20th Century, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, sports

Charles (Chief) Bender Makes Major League Debut

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Chief Bender

sabr.org

Apr 20, 1903
Charles Albert Bender, an Ojibway Indian, plays his first major league baseball game for the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team. Known as “Chief” Bender, the Brainerd pitcher helps the A’s win five pennants, sets a World Series strike-out record, and in 1953 becomes the first Minnesotan inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. His career record is 212 wins and 127 losses.*

Thank You for the life of Charles Albert Bender, his contributions to the Athletics, and the inspiration he gave to Minnesotans. Thank You for ensuring his well-being in childhood. As scholar Melissa Meyer writes, “during the early years of Charley’s childhood White Earth was destitute. At White Earth, the family lived in a log house on a small farm. The Benders had to be self-sufficient and they were not the only ones. Things were so meager that as a young boy Charley supposedly went to work, taking a job as a farmhand for a dollar a week.”**

Thank You for his perseverance in the face of ethnic prejudice. He did not allow slights, contempt, and assumptions made by his detractors to drag him down!
“Though proud of his American Indian heritage, Bender resented the bigotry and the moniker he and nearly every other Indian ballplayer of the time received. ‘I do not want my name to be presented to the public as an Indian, but as a pitcher,’ he told Sporting Life in 1905.”***

Lord, forgive our assessments of another based on an kind of external measure. We have failed to see past our prejudices. We have failed to see Your gifts within those of a group deemed “unacceptable”. We write our brothers and sisters off before we even know them a little!?

There could be many causes for prejudice, and I do not pretend to know what the root causes were for discrimination for Ojibway people. I do not know what fears, in particular, there may be towards Ojibway men. I will only try to acknowledge to You things that are common roots of judgement.

Lord, forgive us our stereotypes, past, present, and future of Native American men. Forgive our misbeliefs that may place us higher or lower, inferior or superior! We love and embrace our heritage, our cultural DNA, but we, like Bender, do not want to be limited by it. Will You free Minnesotans of our judgments of the Ojibway nation, and all first nations of our state? Conversely, will You free the Ojibway from their counter-judgments of all non-native nations and peoples that have, are, or will reside here?

Lord, will You forgive us our vanity that comes through expertise? Often, we seem to be the most blind in the areas we excel. Perhaps it is because we invest so much in our areas of strength that we become less aware of our need of relationship with others, or Your Eternal Mind. Bender probably was the most hurt by the prejudice of those on his own team. Lord, we have betrayed those on our own team. Will You show us a new way? Will You give us your unshakable security, so that we do not need the accolades of our peers? Will You give us humility if they do not worship us or our achievements properly?

*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!
**The White Earth Tragedy: Ethnicity and Dispossession at a Minnesota Anishinaabe Reservation, 1889-1920 by Melissa L. Meyer (University of Nebraska Press, 1994)
***Swift, Tom.”Chief Bender.”Society for American Baseball Research.2013.Web.14Aug.2013. http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/03

****Need to see the Chief’s statistics? http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bendech01.shtml

 

 

 

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19th Century, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans

Farmers Flee Ojibwe

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1891
Fearing an Indian uprising, throngs of people flee the Red River Valley. The sheriff of Kittson County requests rifles, the roads jam, and panic ensues. The gathering of Ojibwe turns out to be a peaceful annual ceremony.*

Lord this seems like a very human reaction: fearing the unknown neighbor. I acknowledge this fear, of this moment, as sin. This judgment of the Ojibwe celebration appears quite rash, and based on incomplete information. Will You forgive us our judgments then and bring blessing to all descendants of those who panicked or were simply preparing a party; a pow-wow? Will You rebuild to the trust, neighbor to neighbor in Kittson county?

Also, forgive us in the present! We often suspect those of a differing upbringing, thereby not giving them the benefit of the doubt we do to those who are more familiar. We make assumptions based on incomplete facts that unnecessarily alienate us from each other. Christ have mercy! Will You give us the grace to know each other in Minnesota?

