July 1, 1863
“On September 3, soldiers with Gen. Alfred Sully spot a large encampment of Indians in Dakota Territory who are in the middle of preparing food for the winter. Only some of these Indians are Dakota. Seeing that they are outnumbered the soldiers return and report their find. Aware that they’ve been seen, the Indians break camp, but are pursued by the soldiers. Men, women, and children flee in all directions. The Indian men make a desperate resistance but are soon overwhelmed. At least 150 Indians are captured, and hundreds are killed. In his report Sully gloats “I can safely say I gave them one of the most severest punishments the Indian have ever received.” “ *
Dear Ruah Ha-Qodesh, I’m so thankful that You are the good Counselor. My heart is so heavy as I ponder these memories today. Will You come and bring light and wisdom to pray for this cruel day of July 1, 1863?
My first guidance from You came circumstantially through a video I watched yesterday on YouTube. ** This lesson is from an Elijah House teaching series titled “Healing Trauma” featuring, Prayer Minister/Teacher, Sandra Sellmer-Kersten. In it, she articulates some profound ideas about healing prayer for those who are victims of trauma.
The concept that struck me the hardest was her intentional prayers for the amygdala portion of the brain.
“The amygdalae (singular: amygdala; /əˈmɪɡdələ/; also corpus amygdaloideum; Latin, from Greek ἀμυγδαλή, amygdalē, ‘almond’, ‘tonsil’) are two almond-shaped groups of nuclei located deep and medially within the temporal lobes of the brain in complex vertebrates, including humans. Shown in research to perform a primary role in the processing of memory, decision-making, and emotional reactions, the amygdalae are considered part of the limbic system.” ***
How fitting that we should minister to the exact part of the brain where memories are stored! I’m no scientist, but it makes sense that as memories form much of the basis of our personality and being, that we should humbly and gently pray for You to take this pain up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ. Maybe this is a clue for this meditative journey through history You have me on, Lord; to pray for the amygdala of the collective brain of my broken and wounded culture?
So here I start, today I recognize to You the memory of the Massacre at Whitestone Hill. Gracious G-d, all our offenses are an offense to You first! This day these unnamed soldiers led by General Alfred Sully failed to recognize Your image within the Native Americans living at Whitestone Hill. Whether their punitive actions could be classified at that time as an act of war or simply retribution is unclear. What is clear is that the judgments of the General, his soldiers, the state of Minnesota, and perhaps the U.S. government resulted in the death of innocents. Lord, have mercy on this shedding of innocent blood!
It is apparent by the quotation of Sully, “…I gave them one of the most severest punishments…”, what prompted his heart. But what do You say about this motive?
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. The one who fears has not been perfected in love.” I John 4:18****
How much blood has been spilt on this ground because of one strongman’s fear of another strongman’s fear? How much devastation our home has seen because a General fears a Chief, or a Chief who fears a General? We are incomplete in love, and choose leaders with the same human faults. They have overstepped their boundaries and moved from “protectors” of our culture and society into its’ “avengers”.
Will You place Your hand on the amygdala of all involved in this massacre? Will You remove the heart of the avenger, and guilt of all military men and their eternal progeny involved in this day? Will You guide the same into Your balanced heart of justice and protection, and heal them of the horrors of war?
Further, Will You remember this day of trauma for those Native Minnesotans who were simply preparing food for winter? Will You vanquish these victims? Will You speak into these hearts and their eternal progeny that they are welcome and wanted at Whitestone Hill, and a beautiful part of of Your good plan for this state? Will You redeem this land? Will You take the pain of this memory, and turn it into a blessing? Will You cause a heart commitment that political practice of acts of love will surpass our political acts of fear? Will you complete us in love? Touch the memory of Minnesota! Heal our trauma! Amen.
*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!