20th Century, History, Minnesota, Native Americans, omnipresent history, Uncategorized

The Indian Reorganization Act

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https://prologue.blogs.archives.gov/2015/11/30/indian-new-deal/

Jun 18, 1934
Congress passes the Indian Reorganization Act, sometimes called the “Indian New Deal.” The legislation reverses the Dawes Act’s privatization of Indian lands, and allows for a return to tribal sovereignty, or local self-government.*

To get better acquainted with the moment in time, we need to know something about Commissioner Collier, his policies and motives.
“John Collier’s appointment as Commissioner of Indian Affairs by Franklin Roosevelt in 1933 marked a radical reversal—in intention if not always in effect—in U.S. government policies toward American Indians that dated back to the 1887 Dawes Act. An idealistic social worker, Collier first encountered Indian culture when he visited Taos, New Mexico, in 1920, and found among the Pueblos there what he called a “Red Atlantis”—a model of living that integrated the needs of the individual with the group and that maintained traditional values. Although Collier could not win congressional backing for his most radical proposals, the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 dramatically changed policy by allowing tribal self-government and consolidating individual land allotments back into tribal hands.” **

Next come the question of how these goals are established legally, and who gets to make the choice.
“The bill seeks to consolidate Indian-owned land into tribal or community ownership, while retaining individual use thereof and inheritance rights, but would prohibit sale. It provides for buying additional land, so that, eventually, all Indians desiring it will have some land for their own use. It would permit Indians to organize into self-governing communities under Federal supervision, with extension of responsibility as Indians show capacity for self-rule.
In the words of Commissioner Collier, the bill “strikes a double blow at the two fatal weaknesses of Indian administration across a whole century: first, the dissipation of the Indian estate and the progressive pauperization of the Indians, and, second, the suppression of Indian tribal and social and religious institutions and the steadfast failure of the Government to organize any effective plan of collective action by which the Indians could advance in citizenship and protect their rights.”

Yeshua, thank You for the life of John Collier, and the impact that it had on our state. We remember both his successes and failures to you. Perhaps he was too idealistic and impatient for change? Will You forgive where he offended You, or his neighbors’ conscience, by moving too fast? Will You forgive where he sought to right an offense through legalistic counter-offense? Will You forgive where he fell prey to vanity, thinking his vantage point was unassailable, and resistant to listen to his critics?

Conversely, we bless his successes in shining a light on the usurped lands and unalienable rights of all Native Americans. We thank You that he was willing to push back on the excesses of our capitalistic system, and the offenses of its oligarchy of key players and their companies? We believed in the false gods of progress as defined by Minnesota and its’ economic masters to the exclusion of the 10th Amendment rights of our tribal brothers and sisters; have mercy! Will You bless those like Collier that are the whistleblowers of our collective state conscience?

Further, we have forgotten the benefits and benefactors of our nationhood and its laws. We have forgotten how the best minds of France and England, Greece and Rome, Egypt and Israel gave shape to our laws that have given previously unheard of rights and privileges to common human beings.
We have forgotten that our statehood has, somehow, almost miraculously allowed myriads of cultures and sub-cultures to unite as one people. Though Native systems had their successes, we have since created a place that can incorporate hundreds or even thousands of religions, worldviews, ethnicities, cultures, tribes and languages to co-exist where there had previously only been primarily: Chippewa, Lakota, Nakota, Dakota, Sioux, and Ojibwe. We have failed to practice gratitude, both in the era of the Indian New Deal and the present, the equilibrium achieved over thousands of years of balkanization and racism precisely through the laws of our nation-state! Master, we have thought too long and too much of our own race and too little of the honor You bestowed on all Your children! Have mercy on our arrogance!

“The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when the city shall be rebuilt for the Lord.” Jeremiah 31:38
Though this verse points us to Jerusalem, we welcome when Your justice is established across all the families of the nations of the earth! We look forward to a dominion when land and law are apportioned according to Your economy. We invite You, Holy Spirit, to the political state of Minnesota, and to the First Nation’s that occupied these lands before it; come and sort us out? May we be faithful stewards of these, Your Lands, that we temporarily occupy during our brief life spans. May “Mni sotah” truly be a reflection forever of the clear blue waters of human relationships with You, (and each other), made right!

* 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!
** http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5059/
*** “A New Deal for the American Indian,” Literary Digest, 7 April 1938, 21.
**** Schwartz, E. A., “Red Atlantis Revisited: Community and Culture in the Writings of John Collier”. American Indian Quarterly.Vol. 18, No. 4 (Autumn, 1994), pp. 507-531
https://www.jstor.org/stable/1185395?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

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19th Century, Agriculture, Civics, education, farming, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, law, Minnesota, Native Americans, State Government, Treaties

The General Allotment Act (Dawes Act)

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Feb 8, 1887
Congress enacts legislation that allots 160-acre tracts of land to heads of households of American Indian families. The rest of the reservation land is thrown open to non-Indian homesteaders. Eventually, Native-held lands are reduced by more than two thirds.*