*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, 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, Culture, Exploration, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, Politics, State Government

Beltrami County Formed

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Feb 28, 1866
Beltrami County was formed.*

A seemingly simple note in history. A county is born, but what makes this place unique, Lord? Why is it special in the history of my state? It’s the headwaters of the great Mississippi, supplies drinking water for a quarter of Minnesota, supports hundreds of species of animals, and gives witness to approx. 10,000 years of human history. http://mississippiheadwaters.org/History.asp

Some of the land Beltrami County sits upon was originally Ojibwe (Chippewa) land. “Home to the federally recognized Red Lake Band of Chippewa, it is unique as the only “closed reservation” in Minnesota. In a closed reservation, all land is held in common by the tribe and there is no private property.” Charles Brill (1992). Red Lake Nation: Portraits of Ojibway Life, University of Minnesota Press, p. 19. ISBN 0-8166-1906-9
Will You direct my thoughts and prayers today for this peoples’ influence on this event?

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This county is named after the Italian count Giacomo Beltrami. He explored the area ca. 1825 and claimed to have discovered the headwaters of the Mississippi. After more years of adventures and travels he wrote his memoirs, but could not get them published by the Church-led government of Italy. What, if any, prayer points does this bring to the fore? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giacomo_Beltrami

First, I will give thanks for the gift of this river; the Mississippi. What would Minnesota be without it? It has given so much to so many: a 2300+ mile waterway, massive hunting and fishing grounds, thousands of years of drinking water, and immense beauty! May we forever remember this blessing from You, and be honorable stewards of it!

Next, I commend the Ojibwe-Chippewa Nation to You. I remember their choice to live in common, a huge commitment to trusting relationships most moderns will not dare undertake.You entrusted them with the gift of the Mississippi, and they did not withhold this treasure from Beltrami. http://www.sciencebuzz.org/blog/would-you-trust-your-life-red-umbrella

Lastly, I observe this lesson from this snippet of Minnesota history; the debt of gratitude is like a great river. Minnesota owes a debt of thanks to Italy, who owes a debt of gratitude to Giacomo Beltrami who owes a debt to the Ojibwe, who owe a debt to their forebearers, yet we all owe a perpetual debt of honor to the King of the Universe. As long as there is time, may this river of remembrance and honor never cease to flow and refresh! 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! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

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19th Century, Culture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans

“Song of Hiawatha” Published Nov 10, 1855

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow never visited Minnesota, but his epic poem The Song of Hiawatha immortalized the Minnesota forests, prairies, and waters he saw only in his imagination. Longfellow began Hiawatha on June 25, 1854, he completed it on March 29, 1855, and it was published November 10, 1855.

The famous story still attracts tourists from around the country to see, in the words of the poem,
“Where the Falls of Minnehaha
Flash and gleam among the oak-trees,
Laugh and leap into the valley.”*

This poem could be revelatory of the best and worst aspects of pop culture…even if it was popular 160 years ago. A cynical synopsis? A man who never visited Minnesota or lived with the Ojibwe whose language he borrowed, wrote a pop lyric that morphed and mutated their culture with the East Coast Iroquois to the tune of the “Kalevela” of Finland?! Of course it became a smash hit, and the listeners accepted it as the truth!

I’m not a cynic, Jesus. So today I wish to focus on that which gives life in this poem by Longfellow. I want to practice seeing the potential in historical works, rather than judging their limitations according to the standards of the present.

Longfellow sought to learn real Indian languages, and wasn’t afraid to interact with real Indians. He invited Kahge-ga-gah-bowh, an Ojibwe Chief, to his home, and took the time to meet Blackhawk, Sac, and Fox Indians in Boston.

If the poet saw a connection between tribes of the East Coast of North America with those of the Midwest, can we forgive him? Artists are allowed to make connections where others do not see them. We can find fault in their “improper” labeling of a small branch of a larger concept, and stubbornly miss their heart.

As a drummer and percussionist, I seek to learn each new ethnic music from the ground up with great respect for its traditions. However, there is new life in breaking the rules, once one knows them. If one hears a connection between Celtic music and samba, then merging them into a new style is natural.

