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

Nelson Act Allots Indian Lands

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Jan 14, 1889
Passed into law on January 14, 1889, the Nelson Act breaks up Ojibwe reservations into individual plots of land, leaving only Red Lake in tribal hands.

Named for Knute Nelson, who from 1883 to 1889 served as representative to the U.S. Congress from Minnesota’s newly formed fifth district. It was during this time as a congressman that Nelson made one of the most significant moves of his political career when, as a member of the Committee on Indian Affairs, he drafts an act entitled “Relief and Civilization of the Chippewa Indians in Minnesota,” commonly known as the Nelson Act. The Act stipulates that Ojibwe families receive “allotments” of land on the White Earth Reservation.

This attempt to consolidate all of Minnesota’s Ojibwe people on a small land base results in the loss of Indian lands beyond what had already been ceded to the United States through treaties as the government sells leftover land to lumber companies.*

Father, You have established order in this universe. You have said over and over to any who would listen, “ Pray for Your leaders, for those in authority. May Your will be done!

As a human being, I acknowledge the potential for fantasy we may create when we have a self interest. Nelson may have genuinely believed that the sale of these lands were the path to reducing the conflict between Native Minnesotans’ and their new neighbors. Christ have mercy! However, it appears to be more probable that he thought he knew how to use their land better than the Ojibwe did.
Will You forgive the heart of force in the Nelson Act? Will You forgive the pride of our government in these dealings with the Ojibwe? Will You forgive the heart judgments’ against the Ojibwe, Cherokee, or any other native Minnesotans? **
You do not abhor property in your word. You gave allotments of lands to specific tribes of Israel. (See Genesis 12:7, 13:15, 15:18, 26:4, Exodus 32:13, Deuteronomy 1:35-36) You teach us to be good stewards of the property You have given us to manage, yet You ultimately are its Sovereign and owner.

Father, we have broken Your laws and have broken faith with Your Native Minnesotans! We have used the force of government to wrongly divide their land. Lord, will You release us of this sin? Will You release Native Minnesotans of their counter-judgements’ stemming from the Nelson Act, and the accrued judgments since?

Will You reveal to the Ojibwe that You alone are indeed the Sovereign of all land in Minnesota? Will You show Minnesotans how to disagree and maintain relationship on the issue of private property? Will You release the lands affected by this Act from their respective curses? Will You turn the Nelson Act into a blessing for ALL Minnesotans in perpetuity?
In faith, I send these offenses and counter-offenses to the Cross of Christ. I send these curses to the Cross of Christ. I wish to bring the Nelson Act into Your eternal present, that You may give us life and blessing! Lord, forgive our unbelief and failure to evenly steward Your property in our charge! You alone are Sovereign of all property of all States and Nations, all Worlds, and the only and honorable King of the Universe!

*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 the Bible and private property, see “Ownership and Property in the Old Testament Economy” by Dr. Walter Kaiser: tifwe.org

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

Taliaferro Becomes Indian Agent 1820  

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Lawrence Taliaferro

Virginian Lawrence Taliaferro (pronounced “Tolliver”) becomes the Indian agent at Fort Snelling. Respected by the Indians for never making promises he could not keep, he works hard for 20 years to rid the fur trade of whisky and cheating. At last, in poor health and tired of the government’s broken promises, he resigns.*

Lord, thank you for honest people! What pleasure it is to have someone return our phone, admit a mistake in our favor at the cash register, or actually put a lost item into the “lost and found” so we can reclaim it. As King Solomon wrote so many years ago, “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.” I simply wish to honor and remember the “honest people” of the world to You today, and commend to You their example.

Father of Honesty, Mother of Truth, today I wish to honor  and remember Lawrence Taliaferro, who crystallizes this type of character. Thank you that he wanted a square deal for Indians of Minnesota who came to him at Fort Snelling. There is such power in a person who is willing to let their yes mean “Yes”, and their no mean “No”.

We are no different than Lawrence. There are many times that we tire of doing good and quit. Often, there is more punishment and criticism for doing the right thing than sweeping the wrong thing under the rug!? Will You forgive our hearts to quit doing right and forgive Mr. Taliaferro!? Will you forgive any assessments he made, probably quite logically, of the Federal government’s failure to honor its promises? Will You bless these specific tribes of Indians in the specific areas that they have been wronged? Will You forgive any tribal counter-judgments or resentments of State or Federal government? Will You begin to heal these centuries-old heartaches today?

*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!

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