19th Century, Governors, History, Indian, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, Native Americans, omnipresent history, Politics, State Government, Treaties

Lind Becomes Governor

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January 2, 1899 to January 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 that his heart was tender to others that wrestled with the industrial 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)? Below is an excellent local source on these First Nations.

“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.”

Will You forgive the Anishinaabe their land hunger for tribes that they may have displaced? We seek Your judgement and restitution for our losses. You are the Master of Apportionment! We all are but temporary occupants of Your lands! Will You give us Your sense of mercy and justice towards our neighbors whether past, present, or future?

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:

3A 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://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** http://www.indianaffairs.state.mn.us/tribes.html

*** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lind_(politician)

 

 

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19th Century, Agriculture, Business, Dakota, Governors, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, Native Americans, Ojibwe, omnipresent history, railroad, State Government, Treaties

Nelson Becomes Governor 1893

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January 4, 1893 to January 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.”**

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?

** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Act_of_1889

*** 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, Business, Culture, History, livestock, maps, Minnesota, Native Americans, trade, Transportation

Red River Oxcart Trade 1840 to 1850

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Métis families (formed by marriages between whites and Indians) take their furs from the Red River Valley to St. Paul in oxcarts. Long caravans of up to 200 carts travel from as far away as Winnipeg, Canada, making St. Paul one of the leading fur markets in the country from the 1840s to the 1860s.*

My first question, Lord, is who are the Metis people? Doing what any modern American would do when faced with something they haven’t encountered before I went straight to wikipedia, and found the following excerpt below.

“The Métis are the descendants of Indigenous Cree or Anishinaabe women who married French or Scottish fur traders during the early colonial period. They have a specific, unique culture. Most are found among the Michif-speaking peoples of the Red River region in modern ManitobaNorth Dakota, and Minnesota.[1] The Red River peoples are part of the same ethnic group as many of the Canadian Métis peoples. There is also a broader but limited use of the term to describe any people who descend from the united culture created by the intermarriage of various French and British fur traders and various Algonquian, Cree and other Native American groups intermarrying during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. This use would exclude from Métis people-hood those whose ancestries became mixed between these different ethnic groups in other settings or more recently than about 1870.” **

So now I have a place to begin my prayer; with at least an inkling of a back story of the Metis. God, I don’t really feel too prayerful tonight, but I’m willing to wait with You and see where it goes. Ok?

To begin, thank You that the Metis are Your people, and included in Your family. Thanks that You have watched over and led them for generations before their participation in the fur trade took place. Today I give your gratitude for the this era of the oxcart trail!

Next, I thank You that Metis marriages became an intersection between Scotch, Irish, French, Cree, Anishinaabe, and perhaps more nations of people! My late aunt, Ingrid Trobisch, an author and marriage counselor once told me, “Interracial marriages may be doubly difficult, but they are also doubly blessed.” I  commend  and honor these marriages that forged a new and unique culture from their culture of origin to You Good Father! Will you bless the Metis and all their future generations with the same forbearing spirit?

How interesting that, again, a people group becomes synonymous with a form of transportation: the Sami people of Finland the reindeer, the Arabs the horse, the Peruvians the llama, and the Metis the oxcart. All through history You have given us gifts and innovative thoughts that improve our lives. Thank You for these gifts. Will You bless those who rode these caravans, and continue to provide for their needs in the present and future? Will You cause us to pause as we drive I-94 west of Minneapolis, and remember who those who first blazed this road; the Metis?

Lord, I ponder what those in the future will think about us when the car is an antiquated beast. Will our interstates lead them somewhere, or will they cease to have purpose ? Will we be associated with our vehicles? In any case, I ask that You bless the future forms of transportation that may be discovered here in Minnesota, and that they would be inhabited by people who drive them to intersect with their neighbors as the Metis did.

*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 .  The current URL is www.dipity.com/Minnesota/History/Minnesota-History/ and only works if typed, not pasted, in browser. It is worth the effort!

** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Métis

 

 

 

 

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