? Scholars from many backgrounds have analyzed the information regarding this scar in Minnesotan history, and yet there is still a gnawing sense of brokeness between Native and non-Native Minnesotans. How to proceed? How do you want to connect the head to the heart of this issue?

As a human being, I can see that there usually aren’t uprisings without provocation. These promptings could be active; i.e. land concessions pushed by rail backed by the power of the State or Federal government. These proddings could be passive; a neglect to uphold ones end of the bargain. What human would respond well if they were told to “eat grass” when they asked for provisions that were rightfully theirs?
However, does an offense give us the right to commit atrocities of counter offense? To commit the sin of transference by literally nailing innocent parties to the doors of their homes? I posit to You, Good One, that although we are made in Your image, we have marred it by quashing our offender, our enemy. Who will save us from this cycle of offense and counter-offense, come “come close” and “stay away”?

Many of us have viewed the Native American human as lesser. It was Your pleasure to create all Indians! You made them of many tribes, languages, and nations in Your image and a reflection of Your glory! Will You forgive all Non- Native Minnesotans:
1. All our unrighteous thoughts towards First Nations?
2. All our words of judgment, and verbal expressions of contempt of Native Americans?
3. Any legal expressions of contempt towards Indians?
4. Our judgment of Your handiwork; the Native American human being?

In the same light, we have wrongly grouped Non-Natives as having a singular viewpoint. We have, at times, monolithically condemned those of European descent as “racist” and “invaders”. Are You not the Creator of the Americans of European descent?

Will You forgive all Native Minnesotans:
1. All our unrighteous thoughts towards European Americans?
2. All our words of judgment, and verbal expressions of contempt of Non-Native Americans?
3. Any legal expressions of contempt towards European Immigrants?
4. Our judgment of Your handiwork; the Non-Native American human being?

CIVIL WAR

In a similar vein, will You forgive this State our offenses to You by the judgments foisted on Governor Ramsey, and any political leaders since who have wrestled such weighty conflicts? They have to make difficult choices based on incomplete information, and yet we, as their constituents, often show no mercy on their human frailties and moments of indecision! Christ have mercy on our judgments of our leaders for not fixing OUR broken hearts, and OUR divisive and untrusting attitudes! Can new laws make people show respect and love towards each other?

Taking another huge bite, I’m sure the enemy wreaked havoc in the state through the Civil War. I’m sure many were conflicted about trying to establish peace between the North and the South, slave and free, through warfare. Help me sort out the things to pray over this event.

First, forgive the audacity and judgments of the Church towards slavery. Granted, there was not one monolithic point of view, but there were many that named the name of Jesus, and still saw fit to hold slaves. Will You forgive us this view as a state? As a nation? As the Church of America?

Many of us have viewed the African American human as lesser. It was Your pleasure to create all Africans! You made them of many tribes, languages, and nations in Your image and a reflection of Your glory! Will You forgive all Non- African Minnesotans:
1. All our unrighteous thoughts towards African Americans?
2. All our words of judgment, and verbal expressions of slavery of African Americans?
3. Any legal expressions of slavery towards African Americans?
4. Our judgment of Your handiwork; the African American human being?

Second, will You forgive African Americans, and any of the ancestors of American enslavement:
1. All our unrighteous thoughts towards Non-African Americans?
2. All our words of judgment of Non-African Americans?
3. Any legal expressions of revenge towards Non-African Americans?
4. Our judgment of Your handiwork; the Non-African American human being?

Being the son of a military father, I’m proud that our forefathers were among the first to VOLUNTEER to die in battle opposing slavery. Slavery had been a bone of contention and internal conflict in our national psyche from our founding. Thank You that many in our State have consistently supported the rights of life and liberty throughout the ages. Will You bless those who have fought with a pure heart brimming over with justice?

Lastly, Dear One, how would things have been different if the Church had followed Your admonitions: rising in prayer and fasting over the injustices of slavery? Submitting our grievances to You; acknowledging Your position as King of the Universe? The Church has followed culture into physical war so often, instead of engaging the enemy in heavenly realms. We have tried to change the attitudes of our nation towards the black African slave and the American Indian through external battle. We try to bring peace to the world around us without first doing the work of making peace with You and your children in our hearts. Christ have mercy on us! We choose to honor You first this day: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam…Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe! May we forever bring our universal problems to You!

*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!

 

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

Treaty of Mendota Aug 5, 1851

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In August the commissioners begin negotiations with the Lower Bands at Mendota. The Mdewakanton and Wahpekute are pressured into agreeing to terms similar to those forced on the Upper Bands, including $220,000 in upfront cash to the fur traders. Both treaties promise the Dakota new reservations along the Minnesota River “in perpetuity,” a pledge that will not be kept.*

Lord, forgive our desire to ‘work the system’! I am angered by the deception of the Upper and Lower Dakota Bands at the hands of Luke Lea, and Alexander Ramsey through the trustful signing of the “Trader’ Papers”!!! Lord, we as a state and nation inherit their false judgments and guilt! Forgive this tragic separation of the U.S. government, the Upper and Lower Dakota Bands, and all other Minnesotans!!

 

*Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm .

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Faith, History, Native Americans

Treaty of Traverse des Sioux Jul 23, 1851

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“Suppose your Great Father wanted your lands and did not want a treaty for your good, he could come with 100,000 men and drive you off to the Rocky Mountains.”

Luke Lea, U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs, at treaty signing

Facing mounting debts to fur traders and the pressure of settlers pouring into the newly established Minnesota Territory, the Dakota leaders reluctantly sign treaties, hoping that government promises of reservations and annuities will provide a secure future for their people. Powerful and influential fur traders coerce the Dakota into giving up their land in exchange for promises of cash, goods, annuities, and education. “The Indians are prepared to make a treaty when we tell them to do so,” said Henry Sibley. “No treaty can be made without our claims being first secured.”

Luke Lea, U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and Minnesota territorial governor Alexander Ramsey negotiate separate treaties with the Upper and Lower Dakota Bands. In July they meet with the Upper Bands (Sisseton and Wahpeton) at Traverse des Sioux. After several weeks of discussions and threats, the Upper Bands relinquish their claims to all Minnesota lands west of the Mississippi in exchange for an immediate cash payment of $305,000 and annuity payments in goods, food, education, and gold. The treaty also provides for a reservation along the upper Minnesota. Thinking they are endorsing a third copy of the treaty, the Dakota leaders sign “Traders’ Papers,” illegal documents drafted by the traders themselves. The documents promise much of the $305,000 cash payment to the traders to fulfill “just obligations.”

In August the commissioners begin negotiations with the Lower Bands at Mendota. The Mdewakanton and Wahpekute are pressured into agreeing to terms similar to those forced on the Upper Bands, including $220,000 in upfront cash to the fur traders. Both treaties promise the Dakota new reservations along the Minnesota River “in perpetuity,” a pledge that will not be kept.*

“But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.” Exodus 11:7

Sweet Holy Ghost, I really do not relish writing today, especially for such a time as this in our state’s memory. Will You lead me, perhaps give me insights, and the courage to pray for this moment of contention? Through Your amazing kindness for the brokeness of humankind, I invite You to come watch this treaty!

I do offer real thanks for the promise of the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux. There was a chance to make things clear, put things in writing, and have an agreement that honored both sides. Thanks for this opportunity to become better neighbors, even if it was squandered.

Just Advocate, this what I see today, the Upper and Lower Dakota Bands were willing to concede land if the end result was a stable and secure future. I see them extending these concessions in good faith and a real sense of relationship. What is also clear is that Luke Lea, Sibley,Ramsey, and the fur traders’ lobby were used to getting their way. Their quotes suggest an attitude of dominance and willingness to exert power.

This is my confession to You today Wise Counselor: will You forgive these grievous sins made through Luke Lea, Henry Sibley, Alexander Ramsey, the Bureau of Indian Affairs towards these specific peoples, tribes, first nations; the Sisseton, the Wahpeton, Mdewakanton, and the Wahpekute? Will You lift the weight of this robbery from their shoulders, and restore their inheritance?

More specifically, will You forgive the spirit of deception behind the “Traders Papers”, and the damage it did both relationally and economically to these tribes?
Will You forgive the horror of our offense to You, done in the name of our state, it’s officers, and any other duplicitous parties? Have mercy on these “Traitors Papers”!

We also offend You, Great Spirit, when we answer offense with counter offense. Will You forgive the Sisseton, Wahpeton, Mdwakanton, and Wahpekute any counter-judgments against the same offending parties, whether named; Lea, Sibley, Ramsey, or the B.I.A., or unnamed, the authors of the “Traders Papers”? May these peoples receive mercy so they do not carry this offense generationally in their hearts, and become doubly wronged?

That said, will You make a difference between the righteous and the unrighteous? As Abraham asked of You, “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?…Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Genesis 18:23-25 Of Course You Will!
I praise You that You allow each generation the fruits of their choices!You allow humans to be temporarily wronged by the short-sighted, but these ill-gotten gains will bring separation and destruction. May all such devious treaties ring hollow throughout the history of Minnesota!

*Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm .

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

Ramsey Appointed Territorial Governor Jun 1, 1849

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As the first territorial governor and second governor of the state, Alexander Ramsey presides over the early days of Minnesota politics. A shrewd, practical politician, he acquires Indian lands and promotes growth. Later, he becomes a U.S. senator and secretary of war, and will live into the 20th century, a symbol of Minnesota’s pioneer past.*

Lord, I want to bless the memory of Alexander Ramsey, and acknowledge to You his humanity. The ability of politicians’ to use their power for their own good rather than the benefit of the State is well recorded throughout human history. Unfortunately, our state is no exception to this rule.

For example, Ramsey is also noted for his stern statements calling for the killing or removal of specific Native Americans, chiefly the Sioux (Dakota) people that lived in the state of Minnesota. Ramsey declared on September 9, 1862: “The Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the state.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Ramsey

Lord I acknowledge the tangle of treaties in Minnesota, the likelihood of confusion and unjust acquisitions of Indian land. Where Indians failed to maintain right relationship with the State and the Federal government; have mercy! Where Ramsey wronged Indians in the name of Minnesota in both word and deed, we acknowledge this sin. Will You give us a heart of repentance and restoration? Will You untangle our web of treaties?

*mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

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