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, 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, History, Industry, Intercession, Jesus, Mining, Minnesota

Merritts Discover Mesabi

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1884
The Merritt brothers find the largest deposit of iron ore in the world in the red earth of the Mesabi Range. Later they lose their mining company and a fortune to John D. Rockefeller.*

As we interact with the Merritt brothers story, I ask of You, precious Spirit, to guide my thoughts and actions. Reveal the root issue. According to this snippet above, the Merritts’ were likely dealing with a profound sense of joy at their discovery, followed by the injustice of loss.
As a fellow Minnesotan to the First Nations’, and the Merritts’, I want to acknowledge before You that this land is Your land! These treasures, whether found in the sky, on the earth, or below it are Yours! Lord, we claim ownership because we don’t know a better way to delegate responsibility for a parcel of land. But I ask You, “Is there a better way?” Forgive the Merritts’, their generations, and Minnesotans’ as a people for our trespass on Your land!
Lord, You have given us laws, and a system through which we possess the land for a time, with rules and conditions that apply. You allow us to pass down these parcels of land to our progeny for their benefit. Will You bless the Merritts’ for the discovery, and subsequent loss of this treasure?
Oh God, the sadness, anger, and bitterness still in the air is nearly tangible! To be a ‘regular Joe’ and have this loss would be toxic for a man’s soul unless he believes that You are the faithful and true arbiter of the universe! Christ, if the Merritts’, their generations, and we as extant Minnesotans are still legally bound to offense through our bitterness, will You forgive it today?
Will You be merciful to us as you were to King David so long ago? He was confronted by the prophet Nathan, and told the parable of the rich man with many flocks and herds, who stole the poor man’s sheep. He was, at first, enraged by this breech of justice, but then convicted of his sin of stealing Bathsheba and the murder of her husband. Is this applicable to this circumstance when thinking of the Rockefellers’ actions?
If so, and I am trusting that it is your heart, will You forgive the Merritts’, their generations, and us as Minnesotans our offense to you in judging this very rich family? Will You bring conviction to their hearts, and a spirit of restitution? Will You bless all involved from the machinations of the enemy to divide and embitter us over this land? Will You bless the Mesabi range, and any other lands that have been held captive by this event of broken trust? Lord have mercy! Christ have mercy!

*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!

**Learn about the Merritt family? http://www.mnopedia.org/group/merritt-family-and-mesabi-iron-range

***Want a great read about the mischief on the Mesabi Range? https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/seven-iron-men

 

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

U.S.-Dakota War, Second Battle at Fort Ridgely Aug 22, 1862

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“We went down determined to take the fort,” said Wamditanka (Big Eagle). “If we could take it we would soon have the whole Minnesota valley.” The Dakota soldiers fight hard on this fourth day of the war, but the U.S. soldiers give as good as they get. The Dakota retreat and strategize: should they wage a third battle or attack New Ulm for plunder?*

What shall I pray for this second day of battle, Lord? We, as human beings, have a long history of wanting “to take the fort.” We are discontent, we are offended, and we crave revenge. This day in history is an offense to Your majestic living masterpieces, whether of the Dakota tribe, or of the people of the state of Minnesota or the United States. Will You have mercy on our slaying precious lives You have created?

We have destroyed Your handiwork in another sense when we committed to this battle. We have desecrated Your lands also known as the Minnesota Valley and Fort Ridgely. We, human beings, are all squatters and temporary stewards of Your earth, but we continually claim it for ourselves?! Forgive our offenses against Your property, Lord of Minnesota. We harvest Your land, take our food, take Your game without price. Yet we want tribute from those who dare offend our kingdoms. Will You speak life and peace to every square foot of land defiled by our rebellion against You, and expressed in separation and bloodshed against our neighbors?

Under the authority of Jesus and as a co-inheritor of His mercy, “Wamditanka, I forgive You and Your men for your attack on my state and my country. Will You forgive me and my forbearers’ our bloodguilt, sins and failures, bitter words and curses against you and your nation? Will you wipe away the memory of bitter vows and judgments we have made over you, and you over us?” Holy Spirit, come and walk between us. Show the Dakotan and the Minnesotan how to be brothers. Will You change the atmosphere of our relationship! May You give us an heart to keep blessing each other until You return!

*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, 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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