18th Century, 19th Century, 20th Century, Agriculture, farming, History, Intercession, Minnesota

Sugar Beets and Migrant Labor

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Beta Vulgaris

1917 to 1919
Labor shortages in the U.S. during World War I and political unrest in Mexico draw many Mexican workers north to the sugar-beet fields of the Red River and Minnesota River valleys. Many return year after year; others move to the Twin Cities to find permanent jobs.*

As a backstory, the sugar beet came to prominence in 18th century Silesia through experiments subsidized by Frederick William III (the King of Prussia) to extract sugar. These findings were furthered by scientists Andreas Marggraf and his star pupil Franz Karl Achard. Their work led to the selection of ‘Weiße Schlesische Zuckerrübe’, meaning white Silesian sugar beet, and boasted about a 6% sugar content.**

The Red River Valley of northwestern Minnesota and eastern North Dakota had perfect conditions for the growing of this specis of beta vulgaris. Mexican migrant workers entered the scene just as local sugar beet growers and the American Crystal Sugar Company had need for their hand-harvested crop. The Great War had commandeered local labor, leaving room for displaced Mexicans.

Jim Norris, a local expert on these relations, stated the following in his book “North for the Harvest”:
“Though popular convention holds that corporations and landowners invariably exploited migrant workers, (the author) reveals that these relationships were more complex. The company often clashed with growers, sometimes while advocating for workers. And many growers developed personal ties with their migrant workers, while workers themselves often found ways to leverage better pay and working conditions from the company.”

And so, Lord of the Harvest, we find ourselves in a triune relationship; the company, the farmers, and the field workers. We invite Your illumination of these events, and Your insights. Come and lead our meditation!

We thank You for beta vulgaris and the sweet taste it brings to our lives. We thank You for the research done for centuries that yielded such fine results, and provided an alternative to sugar brought into existence by the slavery of the sugar cane fields! We thank You that You provided opportunity for Mexicans amidst the tragedy of the Great War!

Next, we thank You for Your example of a three-sided relationship creating balance. Your roles incorporate our experience of simultaneously living out three roles, yet being one person. We are mothers, daughters, and wives simultaneously! We are fathers, sons, and husbands at the same instant!

Therefore, we can find security that companies, farmers, and fieldworkers can play three roles that serve one united purpose in sugar beets or the production of any commodity. Will You be the guardian of these relationships in Minnesota? Will You forgive our offenses to You in our imbalances in these relationships?

Will You forgive us as field workers for negating the needs of our farmers to produce results without fail? Will You forgive our farmers their dehumanization of laborers? Will You forgive those that own the company of their drive to power and market position? Will You forgive us as farmers and field workers our fearful judgments of Wall Street? We do not know the pain of finding a buyer or fair price for huge quantities of a perishable product. Have mercy on us!

May we find sweetness in being a three-legged stool! May we see the imbalance should we remove one leg of our relationships! May we be one in purpose regardless of position: migrant, farmer, or president!

 

*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!
**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_beet
***Dig deeper on the impact of migrant workers in Minnesota and the Midwest in this excellent book. “Mexican Workers, Growers, and the Sugar Beet Industry” by Jim Norris
http://muse.jhu.edu/book/5421

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

Sisseton Wahpeton Reservations Established Feb 19, 1867

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The Sisseton (or Lake Traverse) Reservation in northeastern South Dakota and the Devil’s Lake Reservation in central North Dakota are established for the Sisseton and Wahpeton bands, originally from Minnesota. These two bands had argued for the restoration of their treaty rights on the grounds that they had not fully participated in the war of 1862.*

Lord Jesus, I ask that You enter this negotiation of February 19 so long ago. Will You bring Your justice into this situation? Will You free the Minnesotan and tribal members from the sins of their generations? Will You bring a new peace between Sisseton Wahpeton and our State?

*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, Culture, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, State Government

Bounties and Punitive Expeditions

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“The State reward for dead Indians has been increased to $200 for every red-skin sent to Purgatory.” The Daily Republic, Winona, MN, September 24, 1863

The state of Minnesota places bounties—ranging from $25 to $200—on the scalps of Dakota people. Nathan Lamson receives $500 from the state for killing Taoyateduta (Little Crow).

Governor Alexander Ramsey orders punitive expeditions into Dakota Territory to hunt down the Dakota people. Two forces totaling more than 7,000 soldiers are formed under generals John Pope and Alfred Sully. When the Dakota hear of approaching soldiers they flee their camps, leaving valuable supplies. Most of the fleeing Dakota are women and children. Many die from starvation and exposure over the winter.*

Jesus, I’m embarrassed and ashamed that my state had bounties on scalps, but I’m a product of the 20th century where we only take off the heads of our political opponents verbally or figuratively. It made me curious as to why and who began the practice in the first place. This is a brief snippet of what I found.
“Scalping–cutting off the scalp of a dead enemy as proof of his demise– was common practice throughout North America before colonists got here. It is described in Indian oral histories, and preserved scalps were found at archaeological sites. Colonists learned to scalp enemies from the Indians. (The European custom was to cut off people’s heads for proof/trophies, originally, but scalps are easier to transport and preserve, so the colonists quickly switched to the Indian method.) Once they picked up the technique, the English did a tremendous amount of scalping, both of natives and of rival Frenchmen.” http://www.native-languages.org/iaq12.htm

Will You forgive Alexander Ramsey, John Pope, Alfred Sully and their expedition into Dakota territory, (now North Dakota and South Dakota) to pursue the Dakota’s out of Minnesota? Release us from the bondage of this inheritance. Will You forgive the understandable bitterness that has entered the hearts of the Dakota people, as You forgive those among their tribes who taught Minnesotans this practice? Will You give them the grace to remove this hook of the enemy from their hearts? I want to live to see Your blessing of the Dakota people! May we honor You, instead, by keeping trophies of conflicts resolved peaceably, and build displays of unmerited favor shown among all families of nations that make up this place.

*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, Culture, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, State Government, war

Punitive Expeditions: Massacre at Whitestone Hill

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Jul 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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-uqtQQmYOA 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'[1]) are two almond-shaped groups of nuclei located deep and medially within the temporal lobes of the brain in complex vertebrates, including humans.[2] 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.[3]” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amygdala

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 http://biblehub.com/1_john/4-18.htm

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 to the political practice of acts of love that surpasses our political acts of fear? Will you complete us in love? Touch the memory of Minnesota! Heal our trauma!

*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, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Politics, State Government

Minnesota Territory Established Mar 3, 1849

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Minnesota becomes an organized territory, an important step on the way to becoming a state. Minnesota Territory stretches west to the Missouri River in what will become North and South Dakota.*

The name “Minnesota”comes from the Dakota word for “clear blue water.” Owing to its large number of lakes, the state is informally known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” Its official motto is L’Étoile du Nord (French: Star of the North). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesota

Thanks that our ancestors decided to establish this Minnesota territory. There is power in naming or renaming. You renamed the people of Israel and Judah through the prophet Hosea saying, “So let your brothers be called “My People” and your sisters be called “Shown Mercy.” Hosea 2:1 Formerly, they had been called Lo-Ruhamah meaning “No Mercy” and Lo-Ammi meaning “Not My People.” Lord, will You rename us throughout Minnesota territory from March 3, 1849 forward?

*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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