Perhaps that is the explanation for Longfellow merging the sound and rhythms of Indians with the heartbeat of Finland? Maybe he borrowed an interesting “drumbeat” from Suomi poems to express what he felt about Native Americans? In any case:
“The Song of Hiawatha was written in trochaic tetrameter, the same meter as Kalevala, the Finnish epic compiled by Elias Lönnrot from fragments of folk poetry. Longfellow had learned some of the Finnish language while spending a summer in Sweden in 1835.” Calhoun, Charles C. (2004). Longfellow: A Rediscovered Life. Boston: Beacon Press.

Father, will You bless Longfellow, Kahnge-ga-gah-bowh, and each Indian who shared his story? Will You continue to bless those who reach out to know a culture very different than their own? Will You honor those who see Your unyielding imagination expressed through all the families of nations?

Thank You for Longfellow’s example that we can create beauty beyond the confining aspects of our culture. Show us ways to “include, but not be limited to” the legalism of our traditions. Thank You, First Poet, for drawing the romance from hearts of stone! Thank You for the possibility of fusing peoples together when living under grace! May we never tire of creating, merging, or reaching to describe Your beauty mirrored in the faces of fellow humans! With this heart and mind, will You bless our state?

*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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19th Century, Civics, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, State Government

Gorman Becomes Territorial Governor May 15, 1853 to Apr 27, 1857

Willis Arnold Gorman

Willis Arnold Gorman

Willis Arnold Gorman takes office as the territory’s 2nd governor. As a U.S. Representative from Indiana, he supported Franklin Pierce in his successful bid for the presidency and was rewarded with the governorship of the Minnesota Territory.*

“Democrat Franklin Pierce took office in March 1853 and replaced Ramsey with Willis as Minnesota territorial governor.” (The Murder of Joe White: Ojibwe Leadership and Colonialism in Wisconsin) By Erik M. Redix
Today I told the Lord that this is a portion of our history that I don’t know much about. I don’t know about Gorman or why he was replaced. Some days I watch and pray and things flow easily. Others days it is difficult to see the significance of the event I’m meditating on.

After some research I found one plausible answer why the Governor Ramsey was replaced by Governor Gorman. The facts seem to indicate that  he wrestled with balancing his interactions with the Ojibwe and the powerful lumbering interests. It looks like he was caught in the middle; which master to serve? His waffling is documented below:
“This quagmire of incompetence and callousness went on for three years, while several hundred Indians died of starvation and disease.” (A Popular History of Minnesota) By Norman K. Risjord

Governor Gorman’s temperament, he was a lifelong lawyer, seem better suited to the times. His legalistic disposition must have helped to find nuanced solutions for a government between a First Nation, and a booming timber industry. He was so dedicated to his legal practice, that he returned to it directly after serving in the Civil War! There he remained, serving as St. Paul City attorney, for the rest of his life.

Thanks for Governor Gorman! In him, you brought a man who was even-keeled and suited to the issues of his days! Bless him and all leaders who calmly and deliberately serve their constituents!

As for Governor Ramsey, will You forgive his double-mindedness? We are humans just like him, and sometimes fail to be strong in our decisions. Irregardless of Your mercy, will You bring justice to all human suffering caused by his hesitancy? Will You bring restoration to the Ojibwe, both then, now, and into our future?

*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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19th Century, Civics, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Politics

Bill for Minnesota Territory Jan 18, 1849  

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Stephen Douglas proposes a bill for the creation of the Minnesota Territory.*

Douglas was born in Vermont, and spent his early years there. When he was able, he migrated west and settled in Illinois. Within a year of moving west wrote is relatives back in Vermont saying,”I have become a Western man, have imbibed Western feelings principles and interests…” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_A._Douglas His political principles meshed nicely with the free-spirited populism of the west.

Thanks for the idea of the state of Minnesota, and that Stephen Douglas made the effort to propose this bill! Thanks that we are the recipients of the efforts of so many that have come before, whether Native or settlers!

*mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

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