20th Century, Catholic, Christian, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Science

Institute of Science and Letters

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Saint Paul Auditorium ca. 1907 Interior, Original Home of the Institute of Science and Letters. Photo by Scotty Moore

1907
The St. Paul Institute of Science and Letters is incorporated. The institute sponsors research, and a museum. After reinventing itself several times, it is now known as the Science Museum of Minnesota–home to dinosaur bones, computer and an IMAX theater.*

It is a blessing to learn that my city had a love of science fervent enough to create this institute! Furthermore, its benevolent nature was expressed in making scientific knowledge open to all! The Institute of Science and Letters was,“Originally a provider of public lectures, it was located in the St. Paul Auditorium”. http://www.smm.org/media/historicalfacts

As with any audience, surely in 1907 there were proponents, opponents, and those who remained open. Then, as in the present, most would not argue the data collected from experiments, but may differ drastically on its meaning to their life. Why is this?

One idea may be that we cannot extirpate the framing effects of our memory, our temperament, and our worldview. By “framing effect”, I mean the resistance we have to knowledge outside of our point of reference. A classic example is the story of the blind men describing an elephant.

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“A Jain version of the story says that six blind men were asked to determine what an elephant looked like by feeling different parts of the elephant’s body. The blind man who feels a leg says the elephant is like a pillar; the one who feels the tail says the elephant is like a rope; the one who feels the trunk says the elephant is like a tree branch; the one who feels the ear says the elephant is like a hand fan; the one who feels the belly says the elephant is like a wall; and the one who feels the tusk says the elephant is like a solid pipe.
A king explains to them:
All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently is because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all the features you mentioned.” “Elephant and the blind men”. Jain Stories. JainWorld.com. Retrieved 2006-08-29.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant

Lord, will You have mercy on our judgments made regarding science and its meaning to our lives? Will You forgive those in 1907 who used their new found scientific knowledge as a tool of separation from their predominantly Catholic neighbors? Will You forgive any counter judgments of scientists made in Your name or the name of the Roman Catholic church? Will You give us mercy on our neighbor whether they “know” through the channel of logic, association, observation, or relationship?

Your Word is not primarily a book of science, but where it does intersect with the sciences, it is accurate and eloquent in its claims. For example, You begin Your Word with the phrase, ”In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 CEV A scientist, upon first reading, may take it as religious and mythical poetry. However, would this same scientist observe that this simple phrase covered the building blocks of the universe: time, space, and matter?

Jesus, will You forgive the prejudices of the religious towards the secular-minded scientist in St. Paul: past, present, and future? Will You forgive the prejudices of the science community toward people of faith? We measure each other falsely at times Lord! We use the wrong measuring stick because we so often lack empathy much less love towards our sparring partners in debate. Will You heal the words we use to describe the intersection of faith and science? Have mercy on our small frames! Let us ‘see’ the whole elephant together, in Your revealing presence.

*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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James Frederick Ferrier photo International Association of Scottish Philosophy

**”Every question in philosophy is the mask of another question; and all these masking and masked questions require to be removed and laid aside, until the ultimate but truly first question has been reached. Then, but not till them, it is possible to decipher and resolve the outside mask, and all those below it, which come before us in the first instance.” James Frederick Ferrier
http://www.greatthoughtstreasury.com/author/james-ferrier-fully-james-frederick-ferrier

*** A brief summary of the Scottish philosopher’s life. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Frederick_Ferrier

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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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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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