“The Dawes Act had a negative effect on American Indians, as it ended their communal holding of property by which they had ensured that everyone had a home and a place in the tribe. It was followed by the Curtis Act of 1898, which dissolved tribal courts and governments. The act “was the culmination of American attempts to destroy tribes and their governments and to open Indian lands to settlement by non-Indians and to development by railroads.”[27] Land owned by Indians decreased from 138 million acres (560,000 km2) in 1887 to 48 million acres (190,000 km2) in 1934.[3]
Senator Henry M. Teller of Colorado was one of the most outspoken opponents of allotment. In 1881, he said that allotment was a policy “to despoil the Indians of their lands and to make them vagabonds on the face of the earth.” Teller also said, “the real aim [of allotment] was “to get at the Indian lands and open them up to settlement. The provisions for the apparent benefit of the Indians are but the pretext to get at his lands and occupy them….If this were done in the name of Greed, it would be bad enough; but to do it in the name of Humanity…is infinitely worse.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawes_Act

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Messiah, there is such a gap between intent and actions. One the one hand, the Dawes Act points to a desire to respect the property of Native Americans. On the other hand, it ‘gives’ them title to land if they accept the conditions. Is this freedom, or fiefdom?
First, as a human being and fellow Minnesotan, I want to acknowledge our sin of envy. We are not content with what we have. Lord, forgive us the envy contained in the Dawes Act of Native lands! Will You heal the whole inheritance of envy, and heal the lands that were annexed unjustly?
Second, I want to acknowledge the mixed motives of our hearts! I acknowledge the honest desire of many at this time that Native peoples assimilate and become one people with the United States, and with Minnesota. Many were motivated by a desire to share ‘common ground’ figuratively and literally with Indians. As in “I’m a simple Norwegian farmer who is trying to start a new life in America. What does my Indian neighbor have against me? I used to hunt and fish with him. I’m not a land man for the railways, or a representative of the Department of the Interior, but their actions make me the bad guy to my Indian neighbors.”

Many Natives did not want to not feel the pains of being a foreign enclave in their homelands. While they resisted many aspects of Western Culture, they also admired and even craved some of its fruits: new technologies and techniques, trade for useful products, positive interactions with new neighbors, etc. They seemed to both admire and fear the new culture in their land. Some Natives willfully accepted new ways, and others did not.

Lord, have mercy on these hearts! Some on both sides of this divide, whether Immigrant or Indian, wanted to take a chance and embrace. Some were repelled by clashing with another culture. Lord forgive how we have feared our brother’s ways, and rejected what You have to teach us through him! Lord, forgive us our hesitancy to trust! Will you restore us to chesed? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chesed

Next, I want to acknowledge that both cultures succumbed to the “power men” within them. There were plenty of Minnesotans’ willing to capitalize on the imbalance of power the Dawes Act gave them! Too many tried to moralize the outright theft of property! They claimed desires to civilize native peoples to gain public approval for their land grab. Nothing changes. They are still among us. However, I mourn before you this day, and acknowledge this offense against my Native brothers! Have mercy! Will You reverse this curse? Will You restore these injustices?

Lastly, I want to acknowledge the counter judgments that some Native peoples made in response to these ‘land grabbers’. They chose to meet offense with counter offense, perhaps not learning from their own tribe to tribe, or First Nation to First Nation acts of offense and or war. It is clear to see these fruits yielding a harvest of separation even today in our state. Will You forgive these counter judgments? We have offended You first! Have mercy!

Will You have mercy on our natural desires for vengeance stemming from the Dawes Act? Will You give us a new common inheritance as Minnesotans’? Will You take the bitter roots from our hands so that we can recieve from You? When we must disagree, will You teach us to do it with understanding, clarity, and respect?

*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, Business, Culture, Economics, History, Intercession, Jesus, Leadership, Minnesota, State Government

American Fur Company 1833

 

 

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Young Henry Sibley takes over the American Fur Company post at Mendota in 1834 and stays on to be a leader in building Minnesota. He will become Minnesota’s first territorial delegate to Congress and its first state governor–an indivisible part of the state’s history for more than 50 years.*

 

 

Thank you for the life of Henry Sibley, and his leadership role in this state. You have seen Sibley’s work and heart, will You guide this prayer? Will You give insight into the ramifications of this new role for Sibley as head of this important company so long ago?

 

I do not know how conscientious or just he was, or if he favored the American Fur Company in his civil leadership roles. Lord, I just want to acknowledge that when I have power, it is tempting to favor those with whom I have the strongest trust and relationship. Will You forgive me this sin?

Forgive any favoritism, or judgments against those favored by Henry Sibley, the American Fur Company, and the government of Minnesota? Will You forgive us as Minnesotans’ from our savior-complex? Sometimes we shield those we favor from learning by the cause and effect of their actions. God, these are some contemporary examples of our civic favoritism: >“This company (or bank) is too big to fail.” >”We need a new Vikings stadium.” >”Our state can pay for equality of outcomes.” You are the Savior of Minnesota! Cleanse us from 1833 to now of our favoritism.

Why is this offensive to You, Just One? Is it because misuse of authority exhibits the limitations of our trust for our fellow man, or their Maker? Do we deny those around us that they also have Your inalienable right of choice?

Of course, there are times when you authorize and condone our exercise of judgment on behalf of others. For example, a mother must choose, moment by moment, what is best for the care of her newborn child. Yet if this same woman were to be constantly advising her adult child, it would be a sick relationship, and probably feel quite smothering.

In the same way, will You bless the future of all leaders of this state with Your proper balance of authority? May they be blessed with strength balanced by tenderness! May they neither fear the loneliness of leadership, nor the humility that nurtures future leaders. Amen!

 

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